CSP Happenings





Topic: Employee Engagement

Positive customer feedback matters

May 24, 2017

Passionate customers tell you what makes your brand exceptional

Often, customer experience research focuses too heavily on business shortcomings.  Managers want to know when customers are dissatisfied, what caused their dissatisfaction, and how to fix the problem.  As a result, decision makers overlook positive customer feedback.  Managers expect positive feedback, and when it’s received, they don’t celebrate the occasion. Instead, managers continue to search for shortcomings in their businesses – they don’t want to be complacent, even if their customers are happy.  However, this oversight misses an opportunity: a chance to understand what drives customer passion and excitement.

Word-of-mouth advocacy is a powerful driver of new business, and positive customer testimonials received during customer experience research help highlight the topics brand advocates are most likely to talk about with friends and family.  To maximize the value of this feedback, businesses should ask customers the following questions about their experiences:

  • How does our service/product/interaction make you feel?  When a customer describes a positive experience, asking them about their feelings helps businesses understand the type of value their services bring.  Are customers relieved? Excited?  Do they feel in-control?  Understanding the specific emotions they feel helps businesses understand why a service/product/interaction is important, and what emotions are driving the customer’s behavior.
  • How is our business different from others?  When it comes to positive customer experiences, unique positive experiences are true brand differentiators.  Identifying those unique positive experiences allows businesses to replicate that experiences across their customer base.  Once the experience is consistent, that unique positive experience is a brand differentiator, which can be used to solicit new customers.
  • How does our business make a difference in your life, even if it is small?  Asking customers to relate a business’s services to their lives helps communicate those services in the customers’ language.  For example, customers might not care about the UX testing, which guided development of a bank’s mobile app; but they DO care that the app is easy to use and saves them time.  Managers and directors are prone to talk about the services they provide in their own terms – from the behind-the-scenes perspective, talking about the nuanced details of the services they provide.  Conversely, customer feedback vocalizes positive experiences in ways mangers struggle to verbalize, and their feedback provides a template for how managers should talk about the services they provide.

Beyond the benefits of analyzing positive customer feedback, the process provides a venue to build morale among employees and recognize their hard work.  By addressing positive feedback, employees are incentivized to continue (and increase) positive behaviors, which lead to positive customer experiences, because they know their good deeds are noticed and valued.

In 2017 and beyond, managers continue to look at positive customer experiences to identify, replicate and reinforce aspects of their businesses leading to positive feedback.  Once reinforced, branding/marketing managers use these competitive advantages to drive new business, while customers drive business on their own through brand advocacy.

Responding to negative customer feedback is important, but most organizations already do a good job at identifying their own shortcomings.  Many managers overlook positive feedback at their own detriment, and those who utilize feedback to create a model for consistent positive experiences will come out on top.

3 Tips for a Positive Workplace & Positive Customer Relationships

April 26, 2017

While you’re hard at work trying to maintain lifelong customer relationships, it can be easy to overlook the relationships among your staff. It seems obvious that a friendly work environment leads to greater productivity, decreased stress, less turnover and increased satisfaction—and in fact, research shows that this assumption is true. Happier employees lead to a more positive customer experience, as well.

A positive workplace starts with a strong manager. Start by surveying your employees to gauge their satisfaction. What do they really think about their job? Then try to build in the tips found below.

Boundaries

Clearly communicating your ideas and expectations at the beginning of a project save you from a conflict later in the process.

  • Try replacing open-ended questions like, “Do you want to start or shall I?” with “I’d like to start with x and then get your opinion.”
  • Create a space or time wherein employees can feel free to express their ideas and concerns safely. If confidentiality is important, consider using a comment box and then reading entries anonymously at meetings.

Customers benefit from companies that enforce clear boundaries, because they know what to expect.  Consistent results from a well-communicated plan of action go a long way to build relationships with your customers, too.

Gratitude

Everyone likes to know that they’re valued and appreciated.  Cultivating an atmosphere of gratitude can encourage employees and help them understand their integral role in the office.

  • Begin conversations by recognizing something positive your employee has done recently. They’ll likely be more receptive to suggestions or critique if they know you’re aware of their successes too.
  • Make sure your praise is specific and/or spontaneous. Let your employees know you’re paying attention to their work.

Have you ever walked into a bank and the teller was clearly miserable?  Your customers associate the positive and negative emotions they experience with the brand itself.  By ensuring your employees have a smile on their face, your customers will be smiling too.

 

Fun

Dale Carnegie, a famous thought leader in corporate thinking, said “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”

American culture often does not include “fun” as a regular component of the work day.  Work shouldn’t be fun, right?  In fact, incorporating fun into the workplace used to be more common with company picnics, birthday parties, and friendly office wagers.

  • You can maintain a professional atmosphere while still having fun. The key is to designate a time and a place.  Scheduling a regular happy hour can give employees something to look forward to after a long day at the office.
  • Assign “birthday cake duty” to one of your employees to make sure birthdays are recognized and everyone can take a sugary break in the afternoon for a slice.

