Employee Engagement and Amazing Customer Experience

Employee Engagement and Amazing Customer Experience

Earlier this month I posted an article about Employee Engagement Awareness on the Rise, and more recently I noted the release of a new book, Touchpoints - Improving Leadership and Employee Engagement by Douglas R. Conant (2011), CEO of Campbell Soup Company.

Recently I read the book Employees First, Customers Second by Vineet Nayar, published in 2010 which identifies the importance of employee engagement and the "value zone" - those in your organisation who add value to your customers and understand the importance of the customer experience delivery. And I have just finished Shep Hyken's latest book, The Amazement Revolution, in which he provides a number of practical customer service strategies for building both customer and employee loyalty, backed by dozens of case studies.

Discussions continue to increase around the importance of employee engagement - having engaged employees, who are advocates of the products and services that your business provides.

In the past few months I have also been working with Clienteer Consulting, an independent consulting group, actively helping businesses to become more customer centric by identifying and meeting customer needs through employee engagement and strategic goal alignment.

Employee Engagement Growth

The benefits to be gained by customer centric organisations continue to be widely recognised. The capacity to deliver amazing customer experiences and achieve successful customer outcomes, can only be realised through employees who are truly engaged with the business, its products and services.

Employee Engagement Questions For Your Business

What strategies has your organisation adopted to improve customer experience?

Were they effective?

Did the customer experience strategies include employee engagement?

Please leave your comments below -

Return to: Customer Experience Services

Employee Engagement Awareness on the Rise

Is Employee Engagement Awareness on the Rise?

A review of current business articles highlighted a number of tweets, posts, and media articles over recent days and weeks that focus on employee engagement.

This comes on the back of the media hype over the increase in online consumer sales, with Australian retailers being told to lift their game and pass savings onto consumers and to actively compete with online offerings.

Disengagement versus Employee Engagement

The Human Resource Magazine recently noted that an "overwhelming 82 per cent of workers in Australia feel disengaged or disconnected at work" and that this "is costing Australian businesses billions of dollars in lost productivity". And even LeasePlan Australia, one of the country's leading vehicle leasing companies, noted in its latest "Roundtable" newsletter that worker disengagement amounts to a "global epidemic" and challenges its workers to become more engaged in service delivery.

These comments appear to be based on the results of a recent Gallup survey. Through its research over recent years, Gallup have developed a series of employee engagement indicators, linked to financial performance, to benchmark and grow employee engagement.

The Employee Engagement Challenge

The challenge is to ensure that employees are engaged with the business goals and strategies to a point where everything that they do positively contributes to successful customer outcomes. To implement employee engagement requires leadership from top management, effective communication and effective deployment of resources.

This article on the Sydney Morning Herald site questions whether managers really know what motivates their employees and suggests that employers need to treat their staff as their number one customer. It also quotes presenter and author, Ian Hutchinson as saying that "employees don't leave organisations, they leave leaders".

In the book "Employees First, Customers Second", Vineet Nayar (2010) (https://www.vineetnayar.com/) narrates the journey he took in turning around HCLT by increasing transparency across the company to engage employees and empower them to be the catalysts for change and to create value for customers, the company and ultimately themselves.

All of this points to a tangible disconnect between staff motivation and company strategy. How can staff deliver consistent, quality service if they are not motivated and have not committed to the company strategy? For effective employee engagement, a key question to ask is whether management teams are failing in defining and communicating the company direction to their staff, or whether the wrong staff have been deployed within the company.

Key Employee Engagement Questions

How does your company rate in the employee engagement stakes?
Is a lack of employee engagement impacting your workplace?
What's required to improve employee engagement?

Please share here, or leave a comment below -

The Customer Is Not Always Right

No, I'm not referring here to the way we manage potentially abusive customers. You don't have to search too hard to find numerous postings about customer service. Rather, continuing on from my previous post, I'm exploring the gap between what a customer may request or say that they want, what they truly need, and the requirement for suppliers to recognise the difference.

As customers, we perceive the offerings of suppliers and join the lines between what we see is on offer and what we want. Because everything that we do comes from a baseline or point of reference that we have developed through past experience, we frame our desires in terms of the products or services that we perceive. How often have you walked into a store, or browsed a store on line, only to leave empty handed because you didn't see anything that you wanted to purchase? What about those times when you don't ask a supplier for what you really need because you've already decided that they can't deliver? As such we may be missing the opportunity for a supplier to satisfy what we really need.

More importantly, as suppliers, the moment that the customer enters into our space, they are presenting us with an opportunity. It should not be acceptable to allow this opportunity to go untapped. How do we maximise that opportunity and ensure that we are helping our customer to fulfill their needs? Ensuring that we capitalise on that opportunity means that we need to look beyond what the customer may initially request. Our capacity to meet the customer's needs, extends to understanding our customer and placing ourselves in their shoes.

