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Tagged: employees

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

Left Brain, Right Brain: Aligning Internal Culture and Customer Analytics

August 5, 2016

A version of this post was featured by influential Customer Experience speaker and teacher Shep Hyken as a guest blog in August 2016. See it here.

Data inspires confidence because it serves as a rational, objective bottom line that provides order and structure to the customer experience. It appeals to the logical, pattern-oriented left brain, involved in making decisions that shape the customer experience. But customer analytics have more to tell you than scores alone. By reading between the lines, the shape of your company’s internal culture can emerge.

billiard balls in alignment, representing alignment of a company's internal cultureWhy is internal culture relevant?

Think of data as representing the ongoing feedback loop between a company’s internal culture and its customers. This loop runs smoothly when the culture is well aligned with the customers’ needs, wants, and expectations. A productive, motivated, well-informed staff produces satisfied customers, and vice versa.

If the culture is misaligned, though – if priorities are skewed, if there is distrust between leadership and employees, if there are significant obstacles to cooperation across departments, if employees don’t feel valued and morale is low – the impact on customer service is direct and immediate. Inefficient processes, gaps in information and communication, and employees who are just ‘going through the motions’ are all symptoms of a unhealthy internal culture that needs attention.

Customers tend not to tolerate these symptoms for long. Remember, a single negative interaction with your business can sour a customer’s opinion and undo a long history of positive interactions in a matter of minutes. Studies have shown that negative experiences have more staying power than positive ones; not only are people more likely to remember them, they are more likely to tell others about them, too. Social media has given customers a megaphone for complaints that they might otherwise just have grumbled about under their breath.

If data represents the left brain, culture represents the right brain.

Together, these elements form the foundation of customer experience management.

Customer analytics, used appropriately, can be the healing salve for a broken internal culture. By examining the trends, gaps, and other insights captured within the data, all employees, from upper management down to the individual customer service representatives, get a clear sense of the goals they are working toward as a team and what they can do to affect positive change.

This requires a degree of transparency between those who have access to the data and who make decisions, and those who carry out those decisions in their daily interactions with customers. A stern top-down directive given without context or reason is easily ignored or deprioritized, while one that is presented as a productive initiative backed by solid information is more motivating and harder to argue with.

Of course, transparency must go both ways if the staff is to work as a team. Employees at all levels of the company should feel empowered to ask questions, make suggestions, or otherwise participate in the shaping of the culture, and not just be beholden to policies. By valuing the voice of your employees, especially those who are in the position to directly interact with customers, you create an internal culture that nourishes the customer experience – and the data is bound to reflect that.

As a right-brain, intuitive element of the customer experience, cultural alignment can be felt as much as observed. Take this opportunity to do a “gut check” about the culture in your office and within the enterprise as a whole. Do you notice any symptoms? Have they emerged recently, or have they persisted, unattended, for some time? Do you feel empowered to do anything about them?

And remember, whether you need a complete diagnosis, a check-up, or an emergency treatment, CSP is always on call.

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:

 

Leadership Skills: How to Tell if You’re Using Your Time Wisely

December 4, 2015

We start this lesson in leadership with a classic metaphor:

A professor stood before his class with some specific items in front of him. When class began, he wordlessly picked up a large empty glass jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about three inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a bag of pebbles, poured them into the jar and lightly shook it. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. He asked his students again if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

csp_rocksandsandThe professor then picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous, “Yes!”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The big rocks are the important things in your life —your family, your health, your friends, your favorite passions — anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed. These things will make you the most proud at the end of your days.”

“The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent the secondary things in life like your job, your house, your car. They give your life meaning, but perhaps aren’t the focus of your life’s work.”

“The sand is everything else—the small stuff. The sand represents everything that fills our days, but doesn’t add much value overall.”

“Consider this! What would happen if you started filling the empty jar with the sand? If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for all the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important. Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. If you start with the big goals of life, the smaller things will shift and move around to fill in the remaining space. But the reverse is not true.”

It’s difficult to be an effective leader if you’re not available to give proper attention to the “big rocks” because you’re mired in the sand.

This might sound obvious, but many leaders don’t do it in practice. There are only so many hours in the day that can quickly get eaten up by having to put out fires or burn energy on lower priorities.

