Published: June 03, 2014 | Comments
Companies that are building comprehensive VOC programs generally spend a lot of time thinking about metrics, processes, feedback loops, etc. But they often overlook the one prerequisite to success—engaged employees.
72% of highly engaged employees believe they can impact the customer experience. Just 27% of disengaged employees feel the same way (Towers Perrin). Successful VOC programs don’t just focus on customers, they put an emphasis on company culture, on finding and retaining the right people.
The role of employees is particularly acute in the service industry, where 70% of workers are disengaged (Gallup Employee Engagement Index). Each one costing you lost productivity (equal to 46% of their pay) and churning customers (even more expensive). So, how can you turn the tide and re-engage your employees as a foundation for VOC?
NICE provides technology to more than 75% of Fortune’s ‘Best Places to Work’, and across their programs they share three commonalities:
Transparency. In our research, just one-in-three companies provide employees with performance reports more than once per month. That leaves a lot of employees in the dark—they don’t know how they are performing relative to their targets and their peers.
Companies with a greater share of engaged employees operate with transparency. They provide every employee access (and ownership) of their performance data. That aligns the organization, top-to-bottom, around common goals and metrics, and it inspires individual accountability.
There’s a clear connection to VOC programs. A transparent organization routes customer feedback immediately and directly to the relevant employee(s). They help their people understand the impact that they have on the customer experience; then track their progress across time to see that their actions are producing better results.
Insight. Organizations are not suffering from a shortage of VOC data. At headquarters, analysts are tasked with crunching the numbers and generating insights about product and process gaps that need attention. Unfortunately, this insight often gets stuck at corporate instead of shared at the frontline.
Consistent with transparency, companies that seek to engage their employees take this rich insight and put it at the frontline’s fingertips. Consider transaction analytics. Companies can map an individual customer’s entire journey across channels. If this insight is available to a contact center agent when that customer next calls in, they can personalize the experience. They are better able to show empathy at the right moment, to reference previous offers, and solve the customer’s issue now.
Engage your people by entrusting them with this insight—they are in a position to put it to immediate effect to change the next customer interaction.
Motivation. Organizations that want to re-engage their employees need to understand how they are motivated. Beyond financial incentives, three motivators always surface to the top of research studies as most impactful:
Collaboration – service employees in the contact center and back office can feel isolated from colleagues. Create opportunities for them to ask questions and share ideas. In our research, only 12% of organizations actively solicit ideas to improve customer experience from frontline employees. Maybe you should start asking and acting on their suggestions.
Coaching – there is a ton of latent potential in your supervisors to inspire teammates. But too often they are not set-up to be successful coaches; most organizations have quota-based coaching systems, where a supervisor coaches every team member twice per month on defined topics. End that practice today and give supervisors the data they need to target coaching at the right people and topics.
Competition – tap into human nature and use healthy (individual and team) competition to engage employees.One approach more companies are exploring is gamification—using game mechanics (points, levels, community, etc.) to design challenges that recognize and reward employees for meeting goals, adding skills and expanding knowledge.
If you want to build a self-sustaining VOC program, start from a necesary foundation—engaged employees. If your people are disengaged, no product or process can consistently delight customers.
And while re-engaging your people is no easy task, you can make progress right away by being more transparent, delivering insight, and tapping into motivation. Taking action on these dimensions proves your organization is more engaged, and your employees will follow that lead.