By Marije Gould, VP, Verint
It is widely recognised that modern day consumers are more demanding and digitally savvy than ever before, representing a major ongoing challenge for the organisations that are trying to keep them satisfied and engaged.
However, successful organisations know that customers are not the only audience that need to be kept engaged if long term prosperity is to be assured. Employees are the lifeblood of any organisation. In many instances, they are the front-line face and voice to the public, making them a crucial part of the customer service experience. However, just like customers, today’s employees are also evolving. They are more focussed and ambitious than ever before and organisations must work hard to engage this ‘new breed’ of employee effectively.
Getting employee engagement right can bring huge advantages to an organisation including prospering customer retention, loyalty and additional revenue generation. Conversely, getting it wrong can lead to poor organisational performance, as well as increased staff turnover and the associated costs that come with it. Recent research outlined in the Temkin Employee Engagement 2013 study found that engaged employees are more than twice as likely to work after their shift ends, help someone at work, and make a recommendation for an improvement for the company. The same study also found that engaged employees try harder, with ninety-six percent of highly engaged employees always or almost always trying their hardest at work, compared with only 71% of disengaged employees.
As the evidence suggests, empowering a more productive and customer-centric workforce through effective employee engagement will greatly improve the customer experience and business performance as a whole. So how can it be achieved?
Measure employee satisfaction frequently
In today’s competitive job market, the most effective organisations find innovative ways to listen to their employees, helping keep them engaged, productive and satisfied. By asking employees what they care about, organisations can better understand their motivations and perceptions, helping to earn their loyalty by implementing suitable initiatives and responding to issues swiftly and efficiently. Feedback can be collected from a global, geographical or departmental level depending on the size and structure of the organisation. However, this should be done on a regular basis to ensure emerging trends and issues are identified early. Employee views and behaviour can change quickly and what may be true now may not necessarily be the case six months down the line. Furthermore, organisations must communicate results back to the employees and explain follow up actions or next steps. Having ongoing conversations is key.
Simplify your support processes
In addition, employees can provide a wealth of valuable feedback on how to continuously improve such areas as benefits packages, training and development, and services for employee interactions that take place through internal help desks, HR services and technical support. These have a major impact on day-to-day life and can have a tremendous effect on employee satisfaction and overall productivity.
Engaged and happy employees that work with user-friendly internal systems based on efficient business processes, coupled with appropriate training, can have a direct, positive impact on the customer experience.
Highly engaged employees are your early-warning system
By providing regular and valuable feedback on company processes, products and services that ultimately impact customers, highly engaged employees can provide an extremely effective early warning system. Often employees have a bird’s-eye view of what’s going on both inside and outside the organisation, and can raise an issue weeks or even months before customers start to notice or complain about it. Therefore, they can proactively shape the customer experience rather than having to reactively deal with issues after they have occurred.
The bottom line
Highly engaged employees provide top-notch service and create an amazing experience for customers. When employees are empowered to provide feedback and become directly included in creating a customer-centric organisation, a company gains helpful feedback – ultimately providing further fuel for employee engagement. Actively engaging employees is a win, win for everyone.