By Scott Yates, General Manager, HGS
We’ve all heard by now about the customer service revolution. In my nearly 15 years on the front lines of CX delivery, I've seen the dramatic change in customer expectations firsthand. As HGS General Manager, I’m leading the care delivery that is measured only by whether we exceed those expectations. And I can't emphasize enough the power of engaged, inspired employees providing the service. In fact, a 5% increase in employee engagement has been shown to lead to a 3% jump in revenue. Companies with happy employees also see 81% higher customer satisfaction.
I keep in mind one study in particular, related to how movie genres create impact in work attitudes. With this experiment, one group of 50 people watched a horror movie, and another 50 tuned into a comedy. When assigned to assembling puzzles immediately following the movie watching, the difference was clear. Those people who watched the comedy were more adept at problem-solving and more relaxed and creative. Research also shows how music works to create synergies in the brain to improve performance. For example, students taught with the Kodaly method—a way of developing musical skills and teaching musical concepts—outperform their peers in reading and math skills later in life. Every day we work toward that symphony of creative thinking—keeping our team members connected to both customers and outcomes, so that they are solving problems in an empathetic way. To this point, I’ve found three essential ways to bring out the best in our team members so they deliver brilliant outcomes for our clients and their customers:
- Scheduling a positive start to the day—The principle of making your bed in the morning starts the day right and that seems to hold true. One small win leads to a conditioning to keep performing throughout the day. By that same token, I recommend that our team leads coach employees to start the day with “a-ha moments” of inspiration. Instead of turning on the computer, our teams spend the first 30 minutes of the day walking around and talking to team members. Team members share stories about excellent performance from the previous day or their weekend plans before they start their work days. What results are compassionate, genuine relationships and support among team members. This really helps to set the right tone. Client and customer ROI: Per one multinational retail client, this team bonding drives an HGS outcomes focus of “speed, flexibility, urgency.”
- Positive-feedback-only days—To me, this is the “compliment sandwich” of yesterday, but I eliminate the negative feedback, even if it’s constructive. Every month, I schedule a day when team leads dedicate an entire day to mentoring employees. That means coaching in a positive way the entire day. Team leads do not instruct on anything agents did wrong; instead, they give positive feedback. “I really liked how you opened that call,” or “Your empathetic tone was really important there.” This works because people truly want validation, and it’s easy to deliver that. What results is a positive, warm, and supportive environment. It relaxes the minds of team members, and serves as a foundation for growth. After all, there is a place for behavioral coaching, but those moments are much easier when a relationship of trust has been built between a leader and a valued employee. Energy is contagious, and you can bring out the best in team members with this tactic. The client and customer ROI here, according to one specialty retailer, is “excellent communication and follow-through, a proactive recommendations approach that improves the consumer experience and operations of the team.”
- Democratic rule—I truly believe in a flat organization, where everyone participates in decision making. With empowered, trusted employees, you have more positive outcomes. Team members feel a bigger part of the organization. The democratic model is less likely to oppress creativity and good ideas. With a foothold outside their job scope, team members can climb to more responsibility. You don’t want a team of “yes people” or lemmings. You want team members who are not afraid to challenge. I find this type of environment drives better employee retention. A CPG leader and HGS client summarizes our resulting team alignment of practices like these as “strong operational dedication and flexibility to meet service levels and budget requirements.”
UItimately, don't underestimate how good employee engagement practices can add up to outcomes. With these areas of focus, a team can work in harmony to drive real CX outcomes that make a difference for brands.