Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Fueling Business Growth by Aligning Customer Experience with Employee Experience

By Colleen Sheley - January 23, 2023 7 Mins Read

Coleen Sheley

ET Bureau: With the remote & hybrid working model taking deep roots in the enterprise industry, how can organizations ensure seamless collaboration between different entities?

Coleen SheleyColleen Sheley: For organizations to ensure seamless collaboration between different entities, first and foremost, they must be well along the way with their digital transformation. Is it realistic to expect perfection?  I’d say no, rather than ensuring seamless collaboration, I propose we shift the mindset to always be striving towards this goal. I have used a generally accepted model when developing a strategy to impact positive/effective collaboration across internal groups, partners & customers, one that focuses on people, process and technology.

Let’s start with people – and let’s face it – people have changed, the world has changed, bottom line, everything has changed. People are looking for meaning and sustenance from their work.  It is not a one-size-fits-all, some go deep and far to do meaningful work & others only care about the financial outcome. In my experience, over the last 18-24 months, the majority sit in the middle, they want to believe they are doing something worthwhile & make enough money to be comfortable.  To motivate a goal-oriented workforce, I argue that you need an abundance of transparency around performance, individual and company.  An employee needs to know if what they are doing is making a difference.  A great place for organizations to focus on today is with their people managers, they must be re-trained and re-tooled to ensure that their employees feel valued & are supported to achieve their goals.

Disruption is becoming the norm, and because of this business processes must evolve. What worked for years doesn’t work anymore and what works today may not be right for next quarter.

While the pandemic has accelerated the need for change, the momentum has been building for years.  Optimized employee engagement should be a core driver in your pursuit to seamless collaboration. Traditional change management strategies with long comprehensive ideation and development timelines won’t cut it today.  Using an agile approach with quick, consumable and (where possible) digital deliverables is key and will result in better collaboration. So, if the goal is to build processes that impact better employee engagement you need to know what your workforce needs.  They want to be able to adjust their schedule to fit their lives, visibility into PTO balances & benefits, they want to know how they are doing, how the company is doing, what they can do to advance, and they want this all of this available 27/7/465 in a mobile friendly, easy to use way.  These are no longer “nice-to-have” capabilities – they are table stakes.

“Disruption is becoming the norm, and because of this business processes must evolve. What worked for years doesn’t work anymore and what works today may not be right for next quarter. While the pandemic has accelerated the need for change, the momentum has been building for years” says Colleen Sheley, Vice President of Marketing at Alvaria in an exclusive conversation with EnterpriseTalk.

ET Bureau: What steps do you recommend organizations should take to maximize engagement while simultaneously improving the quality of interaction?

Also Read: Three Ways Cloud-Native Technologies Can Boost Business Growth

Colleen Sheley: Focus on delivering effective experiences:

The first step in maximizing customer engagement and improving the quality of experience is understanding what your customers need & maybe – more importantly – what they want. Our advice to large organizations with complex customer service engines is to first research & define what your customers would consider an effective experience. It is important to note that it is not a one-size-fits-all strategy, those of you looking for an easy button will be disappointed.  There is a significant amount of effort to get to the data and then make it actionable.  It is not good enough to get a group in a room and trust that you already know what your customers want.

Here are the questions you need to be able to answer:

  • Why do your customers contact you (today and in the future)?
  • Why do you contact your customers (today and in the future)?
  • What channels are available for contact (where/how | inbound and outbound | live and automated)?
  • What laws, regulations and privacy standards do you need to comply with?
  • Do you measure customer and employee satisfaction?
  • What are the measurable implications of your company’s CX? (goals and outcomes)

After you have developed your comprehensive CX Interaction Model take the time to develop a responsibility matrix, the purpose of this is to identify silos and gaps and also assign resources to go dig for the data and measure your current state – what’s working and not working & what you believe may be missing.

ET Bureau: With omnichannel becoming increasingly ingrained in today’s customer interactions, what tools should organizations use that will enable agents contact handling while increasing efficiency & productivity?

Colleen Sheley: If your business is looking for ways to increase efficiency & productivity of your contact center teams while meeting the ever-changing demands of today’s consumer you must look holistically at the situation.  It is a balancing act between having the right tools in place to support agents, supervisors & contact center leaders with the same experience your customers are demanding and driving the business outcomes that will drive your organizations bottom line.

We are at a crossroads with customer experience (CX) & employee experience (EX) where they are both equally important in driving customer loyalty. The industry in general took years, & a global pandemic to realize how intertwined these two experiences, CX and EX really are and why it’s important to the bottom line.

Early in my career I had responsibility around performance improvement consulting with our existing customers.  I would work with a team to do a health check of sorts and then report back to our customers with areas where they can make simple improvements to positively impact their business. Many times, the focus would fall squarely on the agent and what they needed to do their job, getting customers what they need/demand while feeling fulfilled & motivated to work.  This is no easy task.  In the early 2000s we put all the emphasis on KPIs, money savings & growth as the years have passed the role and importance of employee retention and satisfaction have worked their way into the conversation.  It is expensive to replace people and once you find a talented resource you want to keep them.  Give the “right” access, educate, support, challenge, reward and invest in your employees.  It really is that simple. The complicated part is figuring out the right mix for each employee type – but I will save that for another day.

Also Read: Chattermill, which uses AI to extract insights from customer experience data, raises USD 26M

ET Bureau: With agents having so much work on their plate, handling multiple calls and chats while ensuring to deliver a seamless experience, how can organizations motivate and engage their workforce for maximum performance?

Colleen Sheley: Like many of you, I have been following the news regarding what the media has so cleverly branded, The Great Resignation and quite honestly, I get it, as a global society we were at a breaking point.  According to a Pew Research poll from February of 2022 employees across the globe are feeling underpaid, disrespected, and stuck in dead-end jobs.  I believe each and every one of use took stock of our lives throughout the early stages of the pandemic and many of us took significant actions towards making a change that we believe will improve our lives.

So, while it is important to find ways to motivate and engage your employees to get the maximum performance, I think we are missing the boat if we don’t first look at the overall employee satisfaction, simply put, are your employees happy? Before you disregard the simplicity of this question, I suggest you ask yourself, am I happy? We need to identify the things that motivate, inspire and encourage us to perform – for some it is the quest to make more money, it may be striving to changing the world, and for others it is doing a good, honest day’s work and getting fair pay and everything in between.

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ET Bureau

The platform covers e entire enterprise technology space- including emerging technologies like RPA, AI, cloud, automation, and the entire gamut of digital transformation tools, strategies and management decisions.

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