Decoding the Customer

Decoding the Customer

Customer experience culture starts with hiring: CX Mini Masterclass – E37

April 25, 2019




This CX Mini Masterclass explains how an organization's recruiting practices set the stage for its customer experience culture. Show host and customer experience expert, Julia Ahlfeldt, shares ideas and practical tips on how to align your organization's hiring practices to its CX strategy. If you’ve been pulling hard on that employee training lever and aren’t seeing the results that you want to see in terms of culture change, this episode is for you.

Not just a strategy for tough times

For the month of April, my mini masterclasses have been be exploring ideas and best practices for delivering great customer experience, even amid a challenging business environment. When the going gets tough, it’s natural for organizations to look for places they can trim back on their expenses to defend the bottom line. Unfortunately, I often see things like employee engagement on the chopping block. Obviously, as CX professionals, we need to help leaders understand that these types of cuts might jeopardize the success of future CX strategies. If you lose that argument and need to look for ways to bolster your customer-centric culture without incurring additional costs, then I suggest reviewing how your organization’s hiring practices align to its CX objectives.

In reality, this type of culture alignment shouldn’t need to wait for a time when the business climate is challenging and budgets are under pressure, but I’ve chosen to feature it here, because it’s something that – if you haven’t done it already – can be an intervention taken when budgets are tight.

Forget training, customer experience culture starts with hiring

The alignment of HR practices to CX strategy is the foundation of customer experience culture. You can’t foster and authentically customer-centric culture if your HR strategy is at odds with your CX strategy. These two must be aligned, and supported by things like who and how you recruit new team members.

In my opinion, this particular step is even more vital to your customer experience culture than ongoing training. Why? Well, because if you get people with the right attitudes into your business in the first place, you don’t need to spend as much energy on things like soft skills training and mindset change. That’s not to say that training and employee engagement don’t play an important role, especially for fostering culture alignment among employees who were hired before your organization set out on its customer-centric journey. What I'm saying is that fostering your desired customer experience culture is infinitely easier if you start out with people who are already inclined to this.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It's relatively easy to teach someone a new skill. Teaching someone to empathize or care is a totally different kettle of fish.

How to align recruiting and CX

Aligning your hiring practices to your customer experience strategy boils down to three main things:

* Ensure that role descriptions include the skills, behaviors and expectations that tie back to your customer experience strategy. Ideally each department in your organizations should have some CX related KPIs and goals, which can be cascaded down to team and individual level. Once there is a clear line between every team or department and your organization’s customer-centric goals, it shouldn’t be difficult to bake these into the role description and job postings. * Make sure that you screen for culture and values fit. In