Choice and the Customer and Employee Experience
At a time when the Great Resignation may have us thinking employees and customers have too much choice, in reality, they actually may not have enough!
If you are looking for a way to boost morale and productivity, giving choice to your customers and employees is a great place to start.
Giving choice allows you to build a relationship with your team and customers based on in-depth understanding of what they need and want, rather than a relationship based on you telling them what to do or what they need.
The challenge today, in an environment of rapid change that often brings negative impact, is that feeling a sense of control is a whole lot harder.
The Benefits of Giving Employees and Customers Choice
Here is the good news. As leaders, you can give your team choice. This increases their sense of control and brings with it big gains.
For customers, giving choice creates a more positive experience and reduces the stress in their day. It shows them you care about them and see them as real people, reducing their frustration and increasing the chances they will stay your customer.
For employees, giving choice empowers them, shows them you believe in their abilities. It is also an investment in their development and growth, since they will be able to take on more, accomplish more, make more decisions.
When you give employees and customers more choice, they have more incentive to stay and do their best work. They will have a greater sense of control, and feel more seen and recognized.
5 Ways to Give Employees and Customers Choice for a Better Workplace Experience
Here are five practical ways to give employees and customers choice.
- Gain a clear understanding of your sphere of control. After all, you can only provide choice within your own span of control. To help with this, think about the decisions in both your professional life that you are fully authorized to make (i.e., you do not have to seek someone’s opinion or approval prior to making a decision).
- Gain a clear understanding of what choices are most important to your team and customers. Seek direct input from your employees and customers about what choice means to them and how you can increase their choice. For employees, this often correlates with their span of control, delegation authority, and decision making parameters. For customers, it is aligned with their ability to have control over aspects of their purchasing or contracting process and to have choices in how challenges or delivery failures are resolved.
- Make choice part of your training. In both your customer and employee training programs, incorporate modules on the importance of choice, empowerment, and avoiding power struggles.
- Ask for their perspective. Add questions to your team and customer surveys that capture perspectives regarding choice and empowerment. Their answers offer invaluable insights that can inform your decisions.
- Start the conversation with your fellow leaders. Dialogue with your leadership team on the role choice and empowerment play in both your team and customer relationships, and brainstorm ways to increase both. When your whole leadership team is on board, giving choice becomes even easier.
- Focus on what you can control vs. what you can’t. Continue to reflect personally and professionally on your own spheres of control, recognizing that as you focus and act on what is in your control, you become a stronger leader (as well as more fulfilled).
I learned about this concept (focusing on what our spheres of control) from a dear friend who accomplished great things. I was continually amazed at what she was able to accomplish, regardless of what was happening around her. She shared that she focused on what was in her control and made time for self-care, no matter what.
This really does work, and I hope you will find this concept helpful and share it with your leadership team as you focus on giving choice to your customers and employees!