According to a recent survey from a sample of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers regarding the benefits and challenges employees face in the workplace, over 54% said they were highly satisfied and engaged in their career (WITI and 451 Research, 2017)! Although this number is higher than the average (about 30% engagement), that still leaves another 46% of STEM employees who are not highly satisfied in their careers, which means that organizations are missing out on opportunities for their employees to excel in their roles.
The Importance of Development for Employee Satisfaction
Another interesting statistic arose in the survey that nearly 70% of respondents said ‘opportunity’ was an important factor in their professional advancement. This reinforced the idea that employees don’t want to stay stationary in their roles, they want skills and opportunity that make them more marketable to grow their careers and personal/professional development. Respondents even reported that when given these opportunities, it impacted their success significantly. This clearly shows that when employers invest in their employees’ development and give them opportunities to grow, their success will improve, which typically means more productivity, innovation and profit for the organization. Read more about why we believe There is Not a Lack of Motivation in the Workplace, There is a Lack of Development.
When your employees are successful, your organization is successful!
The Impact of Recognition on Career Fulfillment
Respondents also cited that recognition from management and career advancement were at the top of those opportunities that made an impact on their fulfillment. When your employees are happy and fulfilled, they are more likely to give you their discretionary energy, motivation and engagement to fulfill the goals and values of your organization, and successfully serve both your internal and external customers. And when they are recognized (and rewarded) for their positive behaviours, this has a further positive impact on their success and your business success. Read more about why you should Celebrate Your Employees’ Uniqueness with Personalized Rewards and Recognition.
If You’re Not Learning, You’re Not Growing
Among those challenges and inhibitors reported in the survey, lack of opportunity for promotion was listed as a factor from ALL respondents. About one fifth of respondents cited a lack of job skills as an inhibitor for their careers, which supports the need for on the job training and learning to help improve overall career satisfaction. Read more about Learning, Change and Growth here.
As an employee, what factors do you use to measure your career fulfillment and success? Share in the comments below.
If you are a leader or manager, what do you do to develop and recognize your employees so that they feel fulfilled in your organization?
For more information on implementing a learning and/or recognition program in your organization check out our global, in-language offerings here.
There are about 2 weeks left of intense holiday shopping (including the Black Friday madness that ensues). Your front-line workers are likely feeling a little burnt out from the holiday shoppers and it’s your job as their fearless leader to find ways to motivate and engage them through the coming weeks and beyond!
Although I hope your service experience isn’t chaos, it’s in these busy times where it’s critical to lead by example and show your employees what servant leadership is all about by leading from the front lines. Read more in A Guide to Being a Servant Leader.
Leading from the front lines means that your leaders takes their cues in a bottom-up direction from your front-line talent rather than through the typical hierarchical structure from the top down. Your front-line talent has the most direct experience with your customers so they know what they want, how they want it and what is standing in the way of them delivering it. You can find out more about Leading From the Front Line here.
So here are 3 simple things you can do in the next 2 weeks to motivate your seasonal and full-time employees and allow them to continuously improve and exceed your customers’ expectations during the busiest time of year.
Listen and Communicate. As your direct line of connection to your customers, it is so important for you to provide ample opportunities for your front-line employees to communicate openly and transparently with leadership about what your customers want. As their leaders, you must listen to what they have to say and make a plan of action about how you will put their concerns into action. You should also communicate with your front-line staff about expectations with customers, and try to give them autonomy to make good decisions within the scope of your company culture and values.
Remove Obstacles. When you listen and communicate with your talent (as mentioned above) you will discover the things that stand in their way of being able to provide great service to their customers. Many companies have too many bureaucratic processes and procedures that get in the way of their employees delivering exceptional service to their customers. Because of this, employees often they do not feel enabled to go the extra mile to help a customer; however, this can often mean the difference between losing a customer and creating decades of loyalty. Examine your policies and procedures and assure that they are absolutely necessary to function. Remove those that do not serve your higher company mission. Some of the most successful customer service companies place very little rules on their employees (e.g. Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Netflix, Apple, etc.) with very high success and exceptional performance.
Recognize and Reward. Especially around this time of the year, taking the extra time to recognize and reward your front-line employees for their hard work, will return in their service tenfold. Also, when you recognize those employees who have great performance, it will set expectations for other front-line talent to do the same. During the holidays, and in December specifically, many people have split focus – thinking about everything they must get done, tired and distracted from holiday parties – that is why it is critical to motivate them with incentives, rewards and recognition to continuously keep their eye on the prize – making your customers happy!
