How to Invest In Employee Engagement To Drive Better Customer Experience
Employees embody the customer experience every time they interact with a customer, design a product, or create a new process. That means an investment in your employees is an investment in your customers. Yet, many companies are struggling to connect with their employees: Less than 30% of employees feel that they are highly engaged by their employer (Temkin Group 2015 Report).
How can companies overcome the employee engagement challenge to drive better customer experience (CX)? You have to INVEST. If you are unsure where to start, consider “The 5 Is of Employee Engagement” (Temkin Group), which illustrates best practices to engage employees based on in-depth research with more than 20 companies.
Below are a few points that stand out to me and some tangible examples on how you can translate these best practices into meaningful employee engagement at your company.
Create opportunities for employees to hear from customers:
Company events provide a perfect opportunity to integrate customer perspectives with important business topics and messages.
EMC brings together customers, partners and employees in honor of our Total Customer Experience (TCE) Global Celebration. This year’s theme centers on how to “redefine your experience in the digital world” (digital is an important topic for a technology company such as EMC) and will include in-person and video customer presentations and interviews that will be shared with thousands of employees who join the 20+ global onsite celebrations or tune into the virtual event.
Tell compelling stories:
Powerful visuals, data-driven examples and authentic customer perspectives create a winning CX storytelling formula.
EMC publishes a Total Customer Experience Annual Report, which details how we listen to and act on customer feedback. We have also developed an interactive online Experience Analytics Showcase that explains our CX focus and results through data visualizations, videos, and case studies.
Develop training for managers and supervisors:
By providing customer-facing groups with the tools, resources and data to identify and act on customer needs, you can quickly scale CX programs to drive significant business outcomes.
EMC’s TCE team has worked with multiple internal teams to develop an advanced data algorithm to identify potentially dissatisfied customers. Customer Service Managers are then trained to proactively follow-up with these target customers to understand their pain points and submit their feedback into a shared database. The feedback from both customers and managers has been overwhelmingly positive: 82% of customers report surprise and appreciation for the unexpected follow-up and the easy process for managers has led to a 600% increase in the number of follow-ups they are able to complete.
Facilitate cross-role, cross-functional employee connections:
The presence of a dedicated CX team allows you to bring together diverse experts to exchange ideas and collaborate on critical customer issues or needs.
Through advanced analysis of customer survey data, EMC found that “time toresolution (TTR)” is a critical factor to customer satisfaction. Basically, the longer it takes to fix the issue, the more unhappy the customer will be. EMC’s TCE experts hosted a “Kaizen” event to bring together engineering, service and product teams to address TTR and determined that improvements to EMC’s mobile support app are an effective investment. The app’s next phase will include additional customer-centric features that increase communication and transparency and in turn will reduce TTR and enhance satisfaction. There are many more such examples of how our TCE team stewards partnerships across the company to make sure we meet and exceed customer expectations.
Enable peer-to-peer recognition:
Social media can be an extremely effectively tool to engage employees and encourage them to share a personal connection to the customer experience.
A company-wide microsite gives employees the opportunity to share a story about or give a virtual “high five” a colleague who embodies EMC’s customer-centric values and cultures. By providing a visually compelling and user-friendly online destination to view these submissions, employees from around the world and diverse functional teams can easily participate and feel proud about recognizing their colleagues for their work. A similar 2014 campaign resulted in over 500 stories from 18 countries and we are excited to see if we can achieve even greater success with this year’s effort!
Customer experience matters. Employee engagement matters. And the two are definitely linked. If you expect your CX efforts to pay off, you need to establish a customer-centric culture fueled by passionate and engaged employees. There are many paths to success, but you just have to be willing to take that first step and INVEST.