ServiceExperts™ is a series of contributing articles from recognized industry professionals offering their thoughts, viewpoints and opinions on the latest trends impacting the service industry. Elizabeth Dixon is a winsome business leader and serial entrepreneur who connects with executives and their teams, integrating strategy, innovation, leadership and personal development in speeches that ignite conversation and inspire purposeful action. She has founded, operated and sold several small businesses as well as actively coaches emerging entrepreneurs toward success in achieving their business goals. Her experience includes many recognizable brands, including Chick-fil-A, Disney World, The Gap, YMCA, and Cooper Aerobics Center.
When it comes to innovation, there are behaviors that add value and there are ones that will outright get you in trouble.
To add value…
Look for the bumps and glitches in the customer experience at your brand.
Be curious and clear in trying to fix them.
Have the eyes to see what’s broken and the voice to elevate a solution.
Make innovation and iteration a natural part of the way you show up to work.
But with that, it’s important to remind you what I’m not asking you to do!
Don’t become the problem. It’s not helpful to point out all the problems you see in your customer experience. That eventually sounds like nothing more than negativity, and nobody wants that. Be careful with which problems you present, how often you bring them up, and the words you choose when you do.
Don’t bring up the issue without being part of the solution. If you’re going to bring a problem to light, take responsibility to be part of solving it after you do. In fact, I’d tell you not to even present a problem to your boss without at least being able to offer a potential solution when you do.
Don’t go rogue. If you want to try something new, make sure you do it with permission. Taking initiative to solve a problem is great, but implementing something new at your job without your leadership giving you the space to do it doesn’t typically play out great.
Don’t be impatient. Meaningful change can take time. Like we said, there may be a loss involved in order for someone to walk forward into that change, and they may need time to process that loss. Be patient and remember that the relationships with those you work with are more important than moving your ideas through quickly.
Don’t change the standards of the brand. Certain things that have become trademark differentiators at your company shouldn’t change. Those things are specific to your brand and shifting those will cause customer confusion. Not the goal!
At the end of the day, choosing to innovate and iterate is great for your brand, but it’s better for you! It encourages you to build skills that you’ll carry with you as you go and grow.
My goal is to help you innovate for your company, yes, but for yourself as well! If you offer up some solutions and your boss takes one, that’s amazing! But if they don’t, that’s okay. You’re learning skills to innovate that you’ll carry with you as you go and grow. Even if your boss never sees, notices, or appreciates (which I know is incredibly frustrating), you’re making the choice to do something that will make both you and the experience customers have with you better.
Elizabeth Dixon shares secrets to creating exceptional customer experiences for audiences world-wide at live events and through virtual video resources, consulting, and authorship. She’s penned the Power of Customer Experience: 5 Elements to Make an Impact, as well as her newest book, The Strength of Purpose. You can explore those books here.