The final training module in Pathway, Specsavers’ partnership development program, examines the drivers and impact of great customer service and also includes a workshop to help participants prepare for their final assessment. Merna Mikhaiel, an optometrist at Specsavers Ingleburn in New South Wales, discusses what she learned about the role of a leader in ‘Leading Great Customer Experiences’.
Pathway Module Four focussed on one of Specsavers’ key values: delivering extraordinary customer experiences. To no-one’s surprise, CREATE – the capability framework Specsavers team members use when serving customers in-store – was the heart of this module. By adapting our product and service to the customer’s needs, we can provide a genuine experience, which leads to brand authenticity and, in turn, fosters customer loyalty.
We also focussed on understanding behavioural styles in customer situations. By learning to understand the customer’s behaviour, we can modify our own to make the customer feel at ease through their journey.
To put our learnings into practice, we set out in groups and conducted mystery shops on different retailers in Melbourne CBD. This was a great way to see first-hand how employee behaviour and connection can impact our customers. My biggest learning from this activity was how much a negative store culture and streamlined processes can really affect building a customer-brand relationship and take away from the experience.
Taking all these learnings back to store, I was keen to make some changes to improve the customer journey. I focussed on making sure my team understood the CREATE capabilities (Coach, Relate, Enquire, Adapt, Teach and Engage) and were applying them in the key stages of the customer journey. As a result, there was a big improvement in our customer satisfaction ratings.
Leaving Module Four, I was nervous about the Pathway final assessment as it was fast approaching. However, we were able to prepare and rehearse for the assessment prior to the day in a workshop with the Pathway faculty. I received a lot of beneficial feedback from Pathway Program Lead Kimberley Hannan during this rehearsal that I was able to implement in my presentation, and hence delivered a much-improved version on assessment day. The rehearsal also helped me gain more confidence and direction with delivering my message. I was overwhelmed with the support I received through my journey and by the day of the assessment, I realised that I had nothing to stress about as I had been set up to succeed.
My Pathway experience was unforgettable and has had a massive impact on me both professionally and personally. I have learnt that a good leader is committed to caring about their employees and customers in equal measure. I hope that I can now be a leader who influences and inspires, and can empower my team to deliver great customer experiences.
In the words of American poet Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”