With technology giving consumers more leverage and higher expectations than ever before, we’re well and truly living in the age of the customer. But that’s no excuse to leave your employees in the Dark Ages – especially in an economic downturn.
Client-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies not focused on the customer, says Deloitte. Customer experience (CX) and customer centricity have come to be viewed as the ultimate competitive advantage, in good times and bad.
Driven by the promise of increased revenues, improved efficiency and customer loyalty, organisations today are encouraged to invest heavily in creating positive client experiences along the whole value chain. Start with mining your customer data, analysing preferences and habits. Pull out the stops to put your clients’ needs first, anticipating their wants. As you design your user-friendly, intuitive, multi-channel interactions and work out how to give more timely responses, the message is clear: it’s about working from the outside in.
And that’s as it should be. But it’s not the full picture.
Where EX (employee experience) comes in
To an extent, you also need to work from the inside out. You need to focus on the employee, because they’re people too. They’re used to exceptional user experiences from their online stores and their technology providers. They’re used to doing everything on their phones, from a location that’s convenient to them.
They have expectations, and how those are met can influence their morale, retention, and productivity. If the tech they use at work is vastly inferior to the tech they use at home, it may affect how engaged they are, and how willing they’ll be to commit themselves to supporting your mission through adversity.
Employee engagement is absolutely critical in times of great change, when restructures and workplace upheavals make it harder to stay focused and motivated. “In good times, employee engagement is the difference between being good and being great. In bad times, it’s the difference between surviving and not,” wrote James K. Harter, co-author of 12: The Elements of Great Managing.
“In good times, employee engagement is the difference between being good and being great."
James K. Harter
When expectations are thwarted
Employees feel discouraged if they routinely struggle with administrative tasks, when they know they could be spending that time engaging with customers, and each other, in value-adding ways. Outdated, hard-to-use devices are often the biggest pain point for workers, along with slow, siloed back-office systems.
In some scenarios, the customer may know more about the progress of their order than the support person who’s answering emails or phone calls, because the customer’s apps are so much more advanced. For other employees seeking to answer customer questions, they might find too much information is supplied, or it is out-of-date. .
Sometimes staff feel so defeated that they avoid the tech altogether and develop workarounds using consumer apps and websites not supported by their own IT teams, increasing cybersecurity risks. In fact, the 2018 report, The New Digital Workplace Divide showed that 67% of Australians were using workarounds that bypass company security protocols.
67% of Australians were using workarounds that bypass company security protocols
The New Digital Workplace Divide - 2018
The cost to business
In that same 2018 report, 53% of Australians said they felt frustrated with their employer because of the technology provided, with 12% saying it makes them want to work elsewhere. Employees at technology laggard organisations were found to be more than 600% more likely to be frustrated with their employer and substantially more likely to want to leave to work elsewhere, compared to those working in technology leader organisations. The concerning thing about that is, those negative feelings often end up transferring to the customers they serve.
Of Australian workers
Said they felt frustrated with their employer because of the technology provided
Of Australian workers
Want to go work elsewhere because of the technology provided
For employees at technology laggard organisations
What’s the upshot of employee disengagement? In the US, actively disengaged employees cost businesses $483 billion to $605 billion on average each year in lost productivity. But look at what happens when you combine great EX and CX. A study by Accenture and Forrester shows how companies that do EX and CX right, boost their profitability by 21% compared to 11% if the improvement is made to CX alone.
The technology you provide for your people sends a clear message about how much you value them (or not) and the work they do. And remember employees are customers too – giving them great day-to-day experiences could turn them into valuable advocates for your brand, sharing the love with their external networks and building your company’s reputation.
How not to be a technology laggard
Today, there is tech to support most functions within enterprise, from team collaboration and customer service to knowledge management, training, finance and warehousing
To maintain employee engagement, organisations need to address their legacy systems and provide access to modern workplace tools and information, along with the support required to use them. These might include collaboration and communication tools that support remote workers; AI-powered recruitment solutions; accounting software; platforms for listening to customers; productivity software; and automation tools that can pull reports, trigger responses and generally reduce the level of manual handling.
When it comes to knowledge management, livepro was designed with the employee in mind, starting with its quiz feature that tests and builds contact-centre employee knowledge in an interactive way, helping them learn on the job. Knowledge is searchable and delivered in digestible bites, ultimately improving employee engagement and retention.
Teams can give feedback in real time and rate the system for usefulness, or suggest how to improve it, which increases staff confidence and motivation. And for your learning and development teams, livepro gives insights and reports, helping identify training gaps, showing how knowledge is being utilised and tracking the team and customer behaviours.
livepro is an important tool for businesses who realise the value in a workforce that is empowered, engaged, and committed to their work.
For more about Knowledge Management solutions, click here