Determining the Most Effective Use of Your Time

While the anonymous professor above was talking about the scale of life, you can use the big rock, pebble, and sand categories to assign weight to each of your responsibilities as a leader.

Try keeping a log of your activity over a given week, noting how much time you devote to each item that needs your attention. Take a look at the overall pattern of where the highest percentage of your energy is going, and then ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are your most important leadership responsibilities? Leaders often let critical tasks that impact the future slide off their radar. Consider tasks like: forecasting the future of your team, planning staffing needs and development, continuous improvement to processes, determining strategic direction, etc. Have you gotten sidetracked by daily interruptions that take you away from these leadership “rocks?”
  2. What “fires” are monopolizing your time day-to-day, forcing you to operate in a reactive mode? Note that these are often the pebbles and sand that we respond to, hour after hour. How can you preventatively invest more time to solve (or diminish) these issues, and consequently, free up time to address your prioritized rocks?
  3. Which goals do you dream about completing?
  4. What legacy do you want to create as a leader?

By contrasting how you’re actually spending your time with how you would ideally like to in order to accomplish your goals, some opportunities to make constructive changes might emerge. This could mean a conversation with management to make the case for how your time could be better spent, to everyone’s benefit.

When you set about reprioritizing how you spend your time, choose wisely and be disciplined. It’s not much different than starting a new diet or exercise plan – it’d be easy to slip back into old habits and let your jar fill up with sand and pebbles instead of rocks. In fact, that’s bound to happen some days, and that’s okay. Learn from it and come back the next day with even more determination.

This article is adapted from an activity in STARS, our exclusive library of customer experience management resources. CSP clients can download training material, exercises, and articles written around specific customer experience dilemmas and solutions from STARS. Learn more.

Position Your CEO as a Customer Experience Champion

May 30, 2015

At many businesses, the only time a customer sees or hears from the CEO might be a statement issued to the press, a column in the quarterly newsletter, or in the worst cases, a public scandal for which the company leadership is held accountable.

Otherwise, CEOs, at least from the customer’s perspective, are mythical creatures that operate behind closed doors, where they make the Big Decisions that directly affect their customers.

Customer experience and service have been growing priorities for businesses across many industries in the last decade. Technology – specifically, customer data, social media, and the move towards mobile – has dramatically changed the way businesses and customers interact. This gave rise to the “omnichannel” point-of-view, and that’s the level where most CEOs (and other C-level executives) operate: overseers, analysts, evaluators, strategizers.

But what about champions?

champion of the customerSure, CEOs have a lot to say about the organizational effects and benefits of customer experience management.

  • 97% of executives surveyed in a global study by Oracle say that delivering great customer experiences is essential to their success.
  • In the same study, 81% of executives surveyed say they realize the importance of active social-media processes and culture, although only 65% had actually gone as far as implementing social service and sales.
  • 52% of retail senior executives surveyed by Timetrade stated that the best way to combat showrooming (visiting a store to view an item, but purchasing it later online) is by improving the in-store customer experience.
  • In a 2013 Deloitte survey, 62% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator.

But awareness is not advocacy. Simply knowing where the problems and opportunities are, and what could and should be done to improve the experience, does not a champion make.

CEOs must actively argue for, defend, and clear the path for improvements to the customer experience. In the words of Oracle CEO Mark V. Hurd, they must become “customer experience evangelists.”

This means taking internal actions to prioritize the customer experience, such as allocating enough of the budget to invest in voice of the customer strategies, and rallying employees, from the C-Suite down to the individual customer service representatives, around the cause. It also means maintaining a visible public-facing position of customer advocacy – and not just when crisis strikes.