Your customers don’t want to feel like they’re a burden to your employees.  Let people know that you’re working hard and playing hard on their behalf.  This gesture also goes a long way in humanizing your brand and service, further cementing lifelong, loyal relationships with customers.

If you’re interested in reading a little more on this topic, check out our articles on how to boost employee morale:

https://www.csp.com/encouraging-cross-departmental-collaboration/#.WP9ysYgrJPY

https://www.csp.com/10-examples-of-employee-engagement-in-action/#.WP91oIgrJPY

You Have Employee Engagement Analytics. Now What?

April 1, 2016

The ongoing cycle of customer experience success is comprised of four main influencers: Employees, Customers, Management, and Data. In this series, CSP examines the Employee segment of that cycle and the benefits of focusing on internal culture to drive success.

So you’ve been convinced of the value of employee engagement metrics. You want to see what can happen when you prioritize employee engagement. You’ve enlisted the help of an objective outside party, such as CSP, to collect information from your staff and learn what the key drivers of engagement are in your unique environment. Now what?

Data is the essential foundation of any strategy aimed at improving the employee experience. When you make decisions based on hard evidence, rather than personal opinions or anecdotal success stories you’ve read about from other managers, you’re already on the right track to effecting positive change.

Making the numbers “talk” is the next part of the journey. This is where evidence meets intuition – where data meets with the human touch. With an experienced analytical eye, the raw data begins to tell the story of your organization from the employee’s point of view.

Visualizing the Data 
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Our understanding of data is largely influenced by how that data is presented. A spreadsheet might contain all the necessary information, but often it takes a visual representation of that information for the insights within to become clear.

Bar charts, pie charts, scatter plots, and line graphs are among the most common, and most effective, ways of turning data into recognizable patterns. These days, it’s also not hard to find measurement tools that generate custom visualizations, such as CSP’s benchmarking dashboard gauges. 

BARLoyalty for websiteWhy does this matter? The exact same data can be conveyed in many different ways, and each will have an effect on how that data is interpreted. What you see is what you get; how you see it determines what you get out of it.

For example, pie charts convey percentages of a whole, while scatter plots convey the frequency of each possible response. You can neither get a bell curve out of a pie chart, nor deduce a percentage out of a scatter plot. And depending on what it is you’re measuring, a percentage may tell you more than the frequency, or vice versa. (We’ll be discussing the nuances of data visualization more in an upcoming post.)

Writing the End to the Story

Once the right match has been made between the data and the presentation, and patterns are revealed, the last thing you want to do is just sit on the intelligence you’ve gathered. Now is the time to start asking the questions that will bring this story to a satisfying conclusion:

  • What can be changed right now? While there is no “quick fix” to the overall employee experience, the data may point to one or two pain points where change can happen with the least investment of time and resources.
  • What needs more attention or discussion? Maybe the results of the survey were mixed enough that there is no obvious conclusion without a closer look, or the solution to resolve the pattern is more complex and involves input from other decision-makers.
  • Is there a larger scale cultural change that needs to happen? In some cases, the data may indicate that the internal culture of your workplace is in need of more than just a tune-up.
  • Is there anything that can’t be changed? Some things will inevitably be outside of your locus of control, or otherwise limited by the availability of resources to resolve them. What might need to change is how you address these sensitive issues with employees.

These questions can help you prioritize the drivers of engagement that need to be prioritized in your employee engagement strategy. With this information, you can begin to embrace change and reap the benefits.


More posts on internal culture and employee engagement:

10 Examples of Employee Engagement in Action

March 9, 2016

The ongoing cycle of customer experience success is comprised of four main influencers: Employees, Customers, Management, and Data. In this series, CSP examines the Employee segment of that cycle and the benefits of focusing on internal culture to drive success.

One of the main advantages of measuring employee engagement is the ability to take something intangible – sense of purpose, satisfaction, and commitment – and turn it into solid data. With this knowledge, businesses can pave a way forward, continuing to rely on regularly updated data to evaluate progress and adjust as necessary.

The Psychology of Engagement

Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” is a staple of human developmental psychology.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

This breakdown of basic, universal human needs provides a useful framework for understanding employee engagement. Let’s take a look at some examples of the key drivers of employee satisfaction, how they correlate with different needs, and what they look like in action (or absence).

