Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NACCM 2009 LIVE: Global Culture Transformation; Changing The Behavior of Leaders at Levels

You’ve got to love somebody who calls themselves a “quality geek” like Gloria Roberts does. She’s the Staff Vice President of Service Experience at FedEx Corporation. Having a quality geek in charge of the service experience is definitely a good move.

Gloria stated her most important point right up front: Customer centricity is about aptitude, attitude, and action.

It’s imperative for a company founded on a quality promise (“Absolutely, Positively”) to create a culture of service. But, FedEx is not one company. It’s actually four operating companies servicing over 220 countries/territories.

Can you imagine trying to effectively communicate how to deliver their infamous “Purple Promise” to make every customer’s experience outstanding to 275,000 employees worldwide? That’s exactly what they do.

All companies must compete on price or experience. Customer experience is the superior way to compete. It results in higher overall value and a lasting competitive advantage. When you focus on experience, price may still be important, but falls to a secondary consideration.

For FedEx, the rallying point is the quality of their service. They have to make sure the service to the customer, at every touchpoint, is more than the customer expects.

Drivers of Customer Loyalty for FedEx include:

  • Customer perceptions of the brand
  • Overall customer experience
  • Value for the price

To make sure they can deliver, FedEx makes tremendous efforts to:

  • Gather information to know what their customers expectations are.
  • Focus on performance every single day.
  • Make sure the employees are engaged and the customer’s interaction is superior.
  • Measure, measure, measure the quality of everything!

Quality at FedEx:

  • is a shared call to action.
  • is shared understanding of “best”.
  • is a fact-driven philosophy for decision making.
  • involves a common process improvement methodology.
  • is an integral component of Customer Loyalty and Operational Excellence Strategies.

In fact, quality is so important FedEx says, “Quality management is not a thing we do, it’s the way we do things.”

To communicate FedEx’s QDM (Quality Driven Management) plan, Gloria’s team created a multi-phase approach that included building awareness and alignment, preparing leadership to lead, and finally deploying, implementing, and ensuring the longevity of the plan.

One of the communication vehicles they created was a high-quality video that was shared with the entire company several times. The video was 6 minutes: that’s all the time they have at the beginning of each shift for their “management” meetings. They normally squeeze 15 topics into those meetings, but they focused on the video instead in order to get a consistent message across to the entire company.

One memorable line from the video stated that a1% increase in loyalty results in $100 million in revenue for the company. That’s a pretty staggering statistic to convey the impact of increasing customer loyalty.

The initiative strives to communicate three themes to employees: Customers, Excellence, and We are One FedEx.

So, how did they get 275,000 people to learn the same thing?

They focused on making “local” stories “global”

They employed omprehensive, consistent messaging

They built on existing learning and competency base

They created a learning approach employable across target audiences

They used a “non-traditional”, multi-media learning platform

They incorporated it into their business plan

One key element to speed up the adoption of QDM was to get key influencers on board early in the process, effectively creating influential cheerleaders of the program. These influencers were giving a "sneak preview" of the program before they rolled it out to the company at large. And FedEx realized that influencers are not necessarily the people at the top. These hand-picked people came from all levels throughout the company.

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