Breaking through average

Breaking through average

A case for CX serving a greater purpose to humanity

Some time ago, Unilever’s “Dove – Choose beautiful” campaign crossed my radar. I was deeply moved by the reality of the message, especially when I read that it was created off the back of research revealing that only 2% of women perceive themselves to be beautiful.

In the story, two access doors to buildings were labelled – one “average” and the other “beautiful”. One could choose either door to enter the building, and this social experiment was captured through interviews with women who chose one of the doors, and their reasons why. That was powerful! Apart from the success of the campaign, it apparently unfortunately resulted in much controversy too.

But what struck me was the idea that we believe our version of reality, which is based on comparisons to others, not the best version of ourselves. This campaign highlighted the unfounded beliefs so many of us armour ourselves with. Another theme that made this top-of-mind for me, having recently attended Tony Robbins’ virtual “Unleash the power within” (UPW) event, is the notion of self-limiting beliefs.  This combo clearly does not tell a “powerful story” about ourselves and our interactions.

I believe that this self-limiting and unfounded belief of “I am average” is real, and the result of the deeply rooted, scarred self-images we have as humans! But is goes even further and manifests as “I am average, and hence I deserve and expect average”. If so few women described themselves as beautiful, what is the impact on behaviour and how they engage with the world? The Tony Robbins UPW event also demonstrated how many participants struggle with their limiting beliefs and are desperate to break free to be the best they can be.

Dove launched the “Campaign for Real Beauty” in 2004, in response to the findings of a major global study – The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report – which had revealed that only 2% of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful (Etcoff, Orbach, Scott, & D’Agostino, 2004).

What does this have to do with customer experience, you may ask?

If accepting average mirrors what most people feel, it must change! It is time to change the standards and raise the bar! Much of what we teach, is that customer experience (CX) is about how customers should FEEL about THEMSELVES when they interact with a brand. And when a customer is left feeling undervalued through mediocre service, does it not feed the fragile emotional self-perception of being average, and thus deserving of average? 

So here is the challenge. If customers feel valued, respected, understood, important, human, and embraced, is CX not serving an even greater purpose by building customers’ self-esteem? By empowering customers through the interaction with your brand, their loyalty can be secured!

At the heart of CX lies employees who deliver the service. Basic math supports that if the same can be achieved for them – building their self-esteem – great results will be possible! When organisations challenge their staff to break free and no longer accept mediocrity and feeling average by raising the bar and focusing on doing the right thing, this will build their confidence and their service delivery, right?

Organisations that truly respect and value their employees, as demonstrated in the corporate culture, see the results in the customer experience and customer loyalty. This is only possible through the leadership team “leading” and recruiting and appointing the ‘right fit’ candidates and support to maintain the right cultural climate and behaviour.

Recently a brand experience essence was created for a client with the leadership team. It was beautiful! But unfortunately, having defined the promises to their customers, is not enough. Until everyone in the organisation understands and embraces the purpose and promises to customers, nothing will change. Change mobilises once the authenticity, passion and focus demonstrate the true north. The leadership team needs to live, breathe, talk, walk the fundamentals of what the customer promises are – including their internal customer as well as the other stakeholders of the business.

Much debate has transpired around the roll-out of the defined CX Essence. In my experience though, the lack of a structured plan supported by every leader, senior level accountability for people and operational ownership, often sees that many brilliant plans and great intentions fail to lift off.

Organisations typically use consultants to direct transformational journeys without having the internal infrastructure and skills to execute and drive the change. Stating what the intention is, is ONLY the beginning. Someone needs to support the process on the inside! It has to be mobilised by the leadership team and accountability is required to ensure that the activities are implemented and activated.

Being “average” is a slippery slope when good intentions are not backed by good actions! Leaders should be reminded that action always speaks the loudest. To differentiate, employees MUST believe that the changes are real, and that they are the special players in delivering the exceptional service to customers. They too must feel “beautiful”, powerful, supported, loved and appreciated – as only when I feel beautiful as a human, will I see the beauty in others! And raise the bar and refuse to accept average!

My vote – my money, my feet, my heart – is only given to those who can appreciate and love me (voice of the customer!)

Partner with us at The Consumer Psychology Lab to harness your front liners’ ability to deal with hard customer conversations. Managing service recovery well can save costs, retain customers and grow your business.

We are a boutique customer experience consultancy with the dream of creating magical experiences for consumers by truly understanding what customers need. To achieve that, we support our clients to adopt a more outside-in approach to their customer interaction. Equally important, we support our clients to empower their employees with skills that enable them to deliver their desired experiences.

#customerexperience #employeeexperience #CXessence #VOC #culture

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