What can we learn from Leicester City about Customer Service Success?
My article yesterday was
related to football, and this morning I discovered a fascinating article by Dr
Tom Wormald, a customer experience expert, who also uses a footballing example
to illustrate success in customer service.
Dr Wormald argues that
customer service managers should apply some of the secrets of Claudio Ranieri’s
triumph at Leicester City to their own businesses. He suggests that Leicester's
unexpected success proves that an organisation’s size or budget does not need
to constrain its customer goals, providing it uses three simple
1. Audit what is available and make a plan
In football, like in
business, when setting objectives it is tempting to try to make an impact too
quickly. This can make change seem expensive if organisations spend money
without a clear sense of what they want to achieve, or if they invest heavily
in new people, processes or knowledge, without realising what is already
available to them.
Ranieri took a different
approach when he became Leicester City manager. His first priority was to
carefully audit what was available to him, and only then did he make the
additions needed to bring success to the Club.
Despite the common
assumption that success is linked to spending, Leicester’s story shows us that
even small organisations can make the changes needed to deliver excellent
customer service. With a clear plan that builds on (rather than replaces) what
already exists, business leaders can achieve success for far less time and
money than they might have expected.
2. Different skillsets
and departments need to work together
Dr Wormald suggests that
some of the most important innovations at Leicester City are in how different
specialisms within the organisation have worked together to deliver the plan.
While many other clubs
invest heavily in nutritionists, physiotherapists, psychologists or data
analysts, what makes Leicester different is the way that Ranieri as a leader
has integrated all these specialisms into the decision-making process.
Ranieri’s approach shows
that it is possible to convince different specialisms that working together
need not be a threat to them. Success comes from galvanising different areas of
expertise around a common goal and making it clear to everyone that they can
make a far larger contribution to the wider customer strategy by working
together, than by working independently.
3. Different forms of knowledge need to be brought together
According to Dr Wormald,
Leicester's cooperative way of working means that a more integrated and
strategic approach can be taken to the information needed for success. Each
source of data can contribute to planning and decision-making on its own
merits. For example, sports scientists collect and analyse physical performance
statistics. Coaches observe and report on football performance from the
training pitch. And players complete surveys after each training session,
capturing their perspective on fitness levels, diet and sleep patterns.
The shared focus Ranieri
has created towards the overall goal means that there are no disputes between
coaches and analysts at the Club. Instead, if a player reports a fitness issue,
it is explored jointly via data on his physical performance on the pitch, his
coaches’ observations, and deeper analysis of questionnaire data from the
player on things like sleep and appetite.
According to Dr
Wormald's article, the lesson for business leaders is clear: success comes from
effective arrangement of different sources of knowledge around the customer
objectives. By taking this approach, it is far easier to see how data on
shifting sales patterns is enhanced by customer research, rather than replacing
it. Likewise, the views of frontline staff can complement and support the
market research or analytics programme. To create a consistent and meaningful
customer experience, businesses need to integrate all the knowledge at their
disposal as part of a wider plan, and to bring different sources together in
ways that reveal new truths about customer expectations or behaviour.
What does this mean in
in winning the Premier League title with a squad costing less than quarter the
price of last year’s Premier League champions (Chelsea) shows what can be
achieved with limited resources, providing business leaders are willing to
align their organisation around a set of clearly defined goals.
Central to this is the
recognition that success does not lie in collecting more and more data or doing
endless research in pursuit of an elusive customer 'insight'. Any business can
achieve success through the pursuit of a strategy that maximises what already
exists, aligns different skillsets, and brings together disparate sources of
information around the common goal of delighting their customers.
Dr Wormald concludes his
article by suggesting that if a business is willing to challenge the status quo
and do things differently, then just like Leicester City, it can achieve
success against all the odds.