What’s the business opportunity in sustainability?

What’s the business opportunity in sustainability?

Few people (except perhaps Donald Trump) would deny that reducing our impact on the environment is important.

But it is often difficult for businesses to act with a united voice and purpose around sustainability. Many organisations will say that they’re doing the right thing, but if their employees see a different picture from within it can create a crisis of authenticity.

So if there’s a growing need for businesses to be engage authentically with sustainability, how can this be achieved?

In this episode of ExperienceCast, David Goldsworth, Head of Innovation and Strategy at Virgin, argues that the first thing to do as a business is to look at whether you are sustainable. According to Goldsworth, it is important to begin by looking at your own carbon footprint before beginning to build a customer proposition. One way to do this authentically is to involve colleagues from across the business in exploring the issue, and importantly before you have the answer.

The next step is to identify a business opportunity in sustainability for your organisation. Focusing on opportunity creates a positive message that is much easier to sell internally, and so for sustainability this is as much about what you start doing as what you stop doing. Just as importantly, a positive sell within a business can really help to motivate employees. This can be particularly effective if it involves some vulnerability along the lines of, ‘this is a complex issue, we might not get it right straight away, but we want everyone to be involved in shaping our approach’.

Then it’s a case of engaging employees across the business in an open debate on the issue. To make this work, Goldsworth believes that you must: 

  • Provide a context and framework for the debate
  • Provide a clear timeline and end point
  • Provide rules of engagement and guidelines to enable positive participation
  • Provide multiple ways for people to engage in the conversation in order to obtain a full landscape of views and opinions from across the business.

By enabling everyone to participate in shaping the narrative around sustainability, you create an authentic narrative that people connect with and believe is genuine.

For lots of businesses, there are opportunities to satisfy a consumer need around sustainability.

And who wouldn’t want to work for a business that does that?

A huge thank you to our guest panelist David Goldsworth for generously sharing his experience for this podcast.

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Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

What do we mean by engagement? Engagement with what?

What do we mean by engagement? Engagement with what?

 

Companies want engagement, both from their customers and increasingly from their employees.

But what do we mean by engagement? And how do we create it?

A lot of companies want to be customer-focused, but the problem is often that this ambition is only skin deep. This creates problems for employees, whose experience of the brand is notably different from the image presented to customers.

It’s all too easy for businesses to focus on the wrong things in terms of experience. If you’re just relying on your contact centre to take care of customer experience, then you’re missing the point. Customer experience is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation, whether they are directly customer-facing or not.

Brands who do experience well succeed in creating a strong engagement with the brand for both customers and employees. But many businesses fail to get beyond the barriers of departmental silos, and never achieve the collective responsibility for CX that results in authentic engagement.

“The real power of an experience-driven business is that it engages both employees and customers in very similar ways. Great CX enables you to win and retain customers, get a bigger share of wallet, and more recommendations. Similarly, great EX enables you to win and retain talent and achieve more discretionary effort from employees, who then recommend more great people to work for the company.” Stewart Bromley, COO Atom Bank.

Just chasing engagement on its own is unlikely to lead to success. Engagement is a relationship, and a successful relationship is built on clear expectations and coherent, coordinated actions.

If we want engagement, we have to be honest about what customer and employees are engaging with, and why.

Don’t forget: you can get your questions answered by our ExperienceCast panel. Just send us your question, and we’ll feature it in one of our forthcoming episodes.

Guest panelist: Stewart Bromley, COO Atom Bank. The ExperienceCast team would like to thank Stewart Bromley for generously sharing his insights.

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Developing the confidence to deliver trustworthy CX

Developing the confidence to deliver trustworthy CX

Few things are as compelling as confidence to inspire engagement, trust, decision making and  to drive actions. A weak or overly defensive proposition is easily recognised and challenged.  The implications for the development of customer experience are hugely significant and seem  to fall into the following categories:

Externally

  • Brand / product and service propositions
  • Customer service interaction
  • Complaint resolution
  • Measurement and insight

Internally

  • Board and shareholder support
  • Leadership
  • Cross function engagement
  • The ability to drive action
  • The performance of customer facing staff

Perhaps unusually for customer experience development, the internally focused issues are more important than the external. On too many occasions CX practitioners adopt, or are forced into, a defensive position that quickly infiltrates relationships at all levels, and then  on to customers.

What is the root cause?

  • Has the strategic or tactical ROI yet to be proven?
  • Is the proposition too simple or too complex?
  • Are the rewards perceived to be too distant from expenditure and or/effort?
  • Is the emotional element too difficult for organisations to understand and accept?

Should we include – or return to – the moral, values and professional standards approach?
Trust is built on exposing vulnerability. Perhaps organisations and us as individuals have become too risk adverse, or selfish. It is also possible that over-reliance on tangible measures and targets is the problem.

Evidence from recent school and hospital problems would support this view. It may be as simple as the desire to remove cost and drive profit has gone too far. Everyone will have their views and, in sharing their experiences, will draw their own conclusions and come to their own solutions.