How HR Can Shape a Customer Experience Focused Workforce
Customer Experience, or CX for short, is a differentiation strategy adopted by many B2B organisations. While we may think at first that customer experience lies in the realm of marketing and sales; the HR department has a great role to play in creating customer excellence.
In fact, customer experience best-practises are moving towards a more holistic approach to improving customer satisfaction. Just a few years ago, customer experience still used to be managed and optimised based on the individual touch points an organisation had with its customers. Today, customer experience is translated into an integrated value proposition. The mapping of complete customer journeys is done to deliver a unified and seamless customer experience.
Essentially, all functions of an organisation have the ability to contribute to customer experience to build competitive advantage. That’s why HR departments have a great responsibility in developing a customer experience-oriented culture to harmonise the customer experience delivery throughout the organisation.
Differentiating your organisation through customer experience has the potential to increase the profitability of your business. The maths aren’t particularly sophisticated. When the satisfaction levels of your client base are high, you increase the likeliness for repeat purchase and in turn loyalty. Also, happy customers are more likely to refer your business to others, adding to the value of a customer-centric organisation.
With the benefits of CX being so undeniably high, we can’t argue against its business implementation. But how can HR leverage the power of the people department to create a truly customer-centric organisation? Here are four elements we recommend you work on.
1. Focus on Employee Engagement
An engaged workforce is a pivotal element of customer experience. It’s natural that if you want your employees to develop a sense of loyalty to your customers, they need to feel a sense of commitment to your organisation in the first place. When employees are engaged, they are devoted to making improvements that will benefit both the company and its customers.
Setting the grounds for an engaged workforce starts by providing the right environment. When you create an inclusive workplace, where feedback is welcome, you can account for the opinion of your employees to make the relevant decisions that will drive engagement upwards.
Regular checks of your staff engagement levels can be easily done using frequent and anonymous pulse surveys. The general sentiment of your workforce is assessed using a series of questions covering the seven pillars of employee engagement. The analysis of the survey responses can help you pinpoint exactly the issues that cause workers’ dissatisfaction and tackle them appropriately.
2. Develop a customer experience program
To build CX as your core brand differentiator, you need to develop a 5-star customer service program that will ensure a smooth service delivery throughout. Your culture needs to spread a company-wide mindset that places the customer first in anything you do.
When organisations have a customer experience program in place, they can develop a common understanding of the importance of customer experience, what it means, and set objectives accordingly. Thanks to a well-defined and communicated plan, employees have a clear vision of the role they play in CX and are more considerate of their interactions with clients.
A customer experience program is key to create the connection between employees and customer experience. It drives the sharing of knowledge and customer data across the organisation, in turn increasing employee interactions and collaboration.
It also justifies the need for more specific customer-related skills, making training an essential part of your customer experience program. HR has a great role to play in conducting gap analysis to identify the right training solutions to upgrade their staff to the customer experience requirements of the company.
In turn, the definition of CX in your organisation will drive your recruitment process. Because you already know how your want the customer experience to be perceived, you can look for employees who will have the right attitude to deliver it. For example, paying attention to how well candidates listen to questions during an interview can indicate how they would act if they were dealing with clients.
Thanks to a compelling customer experience program, you are able to develop your people effectively and set benchmarks and objectives to measure the effectiveness of your customer-focused HR initiatives on the long-run.
3. Recognise Customer-Focused Employees
Recognising positive behaviours and achievements is a great way to change the internal culture of your organisation.
Employee recognition is a powerful motivator. When you appreciate the efforts employees are making to improve customer experience, you nurture their will to do better. They will be motivated to take action to reach the customer experience objectives set by upper management.
People who are recognised find more purpose in their work because they are shown that they have an impact on business. They feel useful and directly tied to the success of the organisation. This means that recognition can be leveraged to reduce turnover.
It’s a fact that turnover can be a great threat to maintaining a positive CX. When employees leave organisations before the expected time, companies lose the precious customer knowledge and skills people have accumulated over time through training and daily interactions with clients. This is not something that can be replaced overnight.
Providing the rights incentives and rewards to customer experience attentive employees will show your appreciation to high performers and prevent employee turnover.
4. Measure your customer experience efforts
A wide range of tools and metrics such as the NPS (Net Promoter Score), churn rate or simple client interactions, can provide an indication of how well your customer experience efforts are doing over time. But regardless of which ones you decide to use, it’s important to consistently measure your progress and see the impact of CX-driven HR initiatives on customer satisfaction levels.
As mentioned earlier, starting by measuring employee engagement in tandem with customer satisfaction will help identify any causal relationship between the two. Through analytics, you can build the case for more employee engagement initiatives in line with the customer experience goals of your organisation.
Stay committed. The way you drive employee engagement has a strong impact on the success of your customer experience strategy. Implementing best-practices does take time but once those habits are in place you can reap the benefits of an engaged workforce. Before you know it, you’ve shaped a customer experience focused workforce, improved customer relations, and overall satisfaction for both your employees and your clients.