When it comes to improving customer experience, what are your Brailsfords?

Brailsfords_a series of small ideas can lead to big changes

I love discovering new ways of looking at how we increase performance and deliver better service. I’m, particularly, inspired by insights from different areas like sport, music, the arts etc.

One such insight that I have been using with my clients recently and one that is working really well comes from the world of cycling.

Specifically, the world of the Team GB track cycling and the Sky Procycling teams. The approach comes from Dave Brailsford, the head-honcho of both teams, and is all about his philosophy of:

“An aggregation of a series of marginal gains”

I’ve written about this before in: Customer Service lessons from Brailsford and Team GB cycling . But, his approach is particularly relevant right now given that, as I am writing this, Chris Froome is on track to win the Tour de France, the second year in a row that a member of the Sky Procycling team has won the prestigious event.

Their achievements are a testament to the depth of talent that they have in their team and their relentless focus on improving performance by finding those ‘marginal gains’ year on year.

Now, what has this got to do with customer experience you may ask? Well, let me explain.

Dave’s basic premise is this:

A 10% improvement in performance in any given area over a given time period can sometimes seem hard and daunting.

However, rather than trying to improve one area by 10%, how about identifying 10 different areas where you can make a 1% improvement. This can seem much more achievable and motivating.

Now, the reason I think that this works is that it is all to do with the fact that it is easier to take small steps rather than large steps and taking smaller steps in any new initiative, generally, comes with a higher likelihood of success. This also helps with generating momentum, establishing sustainable change and overall performance improvement.

However, the trick here is to not see this as an isolated exercise but to keep looking for those one percent improvements and to keep taking those small steps so that you start building a culture of incremental and continuous improvement.

Applying this to customer experience, I often challenge my clients, when thinking about their delivery of service, their customer journey or their overall customer experience, to come up with a list of “Brailsfords”………..a series of areas where they believe that they can easily make a 1% improvement in the delivery of service to their customers or their overall customer experience. That, in turn, becomes their action list and the foundation of their customer experience improvement roadmap.

In taking this type of approach, the other thing that happens is that it democratizes the identification of areas of improvement i.e. you can get everyone involved and, so, helps build ownership of any improvement and change initiatives. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that any improvement will be realised.

So, let me ask you this: Could you benefit from coming up with your own list of “Brailsfords”?

This was originally published in Customer Experience Magazine earlier this month.

Comments

  1. Adrian,

    Never heard that before, but it’s a great concept, and I love this: “a series of areas where they believe that they can easily make a 1% improvement in the delivery of service to their customers or their overall customer experience.”

    1% makes it sound easy. And hopefully if it sounds easy, people will be more inclined to do it?

    Annette :-)

    • Hi Annette,
      That’s the idea. If people believe it is easy then they are more likely to come up with ideas and implement them.

      And, when I’ve used it my clients, it really works.

      Adrian

      Ps. Remember, you heard it here first :)

  2. Adrian, I guess this is the idea behind continuous improvement.

    The key word is of course “continuous”

    James

    • Hi James,
      I would agree. The thing that makes it work, I would suggest, is that it makes it ‘feel’ easy and supports the approach by using a successful sporting analogy.

      But, like you say, the key is to make the approach ‘continuous’ and something that Sir Brailsford and his team(s) have got very right.

      Adrian

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