To motivate employees to continuous levels of high performance now and year round you should implement an employee recognition program. The most successful recognition programs are customized and personalized so that your employees get the rewards and recognition they want, at every touch point. Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or book 15-minutes in my calendar to chat about how GES can help you with your 2018 recognition goals and initiatives.
The season is upon us for giving thanks and recognizing another year of exceptional work with your employees. While I believe we should show gratitude, thanks and recognize our talent each and every day, this time of year often welcomes extra gratitude from people.
That being said, when you’re recognizing your employees and workforce for their exceptional work, it’s important to remember to focus on personalized recognition for it to be effective. Remember, what motivates people is what motivates people and when it comes to recognition there shouldn’t be a one size fits all solution.
Why You Should Personalize Your Employee Recognition
With a personalized recognition program and strategy, you are more likely to get a return on your investment and those participating in the program will more likely be motivated by the inventive. Many organizations providing recognition programs to their employees aren’t getting a return on their investment, because they lack personalization and choice.
If you want to acknowledge your employees’ uniqueness, it’s important to get to know them personally, and get to know what motivates and drives them. Find out how to they like to be recognized, whether it be monetarily, verbally, from their peers, privately, publicly, etc.
Providing the same recognition and rewards for everyone guarantees your program will be ineffective and disappointing. Read more about why a Personalization Strategy is important for your organization.
Why You Should Recognizing Your Talent
Most people must go to work to earn a paycheck. But gone are the days where people stay in a job just to make a living. Our culture has shifted and people want to be motivated, engaged and inspired by what they do. They figure, they’ve got to work anyways, so why not be great rather than ordinary.
When you provide your employees with personalized recognition and rewards for their exceptional performance achievements, you:
- reinforce positive behavior,
- set expectations for them and their colleagues,
- increase their energy and engagement,
- and motivate them to continuously achieve great things in their work.
Read more about why Employee Recognition is the #1 Driver of Employee Engagement.
What Do Personalized Recognition and Rewards Look Like?
As I mentioned above, you want to get to know your people personally, and find out how they like to be recognized and rewarded. Some employees might be shy and prefer private personal acknowledgement from their direct supervisors, whereas others might enjoy being recognized in front of their peers at a weekly meeting. Some employees might really like to be acknowledged with financial compensation such as a bonus, or total recognition points, while others might prefer more vacation time, flexible work hours or something similar.
A total recognition solution is a great way to implement a formal recognition program into your organization to help continue to drive employee engagement with recognition. A good recognition solution should include many ways to personally recognize your talent including the forms mentioned above.
And remember, every employee is different when it comes to rewards — some may want to use their recognition points to redeem for smaller items right away, while others will save for big-ticket items. By providing your workforce with virtually unlimited reward options with a Total Recognition solution, your talent can redeem for what they want, when they want. For example, Global Engagement Solutions employee recognition programs feature an extensive award collection, monetary and non-monetary awards, peer to peer recognition, and an always changing and evolving catalog of reward options such as music downloads, restaurant, retail and movie gift cards, home and lifestyle products travel, vacation and event options.
To find out more about starting a total recognition program in your organization for 2018 get in touch with me at email@example.com or view my calendar here to book a 15 minute discovery call.
A new article published by the Wall Street Journal suggests that the robot revolution could actually create upwards of 21 million jobs (Furmans, 2017). So, although some paint the future of robot automation as grim for the workforce, this article suggests that although some jobs may become obsolete, new ones will be created to replace them.
If your industry is being or will be effected by technology automation, the major question you should ask to stay at the top of your competitors is, what are we doing to develop our people to compete in the robot economy?
Here are some core ideas you should focus on to stay ahead of your competitors in the robot economy:
Focus on Personalized Service Interactions
You can take away the human, but you can’t take away our desire for human interaction. Yes, perhaps in many situations, customers have a desire for the automated service of an app, kiosk or online shopping. But, this will never take away the need for human quality assurance. We’re not at the point yet where we can just trust that technology has got it right. There are still human checks and balances in place behind robot automation that assure the customer experience is exceptional. This is where you can assure that your customer is happy — by providing them with quality, personalized service interactions. Read more about why a Personalization Strategy is so important for your organization here.
For example, I have noticed lately that almost all of my online shopping orders have come with a packing slip that has been personally checked by a real live human. And often I have received a personal handwritten note of thanks for my order or for being a customer. And you know what, I can say that 100% of those personally checked orders have been correct, and I appreciate that extra step they have taken to assure the quality of my order before it has been sent out.
