As a retail business, your customer experience is probably the single most important thing to you and if it’s not, then it should be. Your customers can make or break your business, so delivering the best possible experience should always be a priority. Many businesses pay thousands and even millions every year for benchmarking reports, consumer research and gathering feedback from their customers to figure out what this experience should be. They focus on things like speed and added value, to deliver the experience they believe their customers want, yet often fail to figure out how to deliver this experience. The fact is, that delivering a great customer experience can only be done by delivering a great employee experience. Let us look more into depth on how good employee experience drives great customer experience.
On the battlefield of business, your employees are the ones on the front line. The businesses spend so much time and money to figure out how to deliver an amazing customer experience, but they fail to realise that employees are the people who are actually delivering it. This means that the employees essentially determine the success of your customer experience strategy.
After all, employees are the first and last point of contact for your customers. Even store managers are much less likely to have direct interaction with the customers. Often the first and only face they see is the retail assistant, and it’s this face that they associate with your business as a whole. If your employees are unclear about your business values, unaware of certain policies or untrained on products and services, then they will fail to deliver a great customer experience. Also, the customer will walk away thinking the same applies to everyone in your company.
Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it. Research has shown that companies who excel at customer experience have 60% more engaged employees on an average. The same research also found out that when HR is involved in the customer experience, the organisation is 50% more likely to be a customer experience (CX) leader. Employees that are engaged are more likely to have a good idea of your company values and therefore emulate these values in the customer experience they deliver.
Now you know your employees are essential to your customer experience, you can start focusing on the right areas for a truly successful CX strategy. You can do this in two main parts, laying the foundation and then implementing the right initiatives.
The key to successful customer experience is to make sure your employees are delivering, or in line with, your customer experience strategy. The first step is to align your HR initiatives with your CX strategy. This will lay the foundation for a customer experience focused culture from the top down. Set a strong mission, vision, and values that reflect your idea of great customer experience.
Think about how you measure the success of your customer experience including the metrics and KPIs that matter most to you. Great customer experience will be different for every business depending on the industry they’re in or the consumer base they’re targeting. The above strategy will help you in guiding the behaviours and actions you want to influence in your employees, and accordingly, measure the KPIs and metrics you want for your workforce. For example, if a speedy service is important to your customers and you want to measure it as part of your customer experience, then you should think about the actions and metrics you can measure in your workforce that affect the speed of your service.
With your strategies aligned, you can begin with the implementation of the right HR initiatives to help your workforce deliver great customer experience. Think about how you can help employees achieve the KPIs and metrics that are vital to your customer experience as well as how your HR team can meet these requirements. It usually helps to consider the entire employee journey.
Remember that recruitment is a two-way street, it is not just about finding the right fit but it is also about winning the best talent. Utilising an HRMS that can help you source talent from an even wider talent pool could increase the chances of finding the types of employees that already have some of the core values that support your company missions and, ultimately, customer experience. Don’t forget to look at your data to help refine your recruitment strategy. Which sources result in the most successful candidates? Are their niche job boards which seem to attract the right kind of employee for your company?
Employee engagement starts from day one. It can be tempting to leave employees to ‘settle in’ and end up leaving them adrift in the process. Onboarding is a great opportunity to integrate new hires into the work community and make sure they understand the core values and beliefs of the company. An online portal where employees can get instant access to important documents and company policy is a good way to do this. It can also provide a platform for communication with relevant colleagues who can help them get up-to-date on expected behaviours straight away. This can all help to create a strong culture focused on the customer experience.
Consider which skills and training you think your employees need to deliver the customer experience you want. An LMS (Learning Management System) can help you easily design courses to teach these new skills to employees where they are easily accessible and managers can track progress. Consider both long term skills to develop leaders that are focused on customer experience as well as more regular instant courses on new products or services. These will help your employees to always stay up-to-date and equipped to provide the right information to customers.
Superior performance tracking is essential so you can set company-wide goals at the employee, team, department and business level. It prioritises customer experience and then helps you to accurately track, if and when these goals are met. You could easily identify the employees that are delivering the best customer experience as well as those that might be missing the mark so you can step in with the right training. Just how ongoing feedback from customers is vital for good customer experience, regular employee feedback is important for nurturing a good employee experience.
Recognise and reward the employees that best model your values and consistently meet customer experience benchmarks. HRMS can help you budget and outline a benefits package that prioritises customer experience, while real-time tracking can ensure that managers recognise the behaviour you want to encourage as and when it happens. This is great for retail settings where you can reward the best employees when they deliver great customer experience in the store quickly.
Ready to start delivering great customer experience by focusing on your employee experience? SuccessFactors can help you optimise the employee journey from start to finish and prioritise customer experience in all the right places to give you a competitive edge in an increasingly challenging retail sector. Find out more here or book your free demo with us today.