You might think that after nearly twenty straight years of 100 percent client satisfaction, Eagle Hill Consulting could coast a little. As the saying goes, “when something’s not broke, don’t fix it,” right?
That’s not our way. In fact, a few years ago Eagle Hill realized that while our excellent people were doing the right things—building relationships and delivering beyond expectations—we had never really codified how they did it as “the Eagle Hill way.” We had great customer experience outcomes, but only anecdotal evidence about how we created them.
To keep our “gold standard” client satisfaction from ever getting tarnished, we needed to get to the root of why clients value us so highly: to define not only what made our customer experience such a standout, but also how our employees drive and shape it. What is it about our ways of working that sets us apart? And what did we need to do to maintain it as part of our competitive advantage?
These questions fired up Eagle Hill’s next living lab—our process of testing out ideas with big business implications in our own workplace. First, we defined and documented our gold standard Eagle Hill customer experience. Next, we formalized adoption of the gold standard experience across the company.
Here’s how we did it.
Locating the gold at the end of the (customer experience) rainbow…
At Eagle Hill, we strive to create ‘clients for life.’ This ambitious goal called for creating our vision for the corporate customer experience (CX). Then, our CEO rallied employees around the adventure of bringing this vision to life.
When we started, we didn’t know what we’d find. But we certainly knew how we’d find it. One of our guiding principles was to engage all Eagle Hill people. Keeping the process inclusive yet manageable meant layering our data gathering, beginning with small groups of relevant stakeholders, then broadening repeatedly until every person could give input. We framed our investigation in these sessions according to four phases of the CX journey, posing questions that mapped what employees did to what customers experienced.
…Takes more hard work than luck
What surprised us was how many CX ideas and elements we had to consider. For example, employees needed ample time just understanding our big picture before they could articulate differentiators. Moreover, so many examples of excellence surfaced that we continually had to check ourselves on what to enshrine.
We met both of these issues with iteration. Every discussion with employees refined the direction of both our methods and our musings about how to distill CX excellence.
We keep careful watch over our treasure
Defining the Eagle Hill CX gold standard was really just the beginning. Operationalizing it so that it becomes ingrained takes ongoing guardianship.
Stay true to your goal but stay agile along the way.
As we made our way through our CX journey mapping, we realized we had covered a lot of ground. To avoid a data dump on employees, we spent just as much care during our analysis as we did prepping for the research process. As we worked through all the quantitative and qualitative data we had, trying to roll it all up into cohesive themes, we kept a steady internal beat to stay on a useful path. Repeatedly we asked: Is this a theme or an anomaly? Should we replicate this practice? How can we make it universally understood?
Connect your CX strengths to your employees.
One clear Eagle Hill CX strength emerged in our research: a strong and highly polished brand, from our initial interactions to our final deliverables. We brought our inimitable CX energy and flair to our internal mapping journey, creating a fun and collaborative process of working through the issues and clear, bold, and appealing visuals to support the messages we wanted to convey. Our stellar CX attributes sang out in every interaction and every piece we shared with our colleagues.
Give employees ownership to make stellar CX stick.
Every stage of our CX mapping living lab involved employee input. Once we had refined our information, we continued collaborating with employees to get them behind the ideas. We set expectations early, and then had employees perform self-assessments of where they shone within our gold standard and where they wanted to polish up. As individual employees rated their own strengths, we aggregated these into a view of Eagle Hill’s overall assets. Then we asked employees to commit to specific takeaway actions for personal development.
Create a CX-driven culture by integrating it into every aspect of the employee experience.
From ensuring new hires commit individually to representing the Eagle Hill CX gold standard to developing specific training modules and aids, we give our Eagle Hill CX a prominent place in an individual’s ongoing career development. Yet, because our clients interact with Eagle Hill most often at a team level, we also built responsibility for follow-up on CX progress into team level metrics.
Before we began this living lab, Eagle Hill already had established performance management metrics based on client relationships. However, we realized that the ultimate indicator of the success of this journey would be our clients’ impressions. Today, we take the information we gain from CX feedback and plow it right back into our regular account meetings to help our employees keep elevating their game.