Recently, I contacted a company (within the contact center industry) because I needed additional information on one of their solutions. After multiple attempts to connect with them via email, phone and chat, I still don’t have my questions answered. In theory, the company did a lot of the “right” things to optimize customer experience, but ultimately, they failed miserably at actually providing a satisfactory experience. I discovered that part of the problem was employee engagement (or lack thereof).
In this post, I’d like to share with you my interactions with this company (identifying what they did right and where they missed the mark), delve into how company culture affects customer experience, and then wrap up with 5 simple suggestions that can help any organization improve its culture.
Here’s What Happened…
I didn’t have a specific contact name, so my first attempt at getting the info I needed was via their website. I could find some basic information, which was helpful, but I needed more. They provided many choices on their website for me to contact them. The phone number was prominently displayed, so I started with that.
Unfortunately, I had to leave a message. Five days later, I still had not received a call back, so I used the contact form on their site to send them an email.
The next day, I received a call from someone in regards to my email, however they didn’t have the info I was looking for. So I went back to their website and after a bit of searching, I found a tab to “get a quote.” I filled that out thinking I’d get a quick response. I was trying to spend money with them after all! Four days later, I still hadn’t heard anything.
Yesterday I tried chat. The chat agent offered to call me directly, and he did that quickly. He also looked up who I should speak to and gave me a phone number, I briefly thought I was finally making progress. Until I talked to the guy I was referred to, supposedly a Technical Account Manager, who had zero knowledge of what I needed or any interest in finding answers for me.
In theory, this company did a lot of the “right” things to optimize customer experience. They have a searchable website, they easily show potential customers how to get in touch with them via the channel of their choice: phone, email or chat. They also have prominently displayed social media links for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
But they have failed miserably in providing a satisfactory customer experience. After numerous attempts to get information so that I can spend money with them, I still don’t have it!
How Company Culture Affects Customer Experience
This is a company who has not only deployed all the latest and greatest CX technology, evidently in an attempt to offer a great customer experience, but they also manufacture and sell contact center solutions! While their technology may be top of the line, they’ve fallen far short on the people side of Customer Experience equation.
No matter how fabulous your CX technology is, if your employees are not engaged, this will have a direct, negative impact on customer experience. Unfortunately, lack of employee engagement isn’t just an issue with this one company. According to Gallup Research, almost 70% of workers are not engaged (50.8%), or are actively disengaged (17.2%).
Employee engagement, or the lack thereof, starts with corporate culture. If your company culture does not value employee satisfaction or work-life balance, this will ultimately translate into a poor customer experience because employees most likely won’t be motivated to do what’s in a customer’s best interest – and this becomes painfully apparent to customers almost immediately!
According to Chester Elton, motivation expert and best-selling author, “Culture starts with leadership. Leaders have to set the parameters for culture and then empower employees to act on the company’s values and share with them what the rules are.” He suggests that leaders need “to disseminate it and get it down to the person who’s greeting the customer or answering the phone. If the only one who knows what culture looks like is the one leader, you’re dead.”
So What Can Be Done?
According to an article from Entrepreneur Magazine, there are solid steps an organization can take towards boosting employee engagement and creating a culture that will lead to improved customer experience (and improved employee experience).
Here are 5 simple suggestions that can be implemented immediately to improve any organization’s employee engagement and culture:
1. Start at the top
“Walking the walk” is the single most effective employee engagement strategy any company can deploy. When company leadership demonstrates the characteristics and behaviors they desire from employees, employees are more engaged, more focused and more likely to stay at the company.
2. Be transparent
Management transparency has a 94% correlation with employee happiness. Trusting employees with sensitive information gives them a sense of deeper investment in the company and helps to create a more cooperative team atmosphere.
3. Offer visibility
Managers and the C-suite must be accessible and visible around the office, so that employees see them as approachable and available for guidance and assistance. Additionally, publicly recognize employees for their contributions and achievements. This not only motivates each of those individuals to continue doing great work, but also their peers.
4. Say “thank you”
Saying thank you is such a simple thing, but it’s often overlooked. Acknowledgement by management and among peers is the quickest way to build trust, restore strained relationships and energize the workplace.
5. Be flexible
Give employees the freedom to adjust their work schedules or location to better suit their needs. Statistically, workers with flexible hours and locations are more productive, happier and more engaged than those with a strict 8-5 schedule.
In conclusion, here’s a quote from Gallup that nicely sums up this topic- “A highly engaged workforce means the difference between a company that outperforms its competitors and one that fails to grow.”
What is your organization doing to actively boost employee engagement and improve its culture? We’d like to learn what has worked for you. Please leave us your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!