Your Employees Know Great CX. Just Ask Them!
By Lee Frothingham, Managing Director, Wheelhouse Group
Before I joined Wheelhouse Group, I was the Chief Employee Retention Officer for a Fortune 100 health insurance company. My job was to find ways to keep 5,000+ call center employees engaged and fulfilled so that they wouldn’t leave the organization… because the cost of replacing them was about 20% of their annual salary.
What I learned is that employees often quit their job because their great ideas aren’t heard. Year after year, employee survey results showed that our team members didn’t see their feedback or ideas in action. This was especially true in the service we delivered to our customers. So, in employee focus groups across the country, I committed to becoming a content-oriented listener, or someone who hears all the information being presented before forming any sort of judgment. I also asked for big ideas, like “If you had a magic wand, how would you improve the service we deliver to our customers?”
All too often, lip service is paid to employee focus groups or “listening meetings.” Leaders often perceive them to be complaint sessions – an hour with staff to let them vent. Instead, they should realize that an employee, who interacts every day with customers, has a deep understanding of the daily, holistic customer experience. And that puts them in a unique position to recognize trending issues and suggest improvements.
For example, in one meeting, an employee suggested that our nationwide Latino/a customers would be better served by agents who could communicate in their native language. Knowing that much of the team in our South Florida call center were Spanish speaking, we dedicated a phone line to that demographic. This was easily implemented, at no cost to the company, and resulted in a boost in customer satisfaction. Another time it was raised that customers were confused about their health insurance options during the annual open enrollment period. At our employees’ urging, we routed specific questions to a small group of trained agents. Later we provided the tools for employees to enroll customers for their benefits, then introduced an online option for self-enrollment – all because of employee suggestions.
Once ideas are moved to action, share with employees the impact – how their feedback was used to identify CX issues, what was done about it, and how it improved customer’s lives. This shows them that their opinions count, makes them feel more empowered, and spurs them to wave that wand again.
Your employees know, instinctively and directly, what needs to change to deliver a more ideal customer experience. Are you listening to them? Are you taking their ideas seriously? If the answer is no (or you’re not sure), don’t expect a happy employee – or a happy customer.