Another example of a personalized service interaction is the customer experience at Sephora stores. Their front-line employees provide you with a hands-on experience, demonstrating how the makeup and beauty products work, and offering you free samples to take home and try. After all of this you think they would be pushing the in-person sale, but often they actually encourage you to go home and buy it online when you are ready. They provide you with the product information/codes and a coupon for free shipping! These are just a few examples of how you can reframe the way you think about personalized service interactions with your customer in the age of robot automation.
Focus on Innovation
You know the adage ‘think outside the box’, well that has never rung truer than in these times. It is so important for organizations to have innovation at the core of their organizational values. Encouraging innovation means being prepared to deal with failure. It also means encouraging employees to speak openly and freely about their ideas. Perhaps even giving them a platform or projects to do this. Read some of the Best Mission Statements from Innovative Organizations here.
Some stodgier organizations may roll their eyes at the ‘hippy’ cultures at organizations like Facebook, Google, etc. where they have ping pong tables, resting pods, fun staff outings, happy hours, etc. but the fact of the matter is, these types of environments really do foster creativity and thinking differently. And in the last decade these organizations have consistently shown to be at the top of their competitor lists.
The major disruptors of our times have been those organization that have focused their core principles on innovation, adaptation and growth. Take for example, Netflix, and organization that first snail mailed out DVD rentals to their customers. They have now essentially changed the entire television and film landscape and continue to develop and grow their business as media investors, creators and distributors.
Focus on Training and Re-Skilling
As an organization or an individual contributor, it is important now more than ever to focus on the learning and development of your workforce. Your talent want to learn and grow within your organization and they want skills that make them more marketable now AND in the future.
A focus on re-skilling the workforce to compete with the demands of robot automation is critical. Those organizations that invest in re-skilling and training their employees in times of rapidly growing and changing technology will be at the forefront of service.
Leaders should be sure to network inside and outside of their industry to keep up with (and stay ahead of) the trends. This will allow your organization to assess where you need to update your knowledge base, and what areas you should be focusing on when it comes to learning and development of your talent.
Developing a custom eLearning program keep up with the changes and demands of your workforce is an exceptional way to offer training and development to your talent. Just-in-time learning and microlearning, offer your employees a way to continuously grow, while not taking them off the job for lengthy periods of time.
If you’d like to learn more about what a custom eLearning solution could look like for your organization, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or set up a 15 minute discovery call through my calendar here.
Employee engagement expert and author Kevin Sheridan recently reported that the number one key driver of employee engagement is recognition! He also reported that there are hundreds of millions of workers worldwide who feel unappreciated and have not hear a “thank you” from someone in a long time. The thing we have consistently found in our research on employee engagement is that the top organizations in the world recognize their employees at every touch point, every day, not just once a year in their performance review.
Tips for Recognition in Your Workplace
When it comes to engaging all individuals in your organization, you must recognize and reward them in a way that they want to be recognized. That being said, there are a few overarching ways to recognize your talent to create employee engagement.
Non-monetary recognition addresses the emotional needs of individuals. It reinforces behaviors that can change corporate culture permanently, and it is values and principle based.
- a formal certificate of appreciation,
- publicly acknowledging an individual at a team meeting
- a quick and personalized thank-you in person
- a personalized email message.
Monetary rewards address the rational needs of individuals. Rewards can be used to recognize high performers in your organization and motivate others. Most people love to be recognized financially.
Some examples include:
- a performance bonus,
- a raise,
- spot cards,
- spa gift certificates,
- points in their employee engagement portal
Learning and development are two of the other key drivers of engagement. When you invest in your talent by enabling them with new skills and competencies, they are more likely to give you their energy and loyalty. Your talent does not want to stay stationary – they want to grow their skills that make them more marketable NOW and in the future. Providing your leaders, employees and sales reps with learning opportunities shows that you’re committed to their continued growth in the organization and makes them feel valued. Read more about why I believe there is not a Lack of Motivation in the Workplace Today, There is a Lack of Development.
Examples of learning opportunities can include:
- formal eLearning,
- manager training,
- shadowing colleagues in roles above them,
- giving them a challenging project or problem to solve.
Coaching and Feedback.
Managers play a significant role in the day-to-day work experience and engagement of their direct reports. Your talent wants honest and ongoing feedback and communication so that they know your expectations and how they can achieve success. One-on-one coaching shows your talent that you have a vested interest in their development, growth and overall success. When they feel they are enabled to do their job to the best of their abilities and you give them the tools, guidance and direction to do so, the outcome will be immeasurable! Read more about the Senior Leader’s Role in Employee Engagement here.