Key Driver of Engagement Satisfies This Need Effect on Employee Performance
“My work space is comfortable, and I have the tools and resources I need.” Physiological
  • When this need is met, employees look forward to coming to work and can perform more productively.
  • When this need is not met, employees may dread their time at work and not accomplish as much each day.
“I am fairly compensated with salary and benefits.” Physiological
Esteem
  • When this need is met, employees are likely to remain committed to the company and don’t feel taken advantage of.
  • When this need is not met, employees may become suspicious of or competitive with each other, or begin looking for other employment.
“I feel confident in my job security with this company.” Safety
  • When this need is met, employees can relax and bring their best effort to their jobs, knowing they will still be there tomorrow.
  • When this need is not met, employees may be paranoid, insecure, and less devoted to doing their best.
“I can bring up concerns and ideas to my supervisors” Safety
Esteem
  • When this need is met, employees trust management to be open to their ideas, suggestions, and even criticism.
  • When this need is not met, employees may hesitate to be proactive, contribute solutions, or bring attention to problem areas for fear that it could backfire on them.
“I feel well-informed by what is going on at this company.” Belonging
Esteem
  • When this need is met, employees feel they are connected to the big picture and are motivated to work towards common goals.
  • When this need is not met, employees may become distrustful or disillusioned, and performance can suffer because they “don’t see the point” of their jobs.
“There is a strong sense of teamwork here.” Belonging
  • When this need is met, employees communicate well with each other and with management, and inter-office conflict is kept to a minimum and handled effectively.
  • When this need is not met, tensions can rise between team members or management, and productivity takes a backseat to conflict resolution.
“This company recognizes and rewards people who are doing their jobs well.” Esteem
Belonging
  • When this need is met, employees strive to earn the company’s recognition and are supportive of their team members who do the same.
  • When this need is not met – or if it is met unfairly, such as favoritism – employees may become less productive or unhealthily competitive with one another.
“This company is highly respected in the industry and/or by the public.” Esteem
  • When this need is met, employees take pride in their work and in their roles in supporting the company’s success.
  • When this need is not met, employees may feel ashamed or embarrassed to say that they work for this company, and possibly seek out positions with better-regarded employers.
“I feel empowered to make decisions on my own.” Self-actualization
  • When this need is met, problems and situations are handled effectively, swiftly, and with the least amount of drama.
  • When this need is not met, the employee feels – and acts – as though their hands are literally tied, and productivity suffers because they are always waiting for someone else to act first.
“There is a clear path for promotion or growth from my current position.” Self-actualization
Safety
  • When this need is met, employees draw extra motivation from the possibility of advancement and seek to impress management by proving their worth.
  • When this need is not met, employees may feel underappreciated or stifled, and are open to other opportunities with more promise.
These are just a handful of more than 40 attributes CSP considers when guiding our clients to improve employee engagement.

While no single area of need is more important than all of the others, all of these needs are interrelated and depend on each other to promote optimal employee engagement. The most influential drivers of engagement will vary from workplace to workplace, depending on factors like staff demographics, fluctuations in the economy, and change within the company. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nurturing engagement. It must be measured and addressed on a case-by-case basis to produce results.


 

More posts on internal culture and employee engagement:

 

5 Compelling Reasons to Measure Employee Engagement

March 2, 2016

The ongoing cycle of customer experience success is comprised of four main influencers: Employees, Customers, Management, and Data. In this series, CSP examines the Employee segment of that cycle and the benefits of focusing on internal culture to drive success.

Understanding Employee Engagement

As defined by the Corporate Leadership Council, “Engagement is the extent to which employees commit to something or someone in their organization and how hard they work and how long they stay as a result of that commitment.”

Engagement is all about intentionally creating a motivating workplace environment, while simultaneously aligning individual employee talents with business strategy. Employees engaged in their work are likely to be motivated, to work with passion, to remain committed to their employer, and to stay focused on achieving business goals and driving the organization’s future.

Why It’s Important to Measure Employee Engagement

1 – Employee engagement directly correlates with performance and business results

No business can expect to grow and achieve sustainable success without an engaged workforce. This is especially true as it applies to customer service and satisfaction. Customer experience is nurtured from the inside out, and relies on competent, well-trained, and highly motivated employees. Sure, you may deliver annual performance reviews and objectives, but that’s only scratching the surface of the overall success of your team.

2 – Being a ‘Great Place to Work’ attracts top talent

A company’s reputation as an employer is one factor determining the quality of applicants for open positions, be they external or internal applicants. Being a great place to work is not just about bragging rights and publicity, it demonstrates to potential candidates (not to mention customers and the general public) that you are doing the all the right things to keep your employees feeling fulfilled. Any worthy candidate will see this as extra incentive to join your team. It may even attract them away from competitors with similar openings available.

3 – Engaged employees are emotionally invested

Your contract with your employees goes beyond tangible benefits like compensation and benefits. How employees feel about their jobs – their managers, their workload and hours, the company’s mission and the quality of the product or service – makes the difference between a job that looks good on paper and one that is satisfying in practice. Employees who are emotionally invested in the company’s success are among your greatest assets.   

CostofReplacing4 – High engagement reduces employee churn

The highest-engaged employees are the least likely to look for or take other employment opportunities that come their way. Naturally, it follows that those who are the least engaged are also the least committed to staying on the team. Not only is it costly to regularly lose employees and have to replace them, voluntary departures affect the morale of the rest of the team.

5 – Engagement can’t be ‘felt,’ it must be measured

While a manager may have a sense of who the most and least engaged members of the team are, many employees will fall somewhere in the invisible middle. These employees are susceptible to being swayed in either direction. Improving individual and overall engagement is only achievable if you know the baseline from which you’re working. Employee engagement metrics take many of the intangible motivators of performance success and make them tangible, visible, and trackable. That’s an essential step for setting goals and implementing internal initiatives to improve engagement.

More posts on internal culture and employee engagement: