The big buzz phrase is “Customer Experience”. Organisations are jumping on the bandwagon, merrily collecting vast quantities of “voice of customer” feedback, analysing it and then taking action to improve customer experience.
That’s all well and good. But there is often one vital link in the chain that they are missing – employee feedback. Many of your employees are the public face of your organisation, dealing directly with your customers. They are the ones in the call centres dealing with customer queries and complaints. They are the ones picking up emails and investigating issues as and when they arise. They are the ones serving customers face-to-face in retail environments. Your employees are very often the critical part of your brand that can make or break a loyal customer.
Many of your employees are also the ones who work on the shop floor. They are making products and following your business processes. They are up close and personal to the nuts and bolts of your organisation. They see and understand how it operates and – most importantly – they see what works and what doesn’t work.
Surely your employees merit a say in the “Customer Experience”?
It stands to reason that “employee engagement” positively impacts levels of productivity, absenteeism, retention and innovation, as well as accident rates and conflicts at work. However, there is also a growing amount of evidence which links “employee engagement” to “customer experience”.
In light of these facts, it is very evident that any attempts to manage customer experience without tackling employee engagement are missing a critical link in the chain.
“Service is all about energy, enthusiasm and emotional engagement and it is so evident when you’re being served by someone who is disengaged. Think about your own personal experiences – when you’re actually having an interaction with somebody in service, their levels of engagement need to be high. It’s pretty obvious and intuitive, but now there is evidence to show it’s highly correlated.”
Paul Beesley, Business Performance Coach at Beyond Theory
It stands to reason that businesses who want to be successful need to keep their employees engaged. People work best in roles that make use of their strengths, offer responsibility and have a clear purpose they can identify with.
So what exactly is “employee engagement”?
There is no one agreed definition of employee engagement but here are three alternatives, all of which we like:
What employee engagement is NOT:
Before you embark on a new employee engagement programme, ask yourself this all-important question:
Does the organisation’s leadership believe that engaged employees are good for the organisation? This is the crucial factor that separates successful programmes with failed ones.
Assuming the answer is yes, here are our 7 steps to actively engaging your staff:
Seeking out, listening to and acting on employees views does not necessarily mean an organisation has to do what its employees want. But it does need to demonstrate that its leadership is listening to its people by inviting feedback and responding to it.
Although there are various methods that can be used for encouraging feedback, online feedback forms, which ask employees to rate their working life and then say – in their own words – why they gave that rating, are hugely successful at generating quality insights into employee engagement.
3 golden rules for employee feedback:
In today’s changing landscape for organisations worldwide, engaging customers and employees in the right ways is critical to business success. The two are intrinsically linked – happy, fulfilled and valued customers are easier to deal with and therefore make the lives of service employees that much easier. Happy, fulfilled and valued employees service their customers with more enthusiasm and energy, thus turning them into happier customers.
Open your eyes afresh to your customer experience programme. Consider how much additional value employee feedback could bring to it. Your organisation may have already consolidated “voice of customer” feedback from multiple channels but isn’t it time to come full circle and include the “voice of employee” in the mix?