Speaking to CEO Today, Rant & Rave CEO, Kenny Bain, here discusses getting more involved with customers and the real challenge behind being the face of a company.
How often do you ask, “what do my customers want?”. More importantly, do you know the answer? It can be easy for CEOs to get wrapped up in board meetings and isolate themselves from the rest of the team and customers, but it’s vital they try to avoid this. The CEO is the appointed face of the company and that should be taken literally.
Starting internally, being approachable and part of the team will have a huge impact on the company and its culture. Transparency in communications and accessibility across the board is vital when creating a culture where employees can share concerns, constructive feedback or ways to improve daily practices. I feel an open forum to share these discussions is key to driving employee engagement and productivity – everyone who works at Rant & Rave is valued, and their contributions are important to the growth of the business.
To help with this effort, we use weekly internal emails where questions from our employees can be emailed directly to the board – who will then feed-back their response, typically within a week. We also use a text messaging system in a similar way. Questions and thoughts can be sent via text, making it less formal, but a prompt response will still be received. This not only ensures colleagues know that they can share their thoughts and opinions, but also that the senior management team are aware of the day-to-day successes and concerns of employees at all levels.
I find that creating an open and honest arena to share what is on everybody’s minds, is a great way to engage with the team and find quick resolutions for any issues.
Facing the customer
It is not possible for a CEO to answer every query that comes in, nor would it make sense to send them every escalation, however, there are significant benefits to using them in communications. Bringing the CEO into selected conversations demonstrates a really important level of humanity, and that the business is listening to its customers and taking their feedback seriously.
We have a number of customers now integrating CEO communications into their customer engagement strategies, and it’s been very well received. One example of this is a key service update message delivered by the CEO, following the ‘you said, we did’. This update would be a recording as it’s likely to be a broadcast message, but it shows that the CEO is aware of, and involved in, the issue and its resolution.
As customer experience becomes a central focus of the corporate strategy, more CEOs will be making decisions in this area. For many brands, strategies have evolved in recent years and as such there have been tangible results; it’s now about moving from good to great. A CEO might be a couple of steps away from the customer service frontline, but with competition for customer loyalty fiercer than ever, brands need to be prepared to go above and beyond. With feedback fatigue rife and consumer demands increasing, brands need to grasp innovative solutions to stay ahead of the competition, and the CEO should be the leading force behind this.