4 CEOs Who Act As Champions

 Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon
So great is Bezos’ customer championship that you practically can’t talk about customer service or experience without his name coming up. As Amazon grew into the retail giant it is today, so did its influence on customer experience across the entire retail landscape, with Bezos himself on the vanguard. He keeps his email address publicly known and available, and is known for not just reading but forwarding customer complaint emails directly to the members of his team responsible for making a fix (which he expects to happen fast).
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Photo by Valery Marchive

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Apple wouldn’t be what it is today without its excruciating attention to detail and quality, and Cook has carried that through to his personal involvement in customer service. A perfect example: after a customer e-mailed Cook complaining about the quality of Apple’s music on hold, within 24 hours she got a call from an Apple employee saying Cook had forwarded the email to her and reassuring the customer that the matter would be dealt with. “”I get hundreds, and some days thousands of emails from customers,” Cook has said in prior interviews. “This is a privilege, because they talk to you as if you’re sitting at their kitchen table.”
 John Legere CEO of T-Mobile John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile
By eliminating contract plans and lifting many of the other customer-unfriendly policies common across wireless carriers (like complicated data fee structures and keeping phones ‘locked’ and un-transferrable), Legere made the statement in 2013 that his company was looking out for the customers’ best interests, instead of just protecting tech companies’ grip on the industry. In designing the plans, Legere said he listened to T-Mobile customer service calls every night and had customer complaint emails forwarded to him, as well as making his email address public. “We are going to change the rules,” Legere said. “Not for us … this is about what consumers want and need.”
 Sir Richard Branson Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin
OK, so he’s not a CEO anymore, but Branson might still be one of the world’s most accessible billionaires. Despite his fantastically high profile and net worth, he shakes the unfavorable image of the 1% by remaining in close contact with customers (not just of Virgin, but everywhere). He commands a massive social media following – 2 million on Facebook, 5.6 million on Twitter, nearly 8 million on LinkedIn – and is a regular blogger who frequently advocates for the quality of customer service and relations, and is generous with advice.

 

You might also be interested in these previous posts:

Get Your Decision-Makers to Listen to the Voice of the Customer

May 12, 2015

A satisfying customer experience is organizational, not just transactional. The most direct way to affect your customer experience is to start with your own staff. Everyone must be on board, especially managers and executives.

It’s critical that the top decision-makers at your business believe in the customer experience and stay tuned in to the voice of the customer, even if they never interact directly. Without this investment of attitude and effort, they risk developing blind spots or working off of assumptions that are not aligned with the customer’s reality.

Reasons to Believe in Customer Experience Management

executives

If there is reluctance or uncertainty among senior staff about the value of being involved with the customer experience, they might just need a nudge in the right direction.

Objection: I’ve been in this business for (x) years. I know my customer.
Reality: Your customer today is almost certainly not the same one you were serving (x) years ago. Customer expectations of their experience have changed rapidly in the last several years, and customers are forever looking towards the future. What satisfied them yesterday is old news today and will have them yawning tomorrow. Meanwhile, agile, innovative start-ups and tech-savvy companies have changed the face of customer service and set the bar higher for the rest of the marketplace, not just their own competitors. So you may think you know your customer, but would your customer agree?
Objection: There’s just too much data to make sense of.
Reality: That’s precisely why it’s important to make sense of it. With the explosion of data in the digital age, there is so much to learn about customers to enhance what we already know. As more organizations adopt an omnichannel approach to customer service and marketing, it’s essential to dive into the data and see how all of the parts are functioning. Only this 360-degree view can tell you how well your business is performing as a whole.
Objection: Should we really be budgeting for this?
Reality: What is more costly to a business in the long run – a system for measuring customer satisfaction, or dissatisfied customers? If you’re investing in customer service at all, it’s better to work from a foundation of current and thorough information about the key drivers of satisfaction among your customers, than to go by your assumptions of which areas are performing well and which ones need more attention.
Objection: There’s plenty of market research already out there we can use.
Reality: You can take your chances by basing your decisions off of large, sweeping studies and reports, drawn from a sample size that might not even include any of your own customers. Or you can ask them directly and know that the information you’re getting is immediately relevant to your business and your market. While the large-scale market research is helpful for noting trends and patterns, no one can speak for your customers as well as they can themselves.
Objection: I’m an executive, why does this involve me at all?
Reality: When the customer experience is hurting, other parts of the business – including some of the parts the C-Suite cares about, like sales and workplace performance – will suffer, too. Even if your role never has you interacting with customers directly, you still have an indirect effect on their experience by modeling the right attitude to your team. If those working on the front lines don’t feel like their higher-ups value the customer, they’re not likely to go the extra mile themselves.

Consider, too, that in today’s social media age, businesses aren’t as opaque to the customer as they once were. Customers who have any reason to be upset are not shy about publicly calling out Owners, Presidents, Board Members and CEOs. When there’s a communication breakdown or a scandal between a business and its customers, the public looks to the leaders for explanations and accountability. They can tell the difference between canned PR apologies and genuine concern – which can only come from genuine engagement.