Your people want to feel recognized and valued. If you want to really make an impact on employee engagement in your organization, focus on creating a world class engagement culture focused on recognizing and rewarding your people for their great work. Your engagement and recognition must be personalized for every individual inside your organization. The above ideas are just a few ways you can start to create engagement inside of your organization.
If you want to chat more about how to implement a personalized total recognition program in your organization, get in touch at email@example.com or book a 15-minute call in my calendar.
I would argue that there is not a lack of motivation in the workplace today, there is a lack of development. Employees consistently tell us that to feel more engaged in the workplace they want skills, training and development that will help them grow and make them more marketable now and in the future.
Some ways that you can develop your employees to increase their employee engagement are outlined below.
Skills and Training.
Give them the opportunity to receive formal training and learning through either an eLearning or on the job training program. This will give them tangible skills and tools they can add to their tool belt that will be able to be more competent with their customers and colleagues.
Give them projects and challenges that provide real life, hands on experience to practice their skills and grow their problem-solving abilities.
Give them a chance to shadow those in roles above them or in different departments so they can learn about different responsibilities in the organization. Provide them with ongoing learning, advanced training and support so that they can grow within the organization, otherwise they will grow someplace else.
Transparency and Coaching.
Provide your talent with clear information about how they can succeed within the organization. Clearly communicate your organizational culture and values. Be transparent about expectations and the direction they are headed so that they feel respected and valued for their contributions.
When you invest in the development of your employees by giving them learning, development, growth opportunities and coaching, they will be more enabled to do their job, and more motivated to create exceptional experiences for their colleagues and customers. This in turn will make your internal service cooperation stronger, and your workforce more efficient and productive – all of which will make your customers happier so that they want to stay longer, buy more and positively refer others.
Additionally, innovative companies who invest in their people through learning and development are viewed more favorably by employees than those organizations that don’t, which means you will have a positive reputation to be able to recruit and retain the top talent in your industry.
The Importance of Personalization in Development
If your organization’s learning and development is going to make a significant impact on employee engagement, employees must see the personal benefits of undertaking developmental activities. In order to harness the positive effects of learning, employees have to see the link between where they are now and where they want to get to, and how learning and development is going to bridge this gap. That is why it is important not to take a one-size-fits-all approach to your employee’s learning and development, but rather work with each individual to create a plan of how and what they want to learn. Read more about the importance of creating a personalized approach to development in this article here.
If you would like to find out more about create a custom eLearning program to train and develop your workforce, view my calendar here or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a 15-minute discovery call.
Every business organization across the globe has one thing in common and that is, that they all serve a customer. Most organizations would prefer to stay in business, so they are looking for ways to make sure their customer service is exceptional.
Why do you want to create exceptional customer service? If you create great experiences for your customers, they are more likely to stay with you longer, buy more of your product /service, and positively refer others to your organization. And that means more business and more profits for your company! Who doesn’t want that?!
Customer Service Starts on the Inside
The best organizations on the planet know that exceptional customer service, starts on the inside of the organization with the way that they engage and develop their employees. If you treat your employees with respect, authenticity and transparency, they are more likely to understand the expectations of the organization and can deliver what leadership is looking for.
Train and Develop Your Employees to Provide Great Customer Service
Next, comes training and developing those employees to be enabled with the proper skills to effectively serve your customer. You should provide your talent with ongoing learning opportunities, coaching and mentoring.
You can do this with a formal learning program (and even incent their learning with a learn and earn rewards program). You could also provide opportunities for your employees to work on challenging projects that have them problem solve and trouble shoot new situations they haven’t worked on before.
Another effective way to develop your employees is to provide one on one coaching with their managers and leaders. This allows for a very personalized plan to continue their growth in the organization. A great way to integrate one on one coaching, is to make it a step or part of your formal learning program. For example, GES’s learning programs have a focus on action planning, where learners create a plan of action as to how they will implement that learning in real life scenarios. Those plans of action are emailed directly to their supervisors, who can then meet with them and play an important role in the follow up and reinforcement of putting those learning principles into action. If you want to learn more, check out Why Action Planning is the Key for Successful Learning.
Recognize and Reward Your Employees for Providing Great Service
Lastly, if you recognize and reward your employees for going above and beyond with their colleagues and customers, they are more likely to continue that behavior. It also reinforces that behavior within the organization and sets expectations for other employees to know what types of behaviors are being rewarded so they are more likely to mirror them.
