Think of the last time you went out and had a disappointing service experience. This could be at a restaurant, while shopping at a store, at your doctor’s office, or while getting your car repaired. Was your disappointment driven by what happened (a delay, mistake) to you or was it the response of the person or team serving you? Did the employee try to resolve the issue with genuine concern, or were you an annoyance that they were forced to deal with? Mistakes and bad things happen; they are an unavoidable part of any industry. Policies and procedures dictate how to handle those situations, but it is up to the employee on how to manage and ultimately resolve the situation. Pretty straightforward, right? If the employee has the know-how, they can make things right. It’s their call on what to do with that information and how they navigate situations. But there are so many more factors that influence how employees will handle a situation than just whether or not they have the information to do their job – factors that an organization can guide, shape, and control.
Bad Employee Experience vs. Good Employee Experience
I’ve worked in customer service for more than a decade in a variety of roles. In those ten plus years, I have had my fair share of mistakes. There were times I felt burnt out and struggled to rally the energy to support a customer. I was also in a position where I didn’t have the proper training, tools, or support to do my job. Looking back on it, it was a poor employee experience that led to poor customer service. However, for those times I could resolve the customer’s issue: I worked with a team and in a work environment that was positive, gave me a sense of belonging, significance, and confidence – and was in a position where I had the proper training, tools, and support to do my job. If I had to pass the torch to my manager for any reason, I knew they wouldn’t question my methods and would provide me with constructive feedback to overcome the situation in the future. The atmosphere and culture fostered respect, understanding, and growth for all employees, which in turn created outstanding customer experiences that lead to increased results for the shareholders.
Sir Richard Branson, the CEO of the Virgin Group, once stated in an interview, “if the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they're doing, if you give them the tools to do a good job, they're proud of the brand, if they were looked after, if they're treated well, then they're gonna be smiling, they're gonna be happy and therefore the customer will have a nice experience. If the person who's working for your company is not given the right tools, is not looked after, is not appreciated, they're not gonna do things with a smile, and therefore the customer will be treated in a way where often they won't want to come back for more.”
This philosophy is true for any business: your employees are brand ambassadors, the faces, hearts, and hands of your brand. So now you might be thinking, how can I create a best-in-class employee experience to further my path to dominating my competition?
Creating a Roadmap
Many organizations will look within to find the answer, and at times become overwhelmed by the process. Other times, they will become focused on symptoms instead of uncovering root causes. In both cases, many organizations will overlook the voice of their employees, which can erode trust and cause more frustrations. Creating an employee experience that accelerates your path to best-in-class status requires knowing what knobs your leaders must turn to achieve the key behaviors and leading indicators needed to earn the active loyalty of your employees and key stakeholders (whether a customer, client, guest, or patient). Active listening and combining voices across all levels of your organization will help you understand how your brand is viewed internally and externally. As a result, you will understand what the main areas of concern are, and potential solutions. We know what’s measured is what’s treasured: if you measure your financial health, customer metrics, and brand – why not the experience of the people who are the daily faces, hearts, and hands of your enterprise?
Christopher Carson works as a Customer Support & Relationship Specialist for Corvirtus. For four decades, Corvirtus solutions have helped hundreds of companies internationally, from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, strengthen their cultures through hiring, developing, and retaining exceptional people.