Human Sigma | John H. Fleming

Summary of: Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter
By: John H. Fleming


Welcome to an engaging book summary of ‘Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter’ by John H. Fleming. This summary unveils a transformative approach to managing employee-customer interactions and improving overall business performance. We explore the concept of ‘HumanSigma’, which thrives on reducing errors and prioritizing positive human interaction. This summary delves into the importance of emotions in customer perception, the direct connection between employee and customer satisfaction, and the significance of monitoring the health of your employee and customer relations. Get ready to discover a comprehensive set of strategies to enhance customer relationships and boost your company’s success.

HumanSigma: Improving Customer Service Through Human Interaction

Six Sigma has revolutionized the manufacturing industry with its demand for “zero defects” to increase customer satisfaction while reducing costs. However, customer service needs a similar improvement, as managers have resorted to ineffective solutions such as scripting or eliminating human contact. HumanSigma, on the other hand, eliminates errors, focuses on outcomes, and fosters human interaction to improve relationships between employees and customers. The traditional approach of standardizing customer interactions may manage the process, but it often fails to delight customers. HumanSigma predicts customers’ behavior and values achieving positive outcomes to gain a better reputation and more loyal customers. It prioritizes human interaction and support, as the face and soul of a business, for companies to thrive in the service economy.

Balancing Business Health

A healthy company requires balanced business processes and understanding feedback signals. HumanSigma’s first rule emphasizes connecting employee and customer satisfaction under one organizational authority and using metrics to spur meaningful action.

Rewritten: Just like your body’s biological processes need balance to maintain good health, a company’s health requires balanced business processes. To achieve this, it’s crucial to understand feedback signals, which include customer and employee satisfaction. The key is to choose the right metrics and comprehend which actions to associate with each measurement. Don’t treat employee and customer satisfaction as separate entities. HumanSigma’s first rule stresses the direct connection between the two and encourages measuring and managing them under one organizational authority. While everything is measurable, focus on metrics that generate meaningful action.

Customers’ Emotions Matter

Your company’s success depends on your customers’ emotions. How they feel about your company and their interactions with your employees affect your firm’s material success. Customers’ emotions are derived from personal interactions and opinions of their friends. While rational decisions are made, many are guided by emotions. Satisfying customers is the least acceptable performance. Customers expect personal relationships and delight. Only employees can make them feel valued, so it’s essential to assess what you’re doing to increase their passion towards your firm.

Emotional Attachment in Customer Relations

When it comes to customer relations, emotional attachment is the key to success. The Gallup Organization’s research shows that fully engaged customers generate a 23% premium. There are four levels of emotional attachment: confidence, integrity, pride, and passion. Building emotional attachment requires keeping promises, fixing problems, and treating customers with respect and fairness. Measuring and monitoring the health of employee and customer constituencies should be the responsibility of a single organizational structure. By addressing each of these aspects individually and as a system, companies can build passionate customers.

Essential Principles of Customer Relationships

Gallup researchers have identified six fundamental principles of customer relationships after conducting 10 million interviews for 50 years. These principles suggest that simply satisfying customers leads to poor results and that strong customer relationships are established on emotion not reason. Customer engagement is critical to a company’s growth, and every customer interaction either enhances or detracts from that relationship. Companies must focus on fixing issues at the local level to improve overall quality, and any process or system that prioritizes business over customer needs is unfair. Measures of customer relationships should incorporate emotional factors and demonstrate a connection to financial outcomes.

Coke vs. Pepsi

Baylor University neuroscientist, Read Montague, used brain imaging to study customer preferences and found that when customers sampled Coca-Cola and Pepsi blindly, the region of the brain that deals with reward lit up more for those drinking Pepsi than for those drinking Coke. However, the higher-level thinking of the brain overrides this preference when customers are told that a sample is Coke. This led to the conclusion that customers’ emotional commitments are more powerful than their innate preferences. The book emphasizes the importance of fostering emotional connections with customers to generate brand loyalty.

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