As suppliers, it's not enough to just advertise the products and services we can provide. To be successful, we need to truly understand our customers and what they really need. Are we making their lives easier and more successful? Can we quantify what constitutes a Successful Customer Outcome (SCO)?

Mick Jagger expressed it well:
"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need."

If you are just fulfilling customer requests then you will not win market share.

If we are creating successful customer outcomes then our business will in turn be successful.

Book Review - "Outside-In" by Steve Towers

Outside-In - The Secret of the 21st Century Leading Companies

BP Group Press, 2010
www.outsideinthesecret.com

Steve Towers has once again put pen to paper to present us with strategies that organisations may adopt to achieve success in today's ever-changing business landscape.

An Outside-In Philosophy

In suggesting that today's businesses are working with new rules and within a new environment is no surprise to any of us who are over the age of 30. The question is how to mould organisations into a way of thinking that is aligned with today's consumer to ensure "successful customer outcomes" in all business and consumer interactions - hence, an "outside-in" philosophy.

From the inside cover: "A seasoned practitioner with over 30 years of hands-on experience, Steve is one of industry's noted experts in Enterprise BPM and Performance transformation. He heads the Research & Professional Services network within the BP Group. ... A noted leader, Steve works as a mentor, coach and consultant and has helped pioneer through research and 'hands-on' exposure to the world's leading companies, the evolution to Advanced BPM aka 'Outside-In'. Recently recognised as a global thought leader in 'Outside-In' Steve continues to evolve process thinking towards a customer centric view of business."

The book questions the approach of traditional business processes, noting that just because we've always done something a given way, doesn't necessarily make it right. And even if we perceive that we may be doing things 'right', are they really the right things to be doing in the first place? While these concepts in themselves are not ground-breaking, the idea of fixing the causes of work instead of massaging a process to compensate for an outcome (effect), is one of the fundamental mind shifts that is presented.

We live in a world where consumers have access to more information than they can ever possibly desire. They can easily be, and quite often are, more informed than the customer service person who supplies them with whatever product or service they are sourcing. Steve suggests that, as suppliers, we need to step into the shoes of these 'pro-sumers', our customers, to understand their true need, rather than their perceived 'want'. If we understand who our customers are, their expectations, the process they think they are involved with, that everything we do impacts the customer, and what their real needs are, then we are capable of delivering 'successful customer outcomes'.

The book is an easy read, stepping us through a series of questions to make us look at things from our customer's point of view. Beyond this, the framework presented provides a foundation for organisations to question their current approach to the way their business processes are implemented. It suggests that in using this framework, simultaneous improvements can be achieved in revenue, costs and customer service - something considered a lot more challenging to achieve using previous business process improvement strategies. After all, "we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them" (Einstein).

Outside-In Examples

The steps within the presented framework are backed up with many examples, some a little more contemporary than others. While the concept of a customer centric organisation is not new, the framework presented here is the first I've seen that is sound, logical, comprehensive and practical. The list of companies cited as taking an outside-in approach is impressive, with many well known brands mentioned. Most notably these are companies that survived and even grew during the global financial crisis.

In a time when we are overloaded with information and complex challenges, I find the concepts of "Outside In" both pragmatic and refreshing. More than anything, it suggests that we need to remove our blinkers, unlearn our understanding of customer satisfaction and widen our horizon to encompass a much more comprehensive total customer experience.

Every organisation only exists to serve its customers. If you work in an organisation, and particularly if you are in a position to shape the processes within an organisation, then I would recommend that you read "Outside-In".

Advanced BPM Training

Recently I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the BP Group Certified Process Process Professional program in Brisbane. For me, this was the opportunity to follow up the three day Business Process Management Training I had previously attended in Melbourne.

As expected, there were a great group of attendees, from diverse backgrounds. Despite the various experiences, everyone present was tied to the one goal of improving business processes.
How to:
- increase revenue;
- reduce costs; and
- improve customer service.

Steve Towers demonstrated proven, practical methods and tools for advanced business process improvement and realising the above benefits by refocusing on successful customer outcomes (SCOs) using an "Outside In" strategy.

As one of the attendees in Brisbane has commented -
"I still find it incredible that in this conventional information and process rich world we live in that we can look at what we do in a slightly different but totally logical way and the picture changes (so) dramatically." Charles Bennett, Managing Partner & Project Director at IBS Publishing

Many companies say that they are "customer focused", but most fail to really put themselves in their customers' shoes and deliver real solutions for their customers' needs. This is where the methods and tools of the Certified Process Professional (CPP) Program can make a tangible difference to how you look at the business processes in your organisation.

If you are looking to improve your own professional skills in business process management and business process improvement, then I would recommend the Advanced Business Process Methods and Techniques of the Business Process Professional program by BP Group.

Stephen Nicholson
Certified Process Professional - Master

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