creativity customer experienceOpen your mind to new ideas for improving customer experience. It’s a fast-paced highly competitive world, so creativity and continual improvement — and occasional breakthroughs — are imperatives for consistently delivering superior customer experience.

Every person has creative capability. “There’s this common perception among managers that some people are creative, and most aren’t. That’s just not true,” says Teresa Amabile, head of Entrepreneurial Management at Harvard Business School. “As a leader, you don’t want to ghettoize creativity; you want everyone in your organization producing novel and useful ideas, including your financial people. The fact is, almost all of the research in this field shows that anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some degree of creative work.”

Fool around with the vast array of mental exercises described in the Big Book of Creativity Games. Its author, Dr. Robert Epstein, organizes creativity exercises by four core skills helpful to creative solutions:
1) Capturing new ideas as they occur: increase creative output by 10X.
2) Challenging old behaviors: allow failure to spur creativity.
3) Broadening your knowledge base: expose yourself to new areas, environments, groups, styles, etc.
4) Surrounding yourself with multiple or unusual stimuli: mix it up in your physical and social environments to keep creative juices flowing.

Some ways to apply the creativity core skills listed above for customer experience creativity include:

  • Adopt-a-customer
  • Observe call center conversations
  • Disposition call center logs
  • Participate in email customer support
  • Interview counterparts at customer firms
  • Shadow customers or front-line personnel
  • Job rotation
  • Re-purpose customer references for internal education

Lighten up with an attitude of fun. “Humor oils the innovative engine”, says Kathy Klotz-Guest, CEO of Keeping It Human, a firm that advocates story-telling and improvisation as methods for innovating stand-out products and services. “It’s part of the creative process that drives innovation. Sometimes the ‘a-ha’ comes from the ‘ha-ha’ as we are open to fun and spontaneity. It creates positive energy that powers everything it does.”

Involve everyone company-wide in creative thinking for superior customer experience. In the book, Innovating Superior Customer Experience, author Lynn Hunsaker says, “Your value proposition, or brand promise, is only as strong as your weakest link. Analyze your business processes in terms of desired outcome value chains, to identify reliability risks and strengthen your weakest links. The value chain that delivers on each desired outcome may extend deep into your company, and perhaps to your suppliers. A typical customer experience value chain is cross-functional and encompasses a number of handoffs. Are the owners of those handoffs aware of how they affect the customer experience? Working backward from each desired outcome, does each business process owner proactively monitor the quality of their deliverables?” This technique can work wonders in opening minds to valuable creativity for customer experience improvement.

Creativity makes work more fun, which is contagious, and hence, brings out superior customer experiences.

Related articles: