This is the #2 Principle in the series, Core Principles for Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience.
Engaged Teams Provide Better Experiences
Take a moment to think about the best service experience that you ever had.
Not knowing anything about the circumstances, I can tell you one thing about that experience; the individual delivering that “wow” moment was engaged. They were personally invested in the interaction and were actively trying to do a good job. Clearly it worked.
I am comfortable making the above assertion due to one simple truth;
while non-engaged employees can provide satisfactory, or even good service, they can never provide great experiences.
Engagement is what makes people authentic, versus just going through the motions. Engagement is also what drives people to put in that little bit extra, that discretionary effort which pushes an experience out of the norm and into the exceptional.
The best service experience that you were thinking about was likely in-person, but the same principle holds true across mediums. Engaged individuals consistently deliver better customer experiences. While it sounds cheesy, the customer really can hear that “smile through the phone” or email, or chat, or whatever.
Engaged employees are more productive and profitable, they positively influence co-workers, are more innovative (often taking the initiative to suggest improvements), and have higher retention rates.
The opposite is also true, unengaged employees are a drag on your organization. Not only do they fall short of delivering “wow” moments, but they also bring down morale and negatively impact the productivity of their colleagues. In an atmosphere like a contact center, it is easy for a few bad apples to poison the batch.
Entire books have been written about how to increase employee engagement, and going through an exhaustive list is beyond the scope of this post. That being said, we can share a few best practices.
How to Increase Employee Engagement
- Pay attention – the crucial first step is to actively look at engagement.
- Measure it – Metrics allow for improvements to be recognized and the effectiveness of strategies to be assessed.
- Communicate Importance – Make sure everyone knows their importance to the organization and how their work (particularly for non-customer-facing roles) impacts the customer. Leading organizations recognize that everyone in the organization contributes to the customer experience.
- Elicit feedback – Asking for, and acting upon, feedback from across the organization makes all players active participants and increases buy-in. This is also a great way to leverage talent and identify the leaders of tomorrow.
- Look at Recognition and Rewards – Are they grounded in the customer experience? Are they (really) open to everyone, and not just a handful of top performers?
- Provide regular feedback – If people don’t feel they have the skills to excel, they are going to be demotivated. Your time also lets them know how important they are.
- Consider Group Dynamics – Engagement starts with an employee’s immediate team. Allowing for regular interaction (like daily huddles or weekly team meetings) will improve engagement across the board. In our busy work life we usually want to dive right in, but allowing some time for side conversations or idle chit chat at these meeting is actually time well spent as it helps reinforce dynamics and increase engagement.
- Team Building – whether a group outing, activity or just a contest within the team is another great way to boost engagement at all levels.
The more you focus on engaging your staff the more you will see that engagement increase, and the quality of your customer’s experience will naturally follow.
- By Brendan Yeager