“Management is the art of making problems so interesting that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” ~Paul Hawken
“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” ~George W. Carver
If you give the same uninteresting attempt at engagement as you and everyone else has always done, you’ll get the same useless replies in response. One of the simplest ways to increase customer and employee engagement is to stop being boring and start being interesting. Boring is a questionnaire or survey. Boring is the scripted “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Boring is the “Good morning” and “Good evening” at the start and end of the day. Boring is the unchanging routine.
Boring doesn’t open up customer and employee engagement, it shuts it down. So what are some of the basic ways we can be more interesting and thus get better results?
Stop transacting – On the surface almost everything looks the same, every customer, team member, and boss. But they aren’t. We have become societies trying to turn our organizational environments and interactions into modern day versions of an assembly line. That may look great in theory, but people are not machines. The first step is to set the “script” aside and start INTERACTING with people and not just turn them into a transaction (this goes just as much for employees as customers). The only way to discover how to interact better with them is to cultivate a genuine interest in them, their needs, and their wants. If you can find a way to show an interest in these things you’ve already done better than 99% of your peers and competitors.
Give before you receive – If you want better feedback, give better service to them first. Why would they engage with you and give you their feedback if you aren’t willing to show the effort first? If you are able to show that you care about their needs and wants and you are able to deliver service based on that (again, this goes just as much for employees as customers) they will be far more apt to deliver on what your needs are. Give first, then you can receive.
Do different things – The routine thing for customers and employees is to give minimal feedback, so you need something to snap them out of their routine. You don’t need to dress in a clown costume to get their attention, but engaging in a new and interesting way will get them thinking not reacting. Interacting and giving first, as described above, are two great starts. But adding something fun or unexpected gets them out of their routine answer of “not really” when you ask them if they have any feedback for you.
Customer and employee engagement takes commitment and effort. Lots of people have the commitment, but most of them are not putting forth the effort to do it in an effective way. They are trying the same old techniques and tricks and getting the same “so-so” results. When done right engagement is like rocket fuel for your organization. When done wrong it can be like running on empty.