Employees Are the Key to Understanding a Broken Business
Employee experience is at the heart of any strong customer experience. It would be difficult to delight customers if the people deploying the service didn’t have the right tools or resources to do their job effectively. In a previous article, I discussed how sampled and frequent employee feedback can allow for more iteration and ultimately better customer journeys through business process improvements. I want to build upon that and explain further how you can use your employee feedback data to drive better business decision making when investing in your people.
The challenge with Voice of the Employee (VoE) initiatives across industry is striking a balance between investment and reward. On one hand, you must train staff up to a certain standard, knowing they will likely leave. On the other hand, employees are the face of your brand and a lack of alignment (whether training, knowledge or resources) will impact customer experience negatively and undoubtedly reduce sales.
This dilemma illustrates the importance of timing when it comes to feedback systems – if you aren’t striking that balance between investment and reward, better to know now than in 6 months’ time when you get around to that bi-annual review. Transactional employee feedback mechanisms will give you insight on what is working and what isn’t at a micro level, before any problems become systemic and affect large numbers of customers. This is especially relevant when it comes to training in a world like fast fashion, for example, where retailers have only a matter of weeks for each product line cycle and failing fast is a requirement. Quickly improving relevant training while removing redundant training means an overall reduction in training costs – all because you listened to your employees.
One way to think about employee engagement is as a check and balance for your customer journey. If both employees and customers are disengaged, there is likely a gap in the employee experience that spills over into the customer experience. An employee knowledge gap can be reported back to your recruitment team so the talent and culture team can understand what skills are/are not working in the business and recruit accordingly. Improved recruitment quality means lower recruitment costs. If employee experience is great and customer experience is not, it’s likely the product or offering that isn’t working for your customers. This will give you an opportunity to see the woods from the trees when it comes to CX. Employee and Customer Experience are often linked and can be considered as two sides to the same coin.
Great employee engagement does not guarantee customer engagement; however, poor employee engagement will almost certainly result in poor customer engagement. Although listening to your employees will come with its challenges, not listening to employees creates business risk and affects the bottom line. As I have said before, employee engagement is about what helps or hinders their ability to carry out their job. Listening to employee feedback allows all areas of the business to make better decisions whether it be recruitment, training or operations. A great employee experience creates great customer experiences – your first step is to listen.