Filed under: Digital employee experience
Patrick has been working in the bank’s call centre for 2 months, and has completed his initial training, as well as the ‘buddying’ sessions with his team leader. He picks up a call, his 43rd for the day.
“Hello, how can I help? You’d like to transfer some money between your accounts? Not a problem, I can do that for you.”
And then onto the next call. “You’ve opened up one of the brand-new ‘extra saver’ accounts? You’re wondering where your free tablet is? This is part of some recent promotion? Ok. Let me get your details and I’ll get back to you.” (Patrick has neither heard of the campaign, or has any idea how to track these apparently free tablets.)
Onwards. “You’ve moved between states, and you’d like to adjust your insurance coverage? Let me put you on hold for a second.” (He turns to the nearest most senior person, and asks for help, who in turn learnt the process word-of-mouth from another peer.)
And so it goes. These are real stories from our work with clients; they also show why ringing a bank can be so confusing and frustrating.
These are some of the clearest examples of why you can’t deliver great customer experience (CX) without a great digital employee experience (DEX).
With customer experience and customer satisfaction among the highest priorities for most businesses, this makes DEX a critical focus.
DEX → CX
Digital employee experience is a relatively new concept, and it encompasses the full range of digital experiences of the workforce, from the day they join, to when they eventually leave. DEX brings together a single perspective covering communication, collaboration, knowledge, processes and business systems.
While it goes without saying that any senior leader would like their staff to have a productive and enjoyable DEX, it’s the alignment with customer experience that is one of the strongest drivers for change. Most large businesses already have some customer-facing team called a CX team, digital transformation team, or just digital team. These groups have been working for some time to understand the journeys that staff go on, and how services can be designed to better meet needs.
What service design — and other similar methodologies — uncovered early on is that there is constant interaction between outside the business (customers), and inside the business (systems, processes and staff). A better customer experience can only be delivered if the internal aspects of the journey are addressed and improved.
In practice, there are three areas where the benefits of improving DEX can be felt most quickly:
- supporting frontline staff
- improving processes and productivity
- fostering staff engagement
Let’s explore each of these.
Supporting frontline staff
We have written extensively about frontline staff over the years, such as Knowledge management for front-line staff and What intranets can do for … engineers. Above everything else, they highlight that it’s hard working in frontline environments, whether you’re a nurse, insurance assessor, or call centre operator. These roles are the ‘face’ of businesses, but they are often not given the support they need.
Concrete steps to improve DEX for frontline staff could involve, for example:
- Providing better mobile devices with greatly improved access to corporate tools and systems, allowing them to be more productive.
- Establishing collaboration and social tools to create a peer-support network.
- Improving the knowledge resources provided to frontline staff, to improve speed and accuracy of customer services.
- Enhancing internal communication to frontline staff, covering operational and product changes, to ensure that they are fully informed at any given point.
- Redesigning and redeveloping line-of-business systems, improving UX and streamlining common tasks.
Improving processes and productivity
Firms of any significant age have accumulated many clunky and legacy processes and systems. It could be the paper-and-fax process to swap shifts, the PDF forms for HR that need to completed with a ‘wet signature’, byzantine processes for connecting to business tools from home, or the travel approval process that takes months and 12 steps to complete.
More than just fixing these problems, new technologies — particularly cloud-based ones — provide opportunities to work in greatly improved ways. This might be simultaneous editing of documents in Office 365, managing team coordination using Workplace by Facebook, or having a set of fully digital HR processes using Workday.
Other opportunities include:
- Improving the usability (user experience) of staff-facing tools, thereby reducing mistakes and frustration.
- Conducting a steady process to ‘digitalise’ common forms and processes, slashing the end-to-end time taken.
- Conducting the change management and adoption activities to make the most of new digital tools.
- Establishing corporate ‘design patterns’ to ensure that new staff-facing tools work in similar ways.
- Rethinking and reworking entire systems to take a big leap forward as a business.
Fostering staff engagement
It’s long been understood that happy staff provide better customer service, are more productive and stay longer. These benefits have been made tangible by multiple industry studies and surveys.
This is the ‘softer’ side of digital employee experience, and it often sits in the domain of HR or internal communications (see Why comms should care about DEX).
Practical opportunities include:
- Improving onboarding processes and the overall experience, to improve ‘time to productivity’ and maintain early staff enthusiasm (see Start by improving your onboarding DEX).
- Improving the corporate intranet, across the aspects of content, communication, collaboration and culture.
- Provide staff with better digital access to employment benefits and entitlements.
- Deliver HR capabilities to mobile devices, providing staff with anywhere access to employment-related tasks.
- Improve senior leader communication via digital channels, to ensure that all staff feel engaged and informed regardless of where they are located in the business.
A simple message, but a powerful outcome
The concept of customer experience and the power of design have long captured the interest of senior leaders. Rightly so.
While digital employee experience is also finding fertile ground, it’s the connection of DEX → CX which powerfully joins the dots. In a single ‘equation’ it shows the critical importance of ensuring that staff are well supported and productive.
Start new conversations on these terms, and make the equation the foundation of new business cases to senior leaders. Shout from the rooftops that great employee experience generates great customer experience!
Reach out if we can help spread the word in your forum, such as by sharing real-world examples of what leading firms are already doing.