The Takeaway

Superior customer service starts from within and moves outwards, but it can only do so if the internal influencers within your organization are giving it the proper momentum. Managers and executives might sign the paychecks, but the customer is really the boss.

Use Learning Styles to Customize Your Employee Training

January 28, 2015

As we’ve stated in a previous post, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all employee training.

There are actually two layers of truth to that assertion. Not only should each business customize its training program to best meet the expectations and needs of its customers, each employee has distinct learning preferences. These preferences will affect the employees’ ability to absorb the material.

Understanding learning styles will help you conduct the most effective training that gets through to each individual and sticks. Each learning style has its own strengths and weaknesses.

visual learning stylesVisual

Visual learners want to see the information or idea that’s being conveyed to them. They like graphs and diagrams and may color-code their notes and materials. They can learn a new task by watching someone else do it.

Strengths

  • Can visualize ideas in detail
  • Does well in face-to-face environments
  • Learns well from descriptive examples and demonstrations, pictures, or diagrams
  • Good note-takers and list-makers

Challenges

  • Can get distracted by clutter, movement, or crowds
  • Might struggle to listen for long periods of time
  • Less likely to retain what they hear

auditory learning stylesAuditory

Auditory learners want to hear the information. Mnemonic devices and rhymes make intuitive sense to these students, and they have no problem paying attention to a long presentation – they may even quote the speaker later on from memory. They can learn a new task if it’s described well to them.

Strengths:

  • Attentive listeners and communicators with a good memory for what is said, with or without note-taking
  • Does well on the phone
  • Absorbs verbal/written instructions

Challenges:

  • Sensitive to a noisy or loud environment
  • May find handouts during presentations to be more distracting than helpful
  • May need to hear instructions repeatedly to fully grasp them

kinesthetic learning stylesKinesthetic

Kinesthetic learners want to do it themselves. They are hands-on students who often rely on muscle memory and “feeling” their way through things. If teaching others, they’d rather demonstrate than explain.

Strengths:

  • Learns well with plenty of practice
  • Can figure things out as they go along
  • Thrives in in-person learning environments

Challenges:

  • Prefers a peaceful learning environment without a lot of active movement around them
  • Less likely to pay attention to verbal or written instructions
  • Unlikely to study from notes
  • Can feel trapped or restless in a classroom or at a desk for prolonged periods

Most adults won’t fall 100% into one box, but could have a secondary learning style that compliments their dominant preference. There are simple activities you can have your team complete to identify their learning styles.

Training for the Different Learning Styles

A slideshow presentation delivered by a single speaker may engage the visual and auditory learners, but leave the kinesthetic learners bored. They’d prefer a class with lots of activities and opportunities to practice, but the visual and auditory learners may then fall behind without as much verbal information.

When designing your training curriculum, make it a priority to include activities and methods that engage all three styles. Show, tell, and do. Pay attention to what seems to be working for your own group – after all, if the team skews towards visual learners, the learning materials might as well follow suit.

Effective employee training can have an indirect impact on the customer experience. You want skilled representatives on the front lines of customer service – and you get skilled representatives by taking their learning styles into consideration.

Want to know more about customized training solutions designed with the customer experience in mind? Contact CSP today.

Welcoming the Era of the Universal Banker

January 14, 2015

Innovations in mobile and digital platforms have influenced significant paradigm changes in how bank and credit union customers interact with their institutions in the virtual space. Now that wave of change is bleeding over into the physical world, with the invention and adoption of the universal banker.

The future and function of the brick-and-mortar branch continues to be a subject of debate, especially as digital solutions have taken their toll on teller transactions and branch foot traffic. Universal bankers are one response to this, with the potential to not only affect the customer experience, but address some of the challenges of staffing and workforce management across bank networks.

The title “Universal Banker” first started catching the industry’s attention in 2015. That year, BAI named increased implementation of universal bankers as one of the most anticipated trends in retail banking. Job listings seeking universal bankers spread rapidly across online platforms among banks big and small.

