The Changing Business Landscape
Today, there are far more communication channels and opportunities for customer interaction than there were just a decade ago. Buyers in the digital age are savvy and hyper aware of their options, taking the time to conduct research and ask important questions before making a purchase.
According to Treasure Data, 61% of companies have three or more pre-purchase customer
touchpoints, and 32% report six or more touchpoints. That’s six opportunities to leave a lasting impression. Each of these interactions, whether via phone call, text, email, social media, chat, or another channel, provides an opportunity to transform buyers into lifelong
supporters of the brands who make them feel like they are heard, understood, and valued. The alternative is costly; each year, $86 billion is left on the table by companies that fail to provide great customer experiences.
One thing is crystal clear:
Creating a memorable customer experience is table stakes. If brands can deliver across all departments (customer service, sales, marketing, IT, PR, product support, management), and all touchpoints, customers are more likely to complete the intended journey of:
How can you make sure that everyone within your organization speaks with one voice and acts with the same CX-centered approach?
Attract, hire and hold on to high-value talent.
Attract and Recruit: The Human Side of a Tech-Driven World
“The secret to my success is that we have gone to great lengths to hire the best people in the world.”
–Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder
According to CultureIQ, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a distinct workplace culture is vital to a business’s success. That culture is also what syncs up your workforce and attracts like-minded candidates. In addition to improving CX, a ‘humans-first’ culture puts employees at the center of a common goal.
Customer service has the starring role, but the fact is that every department, every team member, has the potential to impact a customer’s experience with your brand. With the right technology, tools, and skillsets, they can. A few examples of departments outside of customer service that have a direct impact on the experience your customers have with your brand:
Whether it’s a marketing specialist crafting attention-grabbing messages with a social media management tool, a salesperson monitoring their territory using customer management software, or a product support engineer prioritizing issues in a support ticket system, leading-edge technology empowers each
of these teams to work productively and efficiently. But beyond hard skills, transformative CX requires the soft skills to do the things technology cannot: connect with other people, engage in out-of-the-box thinking, and quickly adapt to new priorities or problems.
According to a LinkedIn analysis, 92% of hiring managers believe that soft skills are more important than technical skills, and 89% believe that bad hires typically lack soft skills. Look for these key soft skills during your recruitment process:
- It’s crucial that employees aren’t easily flustered and can take a step back to reset and tackle a problem from a different angle.
- Time Management. Spending time talking to and getting to know customers shows that you care, but there is a limit. Know how to get customers what they want in an efficient manner.
- The best employees don’t need to be told what to do every step of the way. They can complete a task and overcome obstacles with minimal direction.
- Oftentimes potential customers initiate contact out of curiosity. Compelling employees are able to convince them why they need your product to better their lives.
- The ability to put oneself in another’s shoes and think from their perspective is paramount. Empathetic employees interact more smoothly with both coworkers and customers.
Keep in mind that a candidate with an impressive amount of experience and strong hard skills can become a customer service all-star with the proper soft skills training. The reverse is also true: those with highly-evolved soft skills may have the capacity to pick up technology and tools quickly and easily.
When you find someone that shows high potential to fit in with your company and excel at their position, act fast: research shows that the best candidates are off the market within 10 days. Once you’ve infused top-tier, CX-focused talent into your company, how do you hold onto them?
High turnover rate is a significant issue across all industries: a study by Work Institute found that it costs employers 33% of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement if that worker leaves. What’s more, 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable. One of the top three most-cited reasons for departure? Lack of career development.
Retaining valuable employees long-term requires a collaborative, humans-first workplace culture where each team member feels a strong sense of purpose. In fact, 86% of professionals said that they would change jobs if they were offered more opportunities for professional development. And 80% of college graduates consider a sense of purpose either very important or extremely important to their work. Bottom line, the more employees feel like they are growing with your company, the less likely they are to leave. Here are five ways you can increase employee retention:
There’s a positive correlation between professional development and both employee retention and profitability.
According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, a whopping 93% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested
in their careers. Furthermore, businesses that spend at least $1,500 per employee on yearly training activities earn 24% more profit than those with lower training budgets.
The truth is that professional development can no longer be seen as optional or as a perk reserved for certain positions. Investing in advanced training for all employees increases their performance, satisfaction, and engagement
in your organization. A truly CX-focused company requires buy-in from top to bottom, and a professional development program ensures that every employee is equipped with the skills necessary to positively impact the customer experience.
Professional development has evolved along with technology over the past decade. While some companies use in-person training or a self-hosted learning management system, the most efficient method is to implement an educational platform hosted and maintained by a third party. Advantages of using a hosted platform include:
- Fast Set-Up. With no complicated installation process, employees can begin viewing material and courses as soon as the system is activated.
- They can be modified to accommodate a different pool of learners or add/remove certain skill modules at a moment’s notice.
- A distributed workforce can remotely access the same modules and receive feedback from a manager halfway across the globe.
- Easily Managed. Important metrics regarding employee progress and performance can be viewed at a glance, and their learning path customized and adjusted on the fly.
- Predictable Cost. With hosted platforms you pay a fixed subscription rate, which means no surprise maintenance
Educational platform hosted & maintained by a third party
Providing employees with training refines their communication skills and improves their interactions both internally (with coworkers and managers) and externally (with clients and customers), both vital to your brand’s ability to deliver an extraordinary customer experience.
“Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield.”
–Marcus Buckingham, Author and Business Consultant
What Is Next?
In a time when consumers can use phone, text, email, social media, live chat, and other emerging channels to get in touch with your brand in an instant, the stakes for providing outstanding customer experience (CX) have never been higher. One negative interaction or bumbled communication can turn someone off your company for life, so ensuring that you are staffed with employees who can handle even the most frustrated customers and leave them satisfied is essential. It starts with syncing up a workforce of like-minded individuals who understand the importance of personal connection and collaboration, both with customers and with coworkers.
Customer service isn’t the only face of the company anymore, which means every department and every position plays a unique role in fostering a humans-first, CX-driven environment. That means taking both technical and interpersonal skills into account when hiring, and then further developing those skills once people are on board. It’s a win-win situation: employees are better at their jobs, and they acquire skills they can use in other aspects of their lives.
Interested in learning more about how employee training can help you attract and retain top talent to grow your company?
Download the White Paper Here