Four Ways Senior Leaders Can Be Aware of Customer Issues

There are four key ways that senior leaders can make sure they stay in the loop regarding customer issues:

1. Spend Time Talking to Employees
Senior leaders should use a structured process for interacting with employees so front-line issues can be discussed. This is important for both leaders and as well as employees in that it makes workers feel valued but also helps senior management better understand the things staff are dealing with.

I experienced a great model for this which in an organization which invited employees to eat lunch with the organization’s president on their milestone (5, 10, 15 year) anniversary dates. A monthly lunch with front-line employees was hosted by the senior executives and employees were encouraged to share ideas and work related challenges. The model worked extremely well, helped facilitate quick problem resolution and was an encouragement to the employees. It’s pretty amazing to see how quickly some problems can be resolved when an engaged senior executive gets involved.

2. Collect and Analyze Performance Data
Collecting and analyzing performance data is a fundamental management practice for any size organization. Every organization should identify measures of success and monitor them on a monthly basis. Senior leadership is responsible for interpreting the data and responding to data trends.

3. Manage by Walking Around
Walking around and mingling with employees is a great way to better understand operations. This tactic works well because employees interpret leadership presence as an indication that they care and walking around allows the manager to observe behaviors, customer response and potential issues that may not be reported by data.

4. Test the Service or Product
Senior leadership should always be familiar with products or services offered by the organization. Whether it is surfing the company website, sampling the food in the kitchen or watching the printing process in operation, the senior leader should experience what the customer experiences so they can help influence improvements.

The current economic environment demands that issues affecting products and services affecting the customer experience be identified and resolved quickly. Customers today don’t have the patience to wait around for needed improvements, so neglecting to break the Iceberg of Ignorance may very quickly affect the bottom line.

Do you know what your employees know about issues affecting the organization?

Patricia is the President and CEO of The Thriving Small Business, a business performance consulting company. Patricia helps small businesses develop and grow by helping them create infrastructures that support increased revenues, decreased costs and improved customer experience.