Internet of Things… Social Media… Big Data…
Technology is shaping this era of ‘Digital Darwinism’. Disruptive technologies have forged an irrefutable link between employee engagement and customer experience.
Today, customers have the world on their fingertips. The internet has given customers a unique identity that lets them be in command. If they don’t like something they can vent their experiences and influence millions of people with a single post. And they should.
Companies now face a new dilemma when it comes to evolving with the times, they have to either “adapt or perish”. According to research by Gartner, there continues to be a gradual shift in investments in customer experience innovations so that companies can understand their customers better. Research has shown that investing in employee engagement can increase customer experience.
Can Employee Engagement Increase Customer Experience?
The answer is yes! As the face of a company, employees are the first and last point of contact with customers. Some might even say they are the internal customers of a company. In this highly competitive global economy, engaged employees are a valuable asset.
An employee engagement benchmark study by the Temkin Group in 2017 found that companies that offer great customer experience in their industry comprise 79% of highly engaged employees as compared with only 49% at companies offering average customer experience. The opposite also holds true, i.e., the most engaged employees exhibit a tendency of regularly interacting with customers.
Employee engagement comprises three things – holistic employee experience, attracting and retaining skilled employees, and fostering productivity through digital transformation. Customer-centric companies must focus on creating a bond with their employees first if they want to build powerful customer experiences. To create great customer experiences, you need to increase employee engagement.
How to Increase Employee Engagement?
Obviously, employees who are not engaged enough cannot be expected to engage with customers. You can start by developing a digital employee handbook that promotes a people-first culture in your company. Here are three simple ways to engage your employees and unleash their true potential.
#1 Use Digital Tools
Millennials prefer a transparent culture at their workspace that promotes a two-way conversation within the company. They also tend to lose patience when working with obsolete technologies. You can use productivity tools and collaboration apps to transition from a traditional work culture. There are a number of engaging platforms available online that can be used to align all company processes including online documentation. The software can be used to create an online resource center that hosts online user manuals, HR documentation, FAQs, etc.
HR can also design a flexible collaborative workspace so that diverse teams spread across the globe can stay connected anytime anywhere. Companies like Facebook, Apple, and LinkedIn have fortified their workspaces by streamlining recreation, collaboration, virtual offices, co-working spaces, and individual work. Proper integration of technology can infuse greater productivity in workspaces, thereby assisting the workforce to work more effectively and efficiently. Especially, when it comes to dealing with customers.
#2 Promote Healthy Communication
Probably, the best way to engage employees is to ensure they are heard. Getting feedback from employees is not only essential to create engagement, but it is also needed to promote healthy conversation. Showing employees how their ideas are driving change in the company is a free motivation tool in itself. Once you start accepting innovative ideas from employees, you start a virtual chain reaction. Leaders feel empowered as they offer new approaches to management. These approaches can be used to extend similar experiences across the workplace to improve the company’s work culture. Companies like Cisco, IBM, and Google regularly collect and implement innovative ideas from their employees.
#3 Involve HR
Imbibe a work culture of self-driven employee engagement by involving the HR team. Conduct regular training & development programs for managers to promote team-building. Engage leaders to build customer-centric teams to impact customer experience directly. Reward and promote employees who put greater efforts. Redesign your recruiting and hiring process to pool in motivated employees. Take all possible corrective measures to support employees throughout their work life-cycle. Show that they play an important role in the growth and success of the company. Implementing these easy tips can help you achieve both productive employee engagement and profitable customer experience.
Build a Holistic Customer Experience
These days, companies are looking beyond customer satisfaction towards offering a niche 360-degree customer experience. It is pertinent you also consider both internal and external customers when you redesign your strategies. If you are in a globally diverse company with multiple geographies, hoards of customer touchpoints, and thousands of employees. You must understand how, when, and where your employees are interacting with customers. It’s equally important to assess and improve all customer experiences periodically.
Building a holistic customer experience comes with innovating your own employee engagement practices. You can interact with your employees to understand the biggest issues customers are facing. You can also collect employee feedback on how to prevent these issues in the future. Since your employees are at the forefront of the company they can share real customer pain points even if they don’t have ways to resolve these issues. The company leadership can then find innovative solutions to work on these issues and experiment with solutions until they can find the best one!
It isn’t as impossible as it seems
Just like yin & yang, employee engagement and customer experience go hand in hand with each other. When it comes to making your company customer-centric, it is never too late to increase employee engagement and put it at the top of your priority list. Motivate your employees to be customer-centric and improve your service offerings to keep customers happy. Employee engagement increases customer experience. And the best way to do it is to start treating your employees as internal customers. This is not a myth, and definitely not an impossible task either! Strategically bringing together everyone to work in the same direction and towards the same goal will exponentially enhance your position in the market.