What is a universal banker?
universal banker

In a nutshell, the universal banker role is a hybrid of the traditional teller and the personal banker. Their specialty is being unspecialized – or, maybe more accurately, specializing in everything – and they can be found everywhere on the sales floor, rather than chained to a desk or booth.

Universal bankers take staff roles out of their silos to function across multiple tasks: basic transactions, new accounts, loan applications, and general customer service, to name a few. The degree of universal function will likely vary from bank to bank, but cross-training is the common theme.

How does a universal banker make a difference to customers?

No one likes being given the run-around, whether it’s for a simple transaction or a more complex situation. Handing off a customer from one specialized-but-limited employee to another is not only frustrating for the customer, but has implications for productivity and resource utilization behind the desk.

Universal bankers can handle a customer request from start to finish. Certain sensitive or complex tasks, like mortgages and business loans, may eventually require involving someone higher up the chain, but the average customer can expect a universal banker to take them all the way through the interaction.

In a way, you might consider the universal banker as an accessible middle ground between the convenience and flexibility of automation and the nuance and additional context of personal customer service.

What are some of the challenges of introducing the universal banker?

The universal banker may be agile and adaptable, but that doesn’t mean this model will be appropriate to every institution and every branch.

Implementing universal bankers is not a silver bullet to increase branch traffic, but rather serves to better meet the needs of those customers already coming through those doors. Banks considering this model will need to closely examine just how appropriate it is for each branch.

The other major hurdle is getting employee buy-in. The daily routine at the branch may not be so routine anymore. Training programs and resources will need to be updated, most likely on an ongoing basis, to accommodate this role and its demands. Some long-standing employees may feel threatened by this new breed of coworker.

This isn’t just another position at the bank; it’s a paradigm shift within both customer experience and employee qualifications. The implications for the internal culture cannot be downplayed or dismissed.

What will be the impact of universal bankers?

As banks begin experimenting with universal bankers, ongoing measurement of their internal and external impact will be critical.

That’s why this new trend in retail banking interests us at CSP – we’re passionate about improving the customer experience, and the first step to that improvement is measurement. Voice of the Customer programs like ours can be customized and optimized to capture insights into the effectiveness of universal bankers.

For more information on our VoC and Customer Intelligence solutions, explore our website or contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter@csprofiles – for regular updates and insights on customer experience management.

How Voice of the Customer Insights Can Improve Employee Training

December 22, 2014

The frontlines of customer service and sales are where the most direct and personal customer experiences happen. It’s also an area where customers tend to be more vocal about their satisfaction, or lack thereof. A good experience can make someone’s day, and a bad one can ruin it – and humans are just predisposed to complain more than compliment.

Positive and negative customer experiences also influence retention and attrition; a good experience can keep a customer coming back for years, but one bad interaction and they might write you off forever.

And in the days of social media, one customer’s bad experience can easily spread to others and affect public perception of your brand.

Training ClassroomWith all of this at stake, no business can afford to deprioritize employee training and coaching. Training builds bridges between customers and customer-facing employees.

Creating, maintaining, and delivering an effective training program is no simple feat, but your customers will thank you for the effort.

One size never fits all.

As convenient as it would be, a one-size-fits-all approach to training is likely to miss the mark in more ways than one.

Every customer base is different, as is every workforce. Employee training initiatives must take into account not only the unique customers’ expectations, but the internal culture of the company. The better aligned these two conditions are, the better experience customers are likely to get, and the more productive employees can be.

Education is always evolving.

Customer expectations change with time, influenced not only by their relationship with your business, but trends and innovations in the marketplace as a whole. What was satisfactory last year may be insufficient today.

Static, standardized training is not sustainable. Regular evaluations of your materials, curriculum, and methods will keep your program responsive and current.

Mind the gaps.

So how do you optimize your employee training? Listen to the voice of the customer. VOC research and insights highlight gaps in employee performance and customer sentiment. This creates the opportunity to customize your training initiatives to focus on the attributes picked up within the research.

Knowledge is power – as long as you act on it. Measurements alone don’t do anything for anyone. At the end of the day, a customized, optimized, VOC-informed training program creates the opportunities for conversations that lead to loyalty and sales.

 

Customized training solutions based on VOC insights are part of the package of services CSP provides our clients. To find out more, visit our Coaching & Training page, or contact us directly with your questions.