:: By Anna Convery, OpenSpan ::
Happy and knowledgeable employees keep customers happy.
Customers ultimately want positive experiences and companies that recognize that customer experience is king, can competitively differentiate their organization. Positive customer experiences are made or broken by employees at every level, but especially the customer service agents who are on the frontline.
When companies equip their agents with the right technology and company training so employees can act as brand ambassadors, they set them up for success. The challenge, is continuously training and engaging current and new employees.
Let’s look at the three ways company leaders can invest in their employees in order to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.
1. Simplify Processes and Technologies
In today’s omnichannel world, employees are required to interact with several systems to do their jobs. Customer data for example, is usually stored in multiple locations – CRM, billing, inventory, etc. – and customer interactions can take place on the phone, email and online instant messaging. It can be difficult for service agents to have a seamless experience with customers when they are faced with managing multiple applications (sometimes as many as 14) just to locate the entirety of a customer’s information and interaction history, causing longer call handle times that can negatively impact customers and the employees. Having to interact with all of these various systems puts a burden on the employee that takes away from their ability to do their job well. More importantly it can hinder them from delivering the level of customer experience that your customer expects. Companies should implement a 360-degree view of the customer that streamlines service processes by integrating legacy systems together and aggregating all critical customer data into a simple consolidated view.
2. Focus on Training
Today, customers really only want to interact with one person for all their needs. As such, employees need to be broader players instead of the niche specialists they have been, so that they can serve all their customers’ needs from beginning to end. To propel these new skills, company leaders need to make training and education a company focus. One of the best practices being deployed for employee training, is what we like to call the “flip.” This is what happens when companies flip the traditional classroom experience and allow employees to bring their real life experiences and best practices to the fore, be the teachers and be an integral part of the training program. By cross training colleagues and making employees subject matter experts, organizations are able to cover more ground and make the training process more fun, interactive and engaging.
3. Increase Employee Engagement
There’s no doubt that engaged employees are better employees, proven to interact better with customers and drive sales. In fact, a study of 64 organziations from Kenexa, revealed that companies with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organization whose employees lag behind on engagement. Improving employee engagement can be challenging for any organization, but the key is taking it one step at a time. The first step to improve employee engagement is understanding how employees work and what factors support or detract from their engagement levels. For example, using employee desktop data can help you gain insight into whether employees are having a difficult time navigating desktop applications or performing prescribed processes. From there, companies can improve those obstacles accordingly to simplify them for employee, saving them time and enhancing the customer experience.
Above all, employees only service customers in the best way they can, so it’s important for companies to raise the bar and ensure that their employees can in fact do their best. When companies remove barriers and streamline processes, employees can deliver exceptional service. Make sure employees are highly engaged and well trained to handle all requests so they can serve the customer from beginning to end, and aren’t forced to work with fragmented systems and applications. By addressing these key areas, companies can create world-class customer experiences that grow customer profitability and strengthen loyalty.
Anna Convery is the chief marketing officer and executive vice president of strategy for OpenSpan, where she oversees the company’s global market development and strategic growth. Anna has more than 25 years’ experience in enterprise technology, helping FORTUNE 500 companies drive operational and financial excellence leveraging technology innovation to deliver world-class customer experience.