Customer Experience Management (CEM) is the most happening buzz across different industries. It is the need of the hour across some of the sectors like Banking, Airlines etc to stay afloat in light of tough competition and stricter regulatory measures. As competition increases, new rules to be followed and price differentiation blurring, there is need to focus on delivering superior customer experience.
What does CEM mean? It can be an impression formed of an organization by a customer during his/her interaction with different touch points throughout the customer lifecycle. Studies conducted have revealed that companies who have invested their time and money in customer experience management have reported higher customer satisfactions, higher cross sell and a higher referral rate.
There is an imperative for companies to put in extra efforts to retain the attention of their customers and sustain it over a period of time consistently. One of the key touch points which the customer is likely to encounter is the employee of an organization. High level of employee engagement leads to increased profitability, creativity, customer retention and efficiency leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction. A leading IT company came up with an idea of putting its employees first and customers second. This resulted in a journey of transformation whereby the company has been growing very fast leading to increased profitability and customer satisfaction. So what is that brands like this are trying to do to fire the imaginations of its employees?
Some of the areas on which organizations are working on/need to work are:
Listening to their employees
Employees like to express their feelings about the organization/leaders/customers on an ongoing basis. These insights can be had through town hall meetings, surveys, through websites specially set up for them. They need to be felt that their suggestion will be taken positively and that their concerns/feedback will be addressed in the best possible way. Every employee wants to feel valued and feel like they are an important member of the organization.
Employees like being treated as some one whom the organization can trust. It is important to keep the channel of communication open with employees and share the current and the future state and how their contribution will help. They like to be involved in decision making. They don’t like to hear news of their organization from outsiders. This will imbibe in them a sense of ownership. Very often than not employees will come out with suggestions/ideas which may turn out to be game changer for the organization.
Clarity in roles and responsibilities
Employees clearly need to be communicated the purpose of their role and what is expected. It is important for them to know that their job will contribute value to someone. Setting achievable goals, which need to be tied up to the larger organizational goal, is critical. The incentive for excellence also needs to be defined with clear cut benefits to the individual and organization. It is often than not that a person is trained on a particular job and is asked to do some one else’s role due to wrong planning and lack of role clarity. Clarity of purpose is very critical aspect here.
A lot of organizations have thrived due to team work of their employees and it is encouraged. A sense of belonging to the team and also how well he/she gets along with other members of the team is critical. This helps in building bonding between the team members and instills a sense of ownership. The teams are encouraged to take on more responsibilities and work through issues. The best example of teamwork leading to a superior service is in the business of Pizza delivery. Here the promise of delivery of Pizza within a specific time frame is result of great coordination and teamwork spanning the different wings of the company. The lowest member of the team is also empowered/ delegated to take decisions and rely less on their managers for any decision to be taken.
Employees look upon their managers/leaders and their behaviors for pointers on how the organization is progressing. A good leader is one who not only has a vision, but also is willing to listen to his/her team member for opinions and solutions. Trust between employee and the leadership is important. Constant feedback and also not harping too much on the negatives of a person is the key. A good leader’s trait is to pick up the strengths of his/her team members, so that they can perform well as a team. The way leaders treat their people is reflective of how people treat their customers. Effective and quality leaders help in employee retention as employees tend to leave managers and not organizations.
Good leaders help their employees in upgrading their skills by providing learning opportunities and support in their personal development. It all depends on the culture and vision the organization has. Good organizations identify certain amount of time a person needs to go through compulsorily in a calendar year to upgrade his/her skills. As products/services keep getting upgraded, training plays an important role both in skill up gradation as well as in soft skills betterment. This principal is followed by a leading company in the area of fast moving consumer goods. Employees need to undergo a fixed amount of training either through class room session, web based trainings or on the job mentoring. The employee retention here has been phenomenal and is a well liked company to work.
Hard work of employees needs to be recognized. Even a hand written thank you card if given sincerely is appreciated. A South African Bank has awards for its employees in the area of innovation, leadership, service and teamwork for serving external as well as internal customers. This has helped in keeping the motivation level of its employees high and a better service to its customers. The right set of tools to measure employee performance with hard facts and figures is critical as employees need to feel comfortable that they are not being discriminated.
Looking at some of the points mentioned above, higher level of employee engagement results in better customer experience resulting in increased revenue and profits. A satisfied, motivated employee augurs well for an organization leading to a satisfied customer.
Disclosure: The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of the company