CSP Happenings





Tagged: employee morale

Managers Should Encourage Employee Feedback

August 31, 2017

Managers and directors do a lot of talking, and rightly so. Their career experience puts them in positions where they provide instruction to their staff, lead employee evaluations and create strategic visions for the future of their companies. Despite their need to lead through direction, great managers listen carefully to their employees. They utilize feedback from staff to drive progress, and trust the judgment of their staff to make smart decisions.

coaching

To leverage the knowledge junior staff hold, managers must create an environment

where two-way communication is encouraged. Most office environments try to create a culture of open communication, but the difficulties of any business (personality clashes, revenue struggles, etc.) can damage those lines of communication. When employees feel their career progress may be at risk, due to a stubborn superior or concerns about layoffs, they put their heads down and work hard, rather than offering constructive criticism of the company. They want to appear as team players, and keep ideas to themselves out of

fear of appearing dissident or negative. This breakdown in communication misses an abundance of opportunity and ideas, which would otherwise make the company more efficient and profitable:

Blind Spots

Often, managers can’t be as detail-oriented in their work as junior staff members. Individuals with highly-specified roles know certain business processes inside and out. In turn, if there is an inefficiency or problem with those processes, junior staff tend to know about it (and usually complain about it to each other) first. Managers need to make sure those complaints are brought to their attention, and ensure that opportunities to improve reach their desks. Otherwise, those issues go unchanged and leave junior staff frustrated.

Office Morale

Companies that communicate poorly often see a “communication divide” arise between staff and management. Typically, management is happy with the company direction and sees a positive financial outlook, while the rest of the staff feel overworked and negated from the profitability their hard work achieves. This animosity creates a toxic culture, divided between staff and management, and management can sometimes be oblivious to those issues if staff only vocalize their dissatisfaction to each other. Mangers need to make sure their staff feels safe in expressing grievances when they arise.

Innovation

The biggest folly of arrogance managers can make is assuming that good ideas must come from the top. Some of the most successful companies designate time for employees to pursue long-term, innovative projects that will create new revenue channels or huge efficiencies for the company. A good starting point for managers to create a culture of innovation is to regularly remind employees that new ideas are encouraged and welcomed. The sheer number of junior staff members (compared to managers), combined with the specificity of their work (detail-oriented) creates a major opportunity for innovation managers can’t afford to forego.

Occupation-Specific Trials and Tribulations

Depending on their roles within the company, different employees experience different perks and hardships. A call center representative may struggle with difficult customers, while a data analyst may long for more social interaction. Each job role is different, and managers need to understand the intricacies of the different job roles. When they understand the pros and cons of working within a specific department/role, they understand how to communicate with the department and comprehend what’s top-of-mind for those employees when they think about progress and goals.

Individualized Coaching

Above all else, employee feedback is the greatest coaching tool a manager can have. Understanding an individual’s perspective helps the manager tailor their coaching, address the employee’s concerns and create a better sense of camaraderie. If an employee doesn’t voice their opinions, training and coaching may feel irrelevant and the manager’s goals won’t gain the same respect as goals that are mutually created between employee and manager. Individuals are complex, and good managers appreciate that an employee is also a whole person with unique needs. In a sense, two-way communication can be a self-serving endeavor for the savvy manager: taking the veil away from what their employees are thinking streamlines a manager’s work and helps them address the root of their employees’ needs in the most efficient way possible.

Unhappy employees put your customers at risk

July 18, 2017

Employee engagement is an important part of any business, but its importance extends beyond feel-good factors. Sometimes, the business world speaks about employee satisfaction as a non-essential element of business. There is an impression that employers should strive for good employee satisfaction, but if employees aren’t entirely happy, the bottom line still must be met and everyone will go home satisfied enough with their paychecks.

bad customer service

However, employee satisfaction has bottom-line revenue effects. Satisfied employees feel invested in their companies, have a sense of mutual destiny with the companies they work for and approach their job roles with creativity and drive to improve. Conversely, dissatisfied employees run the risk of not only feeling unhappy, but channeling that unhappiness into behaviors that worsen customers’ experience and satisfaction.

No matter the strength of a business plan, most companies rely on a multitude of employees to execute those plans. Troubled employees jeopardize the health of their businesses in the following ways:

Lack of attention to detail

Unhappy employees tend to be highly focused on their status and personal underachievement in their job role. They worry about their own performance, and sometimes feel like a scapegoat when things go wrong. Managers should be concerned about this mindset because it distracts from the wants and needs of clients. The self-focused employee always struggles to go above-and-beyond for clients, and tends to miss specific detail-oriented tasks, which are often distinguishing factors between a business and its competitors.

Missed opportunity for development 

Any good company tries to improve its employees through training, but the employee’s own commitment to improvement is equally, if not more, important for results. A continuous cycle of improvement and promotion is important for so many reasons: It improves longevity of employees within a business, incentivizes other staff members through example and creates a culture where employees are striving to excel in their roles, rather than simply treading water. Unmotivated employees, and their employers, miss out on this development cycle and hurt the culture of achievement within the workplace.

Apathy to customer success

Praise and positive feedback are important for employees to receive not only from their managers, but from their clients. Without positive feedback from clients, employees can slip into a state of feeling that their work isn’t valuable. When they don’t see the value of their work, they feel less inclined to overachieve in the future, unsure of the impact of their hard work. Clients suffer as a result, and may turn to competitors or reduce their business with the company.

Lack of connection to company bottom line

Perhaps the most profound effect of employee dissatisfaction is the feeling of separation an excluded employee feels toward the company’s financial standing. Connected employees feel personally responsible for improving the profitability of a company because they assume their efforts will be rewarded. If an employee isn’t incentivized or doesn’t feel included, the employee assumes that any success the company experiences will pass them by. They don’t anticipate company success to reward them, personally. Employees must feel connected to their companies and understand that their own career success is synonymous with the success of the business.

While it’s sometimes tempting as managers to become frustrated with employee complaints, it’s important to understand the reasons behind those complaints. It’s even more important to be able to identify unspoken dissatisfaction in the workplace and approach dissatisfaction with a solution-oriented mindset. Individuals are responsible for their own happiness, but managers can impact the culture of the workplace, and must do so to protect their clients, revenues and long term trajectories of their businesses.

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.