HiPo Hacks: Supercharging Customer Relationships with Shared Learning
November 24, 2023 | customer-centricity
by ExperiencePoint

Successful businesses are built on strong customer relationships. But let’s face it—relying on traditional customer care tactics can wear thin. It’s time to innovate the customer-relationship playbook. One cost-effective way to go the extra mile for your customers and your people is to integrate your business strategy with shared learning experiences. A partner of ours recently put this plan into action with specialized training for future leaders, serving as a great reminder of the power of learning programs in business. 

A leading data management software company recently partnered with ExperiencePoint to help run a two-day event in North Carolina. In a specialized learning initiative designed for their High Potential individuals (HiPos), the company stepped out of training convention. They gathered a diverse group of 50 professionals, half representing the host company and half representing their customers. The event aimed to help attendees bring innovation into their daily work through the fundamentals of human-centered design. By inviting their customers to join them, the company not only achieved this goal but also forged stronger relationships in the process.

ExperiencePoint Facilitator Tom Merrill delivers a Spark episode in a live training program.ExperiencePoint’s Innovation and Change Catalyst Tom Merrill facilitated this unique program. “Most of the HiPo work I’ve done has been internal,” Tom said. “So this has been really exciting to see a mix of customers and employees.” From his point of view, HiPo shared learning experiences can help organizations strengthen customer relationships by fostering deeper connections, creating a shared language and promoting lasting partnerships.

Shared learning fosters deeper connections

Shared learning nurtures accountability and trust within the customer relationship. By tailoring learning to a specific group, like HiPos, the host company establishes the grounds for making deeper connections based on mutual growth and investment in talent. 

“If [organizers] show that they care about their own HiPos and their customers’ HiPos, it solidifies the great business relationship that they have.”

- Tom Merrill, Innovation and Change Catalyst at ExperiencePoint

Building capability together with the ExperienceInnovationTM Learn workshop deepened these relationships. In the simulation, attendees helped the hypothetical mayor of Los Verdes, California, reduce local landfill waste by employing their newfound human-centered design and customer-centric skills. Together, they learned to connect sustainable behavior with the citizens’ well-being to generate innovative ideas. Customers left feeling they could trust the host company to use their new capabilities, having experienced and effectively applied the same skills themselves.

Curious how human-centered design can help you become more customer-focused?

Download our free eBook "5 Ways to Become Customer Obsessed"

Shared learning creates a shared language 

Embarking on a learning journey with customers also enables deeper collaboration. By learning together, all parties gain a better understanding of how one another speaks to their particular needs, developing a shared language for easier communication.

In North Carolina, learners engaged in Spark by ExperiencePointTM, a series of interactive episodes that provide thought-provoking ways of applying the key concepts of human-centered design and change. They then practiced their new skills together, coming up with framed “How Might We” questions based on ideas they wanted to bring back to their respective organizations. In the process of learning together, they gained a better understanding of each others’ values, pain points and challenges. This enhanced the host company’s understanding of how to better support their customers. It also gave them a unique competitive advantage, as taking the time to genuinely understand their customers forged stronger bonds.

Shared learning promotes lasting partnerships 

Welcoming customer HiPos into learning programs also sets the stage for lasting partnerships. While HiPos might not hold decision-making roles today, it’s still important to recognize their potential for the future. At this stage, it can instill a sense of pride and importance in their roles to carry the momentum. 

“Everyone in the room had been nominated to be there by a supervisor. [The event] was really a sort of an award and acknowledgment of the work that they’ve done.”

- Tom Merrill, Innovation and Change Catalyst at ExperiencePoint

Engaging both internal and customer HiPos also actively shapes how these professionals will approach future work and partnerships. By acknowledging them and providing the necessary tools now, organizations are not only investing in talent development but also influencing the future dynamics of collaboration and strategy between their businesses.

The impact of investing in shared learning events

The event in North Carolina showed that shared learning is a powerful tool for maintaining strong customer relationships. By fostering deeper connections, creating a shared language and empowering lasting partnerships, the host company set the golden standard for innovative customer care. It's a forward-looking investment worth considering for your next L&D initiative that is guaranteed to deepen your understanding of your customers and their needs.

Inspire your people AND your customers

Read how one of the most prestigious business schools in the world used our workshop to step up their popular High-Potential Leaders course.

Let's Talk