C – Suite Commitment to the Frontline teams: Engaged Employees = Engaged Customers
29th July 2020 | Aileen Allkins
Delivering a positive customer experience is vital for any business. An article in Forbes reported 97% of CEOs believe customer satisfaction is the key to business success. We know good customer service drives revenue, with 93% of consumers more likely to make repeat purchases at companies with excellent customer service. An often-overlooked factor in delivering positive customer experiences is the direct link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction – and businesses that take time to invest in their frontline teams will reap the rewards.
There are four core questions businesses should be asking themselves when it comes to supporting their customer service and support teams. Taking time to focus on frontline agents is the first step to improving customer satisfaction and financial performance.
How engaged with CX is the C-Suite?
There is a positive correlation between a CEO’s involvement with CX teams and customer experience success, attested by the fact 64% of companies with a CEO focused on customer service have greater financial success than their competitors. It’s vital for the C-Suite to invest time in frontline teams to gain personal and direct insight into the customer experience.
Encouraging employee feedback can allow Senior Leadership Teams to understand the challenges frontline workers face. Companies that share customer experience feedback directly with the CEO achieve on average of 6 points higher net promoter score than companies that don’t. Feedback is particularly important during a time of crisis, when customer service teams are under additional pressure. An Ark Group survey found whilst 95% of CEOs value effective internal communication as ‘critical’, only 22% believe this is delivered. Take the time to integrate regular feedback opportunities into CX workflow – this will encourage employee engagement and provide more useful, timely data on employee and customer experiences. I always prioritised spending time with the frontline teams so I could put myself ‘in their shoes’ and truly understand their perspectives in order to implement meaningful change. Employees who feel their voices are heard are also 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to deliver their best work.
Do employees want to remain in their role?
The link between a company’s mission and its customer service is vital. A recent study from Perkbox, however, found just 41% of UK employees feel aligned with their organisations’ goals. This disconnect can lead to a lack of engagement – directly impacting customer satisfaction.
Call centre jobs have one of the highest rates of attrition. In the US, turnover ranges between 30-45 percent, more than double the average for other occupations. Losing employees at such a high rate is damaging to company culture, but also has a financial impact – according to research by Oxford Economics and Unum, the average cost of turnover per employee, earning over £25,000, is £30,614.
T-Mobile successfully decreased call centre attrition and absenteeism through their pioneering ‘Team of Experts’ model. They encouraged CS workers to collaborate in shared ‘pods’, a teamwork-driven approach which increased the company’s net promoter score by more than half and reduced customer churn to an all-time low. Increased collaboration and engagement could reduce the cost of resources invested in training and onboarding, helping to create a cohesive, positive work environment for frontline teams.
Are staff empowered and equipped to problem solve?
Ninety-four percent of CEOs believe customer feedback can help their company retain their best employees. Positive feedback will boost morale, in turn improving consumer satisfaction. From a management perspective, trusting your staff is key – and encouraging frontline workers to adapt processes to support each individual customer will empower them to provide better service.
Empowering staff to problem solve will also reduce customer transfers. Limiting these across call centres increases loyalty from service users – research has found only 3% of customers who have a problem solved during the first service interaction are likely to churn, compared to 38% if the issues isn’t resolved after the first call. Equipping frontline workers through regular training such as active listening and problem solving is vital to customer service success – translating into a better experience for the customer.
Does company culture engage frontline staff?
Senior Leadership Teams must be aligned with customer service experience and strategy. If your frontline teams struggle to connect with organisational goals and company culture, customer experience will suffer. Business divisions must work together to create a good customer experience: companies with successfully aligned department goals have seen up to 36% customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.
Maintaining company culture has become a greater challenge for teams working remotely in the wake of the coronavirus – research has shown 4 in 10 employees feel less productive working from home during the pandemic. Where workers feel isolated and disconnected, motivation drops. Encourage your teams to maintain office relationships via regular video catchups and virtual socials, to remind them they are part of a wider organisation.
Businesses need to focus on their employees if they want to improve customer service. Think about the wellbeing of frontline workers and ensure they have the correct training and tools to do their role, as well as opportunities to feedback to the wider company on the customer journey. These people are too often overlooked but they set the tone for a customer’s first interaction with your company. If companies improve interactions between employees and customers, they’ll see a positive impact across the business – but it starts with an internal focus on frontline staff.