I recently read a short piece called, How to Get Your Employees to Commit to Customer Service – it reminded me of my comments in the January issue in “Human Experience, ” discussing the need for hiring the best people in order to give your business a fighting chance.
That said, Bill Sims makes a good point in asking how you ensure your employees become and remain committed to delivering the best possible service – how do you keep their loyalty and satisfaction levels high? That sounds an awful lot like questions we ask about customers, and it should, since the smart business executive sees employees as internal customers.
He categorizes employees into three groups:
- Non-Compliant: “I will not follow your rules because I am convinced the only way to get high production is to take risks and shortcuts.”
- Compliant: “I will follow your rules as long as someone (a manager, a supervisor, or a peer observer) is standing there watching me. But when that person leaves, I’ll take more risks and shortcuts.”
- Committed: “I will follow the rules, when nobody is watching. This is who I am…..”
The overwhelming majority of workers fall into the middle group, while management would like that majority to fall into the third. The first category is likely a lost cause and, unless they find the proverbial needle in the haystack, those employees are likely to be seeking alternative employment soon. On the other hand, a business full of “committed” employees clearly allows for maximum success and growth.
So, how does a business evolve from “compliant” to “committed”?
I’d argue the same strategies that hold for customers will be equally effective for employees. Listen, hear, and act accordingly. Treat your employees as you treat customers.
That means providing them the tools they need to work more efficiently and productively, which may require an investment. On the bright side, the same investments in technology that benefit customers should have a parallel impact on your employees.
You know them all: Mobility, multichannel integration, call recording, cloud, unified communications, WebRTC, self-service/IVR, social media integration and support, voice of the customer programs, WFO. The typical rationalization focuses on either cost benefits or customer satisfaction. Equally as much, however, these technologies and capabilities make employees’ jobs easier and, furthermore, because they help resolve customer issues more effectively, they tend to result in more pleasant interactions, which lead to happier employees.
In addition, features like mobility, cloud and UC help create a better work/life balance for your teams, allowing them the flexibility of anywhere, anytime access to their communications systems, so they can be equally productive from the office, their homes, or a hotel room half-way across the globe.
The easier it is for employees to perform their functions, the more productive they will be. So, the next time you hear a suggestion from your workforce about investments in technology or other office enhancements, look at them as investments in your employees, not just in terms of dollars or reduced revenue. Look at the longer term impact happier, loyal and more effective employees and lower attrition will have on your long-term bottom line.
It’s not a coincidence that those are the same traits you find in your best customers. Treat them as such and you’ll likely see a swing in the percentages, favoring the “committed” team members. I once had the pleasure of working with a talented organization that managed the annual employee satisfaction survey for American Express (News - Alert). It was an exhausting task, an expensive one, one that consumed most of each year, and was directly tied to their compensation packages. Why? Simply, ESAT has a direct relationship to CSAT.
So, while businesses often look at what their customers think of their products, it’s equally important to understand the sentiment of your employees and to understand how their jobs are affected by the technology (or lack thereof) in which you’ve invested. Give them the tools, and you’re likely to see positive momentum.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi