Overcoming Organizational Habits to Achieve CX Excellence


The Gist

  • Change is challenging. Acknowledging the difficulty of altering habitual behaviors is crucial for effective organizational transformation.
  • Listen, then engage. Training employees in active listening and questioning improves customer satisfaction and complaint management.
  • Incentives matter. Incorporating rewards for desired behaviors in customer interactions fosters change among frontline staff.

More often than not the biggest barrier to the adoption of a new behavior is not our lack of intention, rather it is our nature that readily succumbs to our habits. An initial attempt to do something new almost always competes with the urge of doing something else we’re used to doing. We are creatures of habit. We are hardwired to avoid the hardship of changing our ways and venturing into doing something new, especially when the associated reward is distant, ambiguous and uncertain. Let’s take a look at organizational change when it comes to sculpting a new customer service experience.

Metamorphosis of the European Swallowtail from caterpillar to butterfly in piece about organizational change and customer support experience.
An initial attempt to do something new almost always competes with the urge of doing something else we’re used to doing. JPS on Adobe Stock Photos

Active Listening: Organizational Change for Better Customer Service

So how can a CX leader who wants to change how things get done in their organization take on this challenge of organizational change? 

For example, you want your frontline employees to listen and ask questions before trying to offer a solution to a complaining customer. Doing so is against our very urges, especially if one is brought up in a stand-your-ground-culture like the United States. We do not sit back and listen to someone dump their anger on us, right? However, decades of research in complaint management tells the CX leader to establish a behavioral policy dictating frontline employees to listen first, engage later. Research shows that this active listening approach softens the blow when the company cannot offer the solution the customer was looking for. How is this change going to be possible?

Related Article: Building a Culture of Organizational Change Acceptance

Training Frontline Staff for New Engagement

Obviously, we start with letting the frontline employees know about the new order of customer engagement. The most common approach is to couple this instruction with training about the hows and whys of this change. It helps, but training alone seldom establishes enough willpower to carry out the new thing in the heat of the moment.

Related Article: Change Management Tools: What’s Best?

Incentivizing Change in Customer Interactions

Then comes facilitating change via using employee incentives. Let’s insert a new question about the extent to which the customer felt like he/she was able to fully express himself/herself to the representative in the follow-up survey. This would allow for the CX team to track and incentivize the instances in which the sought after effect was observed. Definitely helps, but it does not really assist the employees who cannot take the first step by themselves. Only those who somehow change their behavior would reap the rewards, others will be stuck in their old ways and complain that the new incentive system is unfair.

Related Article: Change Management Challenges: Get Rid of Debt!


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