A lovely perk of being a Customer Experience Professional is that every client is completely unique.

A key reason for this is often culture. I recently delivered a CX project for an IoT house – MKL Innovation.  They’re a very successful tech start-up, who lead from the front, celebrate their strong northern roots and have the most fun and hard-working ethos, I’ve ever seen. Their MD says that their culture is their success, and I’ve seen it first-hand.

Enter me, stage left. Definitely a southerner, and quite a bit more corporate. Certainly, my language and vocabulary are more than a little different. MKL’s leadership team are family. They have ‘in-jokes’, child-hood film quotes, slang, technical jargon and of course a northern accent. I confess, I’ve asked several times for assistance with translation. In their standard good humour, they obliged and made me laugh so much along the way.

It was clear from the start, that the deliverables for this project would need to be very ‘MKL’. Off the shelf or bland would not cut it.

My approach

I listened. I ‘deeked’ (an MKL-ism) at their social media. Their blogs, their ways of working, soaking up their culture.

I then created a very simple 6-step customer strategy based on how they did business and their fundamental drivers.

We workshopped the basic strategy, rubber-stamping the principles. The next step was to ‘MKL’ it up. They provided a few pointers. Their MO for hiring their staff being a significant one – ‘Don’t be a D**k and don’t be Sh*t’. This was an eyeopener. As someone who rarely swears and expects a high bar for customer experience – this was a something I needed wrap my head around. But this was MKL. They had posted this MO everywhere. This was intrinsic to them, and it works for them and their clients.

So, I had a go. I produced the ‘strap-in’ (another MKL-ism) version. I went a little over the top, dialed-up the cheeky, the innuendo; had some fun with it.

We had a call, with a lot of laughing. But constructed a serious (slightly dialed-back) version of a CX strategy that was true to MKL, and their culture.

Next I drafted the ‘service behaviours’. This was even more of a stimulating one. My original version could apply to any organisation – they were good, old-fashioned principles in how to deliver excellent customer experience, at every interaction. The finished version was wildly different, with ‘wash your bum’ and ‘turd’. Whilst uncomfortable, it was easy to recognise that this matched my client’s world. This is the fun and friendly way that they interact. They win sales from huge blue-chip companies. They have a close family feel amongst staff. People email them their CV’s asking to join them as they see and love their culture. They are growing YoY.

Clients for MKL want to see something that feels ‘MKL’, otherwise the credibility and authenticity of MKL means nothing.

So, I embraced the fun, the words like ‘plopper’; as underneath all of the tongue-in-cheek ‘spin’, are clear, well thought through directives, for how MKL delivers exceptional customer experience to their clients.

Definitely a learning curve for me, and one where I have learned a lot, and laughed even more!

Morale of the story – tailor your CX approach to clients and ensure you have a firm grasp of their culture – oh and ‘wash your bum’.

Read on for the ‘before’ and ‘afters’!

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