Front line staff; the forgotten ingredient in Customer Journey transformation

We are constantly digesting new industry data to help modify or strengthen our own thinking and so that our Clients don’t have to.  I was particularly pleased to read a recent (2017) McKinsey report* that underscores the vital importance of front line staff and their line managers in delivering successful change.

Here are two sobering statistics from it:

  • Organisations who visibly engage their front line people and line managers in delivering change are 8 times more likely to succeed than those that do not.
  • Only 9% of the 1,400 odd people who responded to the survey agreed that line managers were ‘very engaged’ or ‘somewhat engaged’ in the transformation, and only 8% gave the same answer for front line staff.

A particular blind spot seems to be the failure to involve frontline employees and their managers in the effort.

Of course CEO and Director level support is necessary, but it is not by itself sufficient. To succeed a transformation also requires that people across the organization have a specific role to play and that everyone knows how to carry out his or her part; particularly the front line team.   After all it is front line staff and their managers who have to deliver the majority of any new customer experience.  What’s more they are also the only group sufficiently familiar with the day-to-day reality of service delivery to be able to do the detailed work necessary.

The Customer Experience function must therefore do more than support and guide the senior management team; it also has a vital role working alongside front line teams and line managers:

  • Helping them to develop a robust understanding of the current customer experience and what customers want
  • Ensuring the voice of the customers doesn’t get drowned out by internal priorities
  • Harnessing the teams’ suggestions and observations to drive the change
  • Helping to balance the need for low effort interactions with a need to have empathy and to build emotional engagement
  • To ensure teams collaborate across functional divides, co-ordinating their work around a common objective and clear lines of communication
  • Mentor, support and challenge the project team to help raise the bar; describing what ‘good practice’ looks like
  • Setting in place robust monitoring so progress is appropriately measured and can be communicated upward.

If you would like to discuss your approach to changing the customer journey then please do contact us.

*”The people power of transformations”, McKinsey & Company, 2017