A strong brand impacts the customer experience across every customer touchpoint – from your frontline customer service team to the tools and resources available on your website, from your advertising to your recruitment process, your service request response times to the professionalism of your technical support team. A strong brand is brought to life from the inside out. A distinctive brand positioning and compelling value proposition can only deliver meaning to your customers if they are understood and lived by all your employees, every day.
Traditionally we think of customer experience – or, to use the coined acronym CX – as being a B2C challenge, but CX is equally important for professional services firms.
An employee value proposition is a critical tool that can be used to ensure your brand creates a memorable experience for your customers. In this article, we will explore how employees contribute to a strong customer experience and the role the employee value proposition plays in this exchange.
As technology has evolved and improved, customer expectations have also evolved. Your customers now require a level of service that reflects the speed and ease of their smartphones and tablets – which is why a service exchange that creates delay and friction can impact satisfaction levels.
Red tape and multiple levels of manager sign off can contribute to the friction experienced by customers. Nowhere has this concern caused more friction than in the telecommunications industry, where frustrated customers frequently take to social media platforms to express their anger.
That said, when employees are trained in your organisations brand and empowered to deliver against that brand, social media can also be a platform for customer service representatives to live the brand values in a very public forum. One telco that has empowered their staff to make powerful brand decisions is Optus. An example of this is a customer service representative, “Dan”. Dan’s Twitter response defending a recent decision by Optus to use multiple languages in their stores to cater to their broad customer base went viral, with many hailing him as a hero and a credit to his company.
Dan knew that to embody the Optus value of ‘building bonds’ he had to demonstrate his businesses’ commitment to connecting people, of all races and backgrounds, through strong communication.
By providing staff with a clear set of brand values, you educate them on the business’ expectations, minimise the risks of wrong-doing and allow them to create experiences that will delight your valued clients.
Insufficient resourcing, a silo mentality and disengaged staff can severely impact your customer experience and an employee value proposition that resonates with current and prospective staff can ease this challenge significantly.
Research demonstrates that ensuring your employee goals and values align with the overall direction of your business creates a more productive environment and increases employee satisfaction, which is why a clear EVP is an asset from the recruitment phase through the entire employee lifecycle.
When a business is clear on the values and behaviours its staff need to exhibit in order to surpass customer expectations, the hiring process becomes clearer and more effective. Recruiters and HR teams know the qualities they need to look for in a recruit and, as a result, the business is resourced with the best in class employees for their particular brand and customer set.
This, in turn, ensures the business is better able to retain its employees, delivering continuity in the relationships your clients experience with your business.
In a B2B environment, the close relationships that clients build with particular people within an organisation can be a big motivator for why they keep their business with one firm over another.
In the event that an employee chooses to move on from their role, a strong values system embedded in your team ensures that customers receive the same standard of service from their new contact. This further mitigates the risk of a client moving to a competing firm as a result of their loyalty to a perceived ‘star performer,’ because the service levels they have come to expect are upheld by every contact at the firm.
It’s not just professional service firms that face the challenge of inconsistency in staff engagement and behaviours. In the transport industry, continuity of service is a particularly pertinent business challenge.
As state based operators expand nationally, or as a number of smaller providers merge, frontline employees such as bus and train drivers can find themselves working under a new corporate umbrella more than once in their careers. As a result of multiple ownerships changes, drivers are often more loyal to their routes and passengers than the corporate body. This results in a higher level of disengagement than we traditionally find in other service industries. This means it can be a challenge to establish a consistent level of service for customers across all routes under the new business’s control.
In this industry an engaging EVP and a series of employee activation workshops can serve to alleviate this customer experience pain point. By educating front line staff on what is expected of them and providing them with the ongoing support and tools to deliver on this to their passengers, employees feel they are valued as an important asset to the brand. They then, in turn, deliver the business values in a way that shows up for their passengers, creating a consistent set of behaviours across the full suite of transport routes.
In the crowded B2B market place, customers will only establish long term relationships with providers that continue to deliver on their brand promise through every touchpoint. Your workforce holds the key to delivering memorable customer experiences, and a strong employee value proposition will ensure your employees have the tools they need to delight your clients. For more information on the important role an EVP can play in your organisation read through more of our EVP blogs here. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you with your employee engagement don’t hesitate to get in touch.