5 Ways to Elevate Employee (& Customer) Experience
When you think about ways to improve the customer experience, it’s easy to fine tune your focus to the customer. What does the customer want? What are their pain points? Where are they shopping? What do they care about? What is their journey? While focussing on the customer is absolutely essential, focussing on your frontline employees (those who deliver the customer experience) is just as important.
It’s a simple (tried and tested) theory: an improvement to your employee experience is an improvement to your customer experience. When your frontline staff are confident, motivated and feel a genuine sense of pride in their work, they go on to deliver world-class customer experiences that keep customers coming back for more. Think about it: if an employee feels bored, unmotivated and unhappy, they have no reason to go the extra mile for any of their customers.
With that said, each of the strategies below not only enhance and improve the experience of every customer-facing staff member, but subsequently create consistently awesome experiences that will set you apart from your competition. Let’s dive in!
Cultivate a Culture of Authentic Appreciation:
Ah, the sweet nectar of appreciation. It’s one of the most simple, yet underused practices to improve the employee experience. The truth is, we all want to feel seen, heard and appreciated – it’s a human need that’s usually enhanced further in the workplace. Our jobs occupy a big part of our personal identity, and when we don’t feel valued in the place we show up to 5 days a week, it can be extremely demoralizing and difficult. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many frontline employees. According to a survey published by Microsoft, over half of frontline workers feel undervalued.
Appreciation is all about authenticity and timing. Showering your employees with generic ‘thank yous’ will only get you so far. The key to creating a genuine culture of appreciation relies on a) catching your employees doing things right (recognition in the moment), and 2) delivering gratitude in a personalized way that speaks to specific experiences (no mass ‘thank you’ messages).
How, you ask? One of the most effective ways to do this is by connecting your employees with real-time customer feedback. This way, employees get to see what real, positive customer feedback that’s specific to them. It’s the most timely, authentic and scalable form of frontline recognition and appreciation.
Wave Goodbye to Micro-Managing
“I love my micromanaging boss!” – Said no employee, ever. Another way to elevate the employee experience, and subsequently the customer experience, is by giving your employees the authority to make decisions and solve problems independently. Often, this can look like thinking beyond the realms of policy and procedure to solve customer conflicts and in turn create brand advocates. The key is making sure employees have adequate coaching, support and tools they need to excel in their jobs – giving employees authority without doing this first is a recipe for disaster.
By fostering an environment of trust and empowerment, organizations can tap into the full potential of their workforce. When employees are encouraged to take ownership of their role and are provided with the autonomy to devise out-of-the-box solutions, they not only feel valued and respected, but they also become more invested in the experiences of their customers.. As team members gain the confidence to tackle challenges on their own, they develop crucial skills, get to know their customers more intimately, foster a sense of accountability, and contribute to a culture of collaboration. In short, it does wonders!
Provide Tools & Technology
Despite their critical role in every industry, folks on the frontline have traditionally been underserved by technology. Yet, according to a study by Microsoft, 63% of frontline workers are excited about the job opportunities tech creates, and 46% of frontline workers say they even value tech tools over mental health and wellness benefits.
An array of technological innovations are reshaping the landscape for frontline employees. You can use feedback tools, recognition tools, CRMs, digital communications, wearable devices and task management software to help support teams who are out there delivering experiences to your customers. The better you equip your frontline teams with the right tools and technology, the easier it becomes for them to excel in their roles. As technology advances, so does the potential to revolutionize the way frontline employees engage with customers and contribute to the organization's success.
Champion Mental Health
Let's be real, frontline work can be arduous. These dedicated employees frequently bear the brunt of customer frustrations, which can take a toll on their emotional well-being. To establish an environment where your team feels not only safe but also genuinely supported in their roles, it's imperative to step up as a champion of mental health. You can do this through subsiding counseling services, conducting regular check-ins with your team, ensuring workloads are realistic and encouraging a culture of openness, vulnerability and support.
By acknowledging the emotional challenges your frontline team face, providing resources for stress management, and fostering open conversations about mental well-being, you can pave the way for a workplace that nurtures both professional growth and personal resilience.
Ask Employees (Nicely!)
Finally, don’t forget to ask your employees. Nicely of course. Ultimately, they are the ones that know how to improve their experience. Their insights into the day-to-day nuances of their roles hold immense value, offering unique perspectives on areas that require refinement. By initiating these conversations, you not only create a culture of mutual respect but also tap into a wellspring of collective wisdom. This practice extends beyond strategic decision-making—it becomes a fundamental commitment to nurturing an environment where collaboration and innovation flourish. In essence, when you ask your employees, you're not only soliciting their ideas but also demonstrating your dedication to co-creating a workplace that prioritizes their success and satisfaction.
In summary, optimizing the employee experience directly influences the quality of customer interactions and ultimately sets the stage for business success. While a customer-centric approach is pivotal, it's equally important to recognize that the frontline employees driving these interactions play an integral role. By creating a culture of appreciation, waving goodbye to micro-managing, providing the right tools and technology, championing mental health and of course opening the conversation with your employees, you create a workplace where employees actually want to be, which fosters an environment where customers actually want to go, time and time again.