(Not so) Secret Ingredients for a Great Service Culture
The whole ITSM community has been disrupted and we have to be thankful that our industry is better equipped than most to embrace working remotely. But at no time in my professional career has clarity in communication been more important to ensure that we are all able to continue to achieve our personal and organisational goals.
Human collaboration and how we leverage the tools at our disposal has a huge impact on the customer experience. There’s little doubt that we’ve entered the age of the customer, and I’d like to highlight some areas in which you can capitalise on the evolution of the customer experience – starting with augmenting your colleagues’ engagement with your organisation’s working culture.
Hand-in-hand: Employee experience and customer satisfaction
Forrester research has shown that companies with engaged employees have an 81% higher customer satisfaction rate, a stat we ignore at our peril. So how do we uncover and encourage a positive working culture? First we must learn what different facets motivate our employees, and then create a through-line between our hiring policy all the way to career-long learning.
There’s no better place to start looking than the lessons we’ve learnt through lockdown. The desires to work remotely, adhere to flexible hours and lose the commute are not likely to be given up lightly – and nor should they. If it’s proven that we can be as successful working remotely, why not embrace it?
At the recent SEE2020 event, Nancy Rademaker identified the way in which digital technology advances have driven success in 2020 by highlighting the co-dependency of Employee and Customer Experience. Your brand will only flourish if your colleagues feel like the culture has the 4 E’s – it’s Engaging, Energising, Empowering, and Enabling. The digital transformation will see the most successful companies leverage data about their team members and utilise new technologies to augment the way they work for the benefit of the working culture.
The roadmap to culture change success
Ensuring that you make incremental small changes while adapting your working culture will be the likely roadmap to success. At TOPdesk we approach the development of our working culture on a granular level, accepting that it is not always perfect, and that working towards continual improvement is a steady position to adopt.
Whatever adaptations you make in terms of working culture, ensure that your people managers are on board. There is no quicker way to undermine an initiative than when they’re not. Traditional hierarchy is not workable in this new world, and if you rely on micro-managers it’s time to evolve. If you can anchor your team members in a culture that recognises them as individuals and provides them with the tools they need, then that’s a great start. If there’s continued acknowledgement of how their efforts directly contribute to the company goals, and you have leaders who serve and remove obstacles for their staff, then you’re definitely on the right track.
Recruitment and customer satisfaction, an invisible but crucial link
While AI is often identified as being a key component of future success, there are certain parts of the customer experience that only a human can provide. This includes ensuring your hiring policy is fit-for-purpose – for example, that new colleagues reflect the diverse spectrum of background and experience that you see in your customer base. Some methods to futureproof your recruitment plans will focus on a recruitment team that identify and own their unconscious bias and by doing so, bring onboard the strongest team at their disposal. Job specifications should be rigorously vetted for terminology or emphasis that appeals to one group in society over another. And any profiling that you do needs to proactively adopt a code of inclusivity.
This is a fascinating subject and there are countless additional examples on how to best appeal to individuals in line with the 9 protected characteristics. If you underpin this plan with the knowledge that not all intelligent and talented individuals will fit with your company culture, then you have already made great progress. In this new age, it’s more possible for employees to feel disconnected: perhaps a small measure, such as developing an accessible user manual where colleagues can describe how they would prefer to digitally interact, can help alleviate misunderstandings.
In an ever-digitalised world, customers value human interaction
It is well acknowledged that over the next ten years, every organisation will contest for new business on the foundation of their customer experience. People don’t forget how an organisation makes them feel, and harnessing a positive emotional connection will set you on the path to customer delight.
Expectations have evolved and companies such as Amazon have set the bar in terms of ease of engagement. You certainly notice when you enter a clothing store and the engagement from staff resembles that of a restaurant setting: everyone welcomes you, they want to help you in any way they can. Steven van Belleghem has noted the initiative of Walmart delivery personnel, who can enter your home while you are away and fill your fridge with groceries. This perhaps represents a trust in a brand that we had not previously thought possible.
A great customer experience leads to an increase in client satisfaction, lower costs in serving the client, and an increase to employee happiness. We also love to share our experiences: you might have left a review on TripAdvisor, for example. In the business world, the review a colleague gives a company on Glassdoor, or a customer gives a supplier on Gartner, for example, are key indicators as to whether a company will be a worthwhile strategic partner.
Culture affects employee experience which affects customer satisfaction
It’s probably not surprising that a great employee experience leads to better work performance and lower employee churn. How often do we link those factors to an improved customer experience? It’s not only about the facts and statistics, but how a company makes us feel. Aristotle wrote that “pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work”; slightly more recent analytical studies frequently rediscover this maxim for the modern business community.
Culture can’t be a policy or procedure: it’s something that evolves. We must listen, become attentive to our customer interactions, be open and caring with our internal relationships, be ready to learn and grow, and lead through example.
About David Cape-Brown
David is Head of Recruitment and Branch Manager at TOPdesk UK. He was due to speak at SITS20, the fourteenth straight year that David would have attended the event. This piece was written to capture the essence of what he was due to present at the show. One of David’s passions is company culture and how this affects employee experience. He believes that by employing intelligent, determined people, and empowering them to do what they do best (and what they enjoy the most) as much as possible, you can’t go far wrong. He encourages anybody who wants to discuss this further to reach out via LinkedIn.