It is well established that employee experience and customer experience are inextricably linked, but all too often, the focus is on CX to the detriment of EX. Consider the points below to ensure you aren’t failing both your employees and your customers at once.
1. Scripted Interactions
Want to keep both your employees and customers engaged? Ditch scripts. While practical, they make your employees sound like robots and your customers feel like they’re talking to one. You may want to control the tone, messaging and flow of customer interactions, but it’s stifling for everyone involved, and it makes the conversation feel manufactured and unnatural.
Many unexpected questions or concerns can arise in a customer-facing environment, particularly in contact centres where scripts are most common, so being adaptable is a really important skill. Trusting employees to be proactive and take control of customer interactions using their emotional intelligence is a strong move to offer the best customer experiences. If your employees are competent and well trained, there shouldn’t be a need for scripts at all. When staff members are empowered to take ownership of interactions and tailor their language and response to different attitudes and requests, they will become more confident and better at getting to the bottom of what customers need in different situations.
2. Lack of Empathy
Empathy is simply the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy allows individuals to understand each other from an emotional standpoint. Customers are likely to feel more supported if they feel that the employee they are communicating with truly understands how they are struggling. By putting oneself in the customer’s shoes, an employee is better equipped to manage a customer experience by relating to the frustrations or concerns a customer may be feeling. When an employee can recognise that a customer is going through a difficult or needs some extra help, it fosters a stronger relationship. The same applies when a manager can show empathy to an employee who might be overworked or at risk for burning out.
Having overly strict rules, policies or scripts relating to employee or customer experiences can prevent the formation of long-lasting relationships. Building empathy and flexibility into your training and onboarding processes can help your employees to relate to customers in a genuine way. Empathy helps employees communicate better and more effectively solve problems. Language choice and tone can make or break an interaction. By saying, “I understand how frustrating that can be” or “I will do anything I can to help you,” the customer will feel that they are communicating with a real person, not just someone following a corporate script.
3. Siloed Experiences
We’ve spoken many times before about the importance of an omnichannel customer experience. CX should feel holistic and entirely streamlined across sales, support, and marketing, and no channel should be considered individually. Seamless experiences are essential for customer success, but focus on reducing siloes shouldn’t be exclusively customer-led. It is natural to have siloes within a business based on departments, teams, and locations, but it can be difficult for employees to deliver for customers without communication between groups. Transparency and collaboration are therefore essential. Marketing, for example, should have insight into the contact centre so that they can ensure that any messaging is “on brand.” Customer-facing employees should be made aware of new product or service launches so that they can communicate with customers about what’s to come. If a team in one location has adopted a policy that helps employees or customers, it should be communicated to other locations so that everyone can benefit. It may be easier said than done to introduce collaboration across departments or groups that might not normally interact but it is an essential practice to facilitate better learning and growth for everyone.
4. Asking the Wrong Questions
“On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate your experience today?”
A very standard question that can yield a wide variety of responses. Depending on the nature of a customer’s interaction, their response could be about the product or service they purchased, the overall interaction, or the specific employee they dealt with. We often attribute this CSAT metric to the employee involved with the specific interaction, but this can leave you with rather muddled data if the customer is referring to another element of their experience outside of a single employee’s control in their response.
You must consider your intention when asking this question and others like it. Is it gain a greater understanding of CX, to rate or rank employees, or …? If you’re aiming to understand how your employees are performing, you should consider adding their name to the question – “…rate your experience with David today?” This will give you greater consistency across your customers’ responses. Even if in an open-ended they explain, “David was very helpful, but I was waiting for 20 minutes before I spoke to him,” at least the employee’s CSAT will be positive and relevant only to his performance.
5. Unhappy Employees
Have you ever been to a cafe, and your server just seemed miserable? It’s an offputting, uncomfortable, and at times frustrating experience as a customer. “What did I do to her?” you might think and remind yourself to try someplace else next time you need a coffee.
When employees are unhappy, customers can tell. Unhappy employees can be unproductive, unhelpful and even unkind or impolite. If your customers notice or sense this, it will have a major effect on their experience, and they will be unlikely to return. Sometimes an employee is just having an off day, but if it’s a recurring issue amongst multiple members of staff, it’s something that can be solved.
Employees can’t do a good job at work if they’re over-tired, stressed or lacking motivation. As an employer, you have a responsibility to your employees as much as your customers – if not more. Poor management, unmanageable schedules, lack of sufficient training and many other common issues plague employee satisfaction in many businesses. But having unhappy employees leads to myriad problems elsewhere in a business – most importantly if your employees are customer-facing.