And who doesn’t like a little healthy competition sometimes? Recognizing exceptional employees can spark a bit of healthy competition in the talent pool, and further motivate others to reflect those behaviours. For example, you could provide weekly/monthly incentives for top performers to be recognized, or you could simply reinforce a culture of peer to peer and manager to employee recognition where all positive behaviors are acknowledged and rewarded.
For more information on positive recognition and reward incentive programs click here.
I hope this blog gave you some helpful tips on how to engage and develop your team so that they can provide better experiences for your customers to make them stay longer, buy more and positively refer others! If you have any questions or want to start a program in your organization to put these principles into action, email me at email@example.com and I’d be happy to have a quick chat with you and your team!
How much will it cost?
The cost of a recognition program will surely range across companies, their offerings and service. Typically, the price will vary depending on how many users of the program. However, one thing to keep in mind when you are evaluating a recognition program is whether the vendor employs Embedded Margin pricing or Software as a Service.
Embedded Margin vs. Software as a Service
From our experience on both sides of these models, typically it is most cost effective as well as most transparent for your employees to go with a Software as a Service vendor. In a software as a service relationship, you will typically pay a subscription fee per user of the program versus marking up the products to pay for the costs of the program.
Benefits of the SaaS Model
In a SaaS model, rewards should be delivered at cost with no mark up. This means your talent not only gets the maximum value, but they also get the maximum selection for what they can redeem, further enhancing engagement for your global recognition efforts. Embedded margin providers don’t do that – they mark up their items. It’s also important to ask about any set up, customization or implementation fees (at GES we do not charge any of these fees).
Other additional costs to consider are what your vendor support and staffing will look like. For example, at GES our SaaS costs include a concierge service team who handle every program detail to ensure hassle-free service for your employees. This includes supporting employees interacting with the system and helping program administrators managing the recognition program.
These are just a few questions and service features to keep in mind when evaluating your recognition service provider.
How will we measure results?
Results of a recognition program can be measured in various ways both qualitatively and quantitatively. Some of the ways you can measure the results of your recognition program include: increased employee engagement levels, productivity, loyalty and ambassadorship to the company, net promoter scores, health and wellness of your employees (including absenteeism and sick days), increased customer experience and customer retention, and last but not least, increased profits!
Your recognition provider should be able to track whatever metrics you want, such as performance, service, sales and behaviours. For example, GES’s recognition portal’s real-time reporting tracks every transaction that occurs in the system and all data can be pulled to determine engagement levels and use.
You may also want to be able to survey your employees internally in the program so you can pull some qualitative data about their experience with the program and their levels of engagement.
Year over year data should be compared to show the overall ROI of the recognition program. You should be able to see positive gains in productivity, efficiency, wellness, etc., that can be translated into a dollar value for your program.
How will it improve our organizational processes, profit, productivity, etc.?
An engaged employee is a more productive employee. An employee recognition program will help increase your internal service cooperation, which translates into better customer service, thus helping improve your top or bottom line. A good recognition program reduces the complexity of your overall employee engagement strategy, by allowing you to drive 6 or 7 programs under one umbrella and one budget (for example, safety, wellness, on the spot recognition, recognition campaigns, service anniversary, etc.).
The Stats to Back it Up
According to a recent report by OfficeVibe, “disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually,” (OfficeVibe, 2017). In their roundup of employee engagement stats, they make a very compelling case for the profitability of engaging your employees:
- Highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.
- Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
- Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.
- Companies with engaged employees, outperform those without by 202%.
- Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged.
Engage All Your Stakeholders
An effective recognition program will engage all stakeholders in your organization including leaders, employees, sales partners, and your customers.
Leaders – It will allow your leaders to build an emotional connection with your employees, increase their own engagement levels (as well as others), attract and retain the best employees for your company, and provide skills that will make your employees more valuable.
Employees – An effective recognition program should put your employees at the centre of the program – allowing them to have a personalized experience where they can choose how they are rewarded (for example, with GES’s program employees can choose the rewards they want from our global online gallery). You want to be able to have comprehensive reporting to track awarded points and redemption rates, which will help you understand what motivates your team so you can continue to encourage and reward those positive behaviours. A good recognition program will also take advantage of non-monetary forms of recognition, such as peer-to-peer nominations, social news feeds and fun gamification elements.
Sales Partners – You can use an effective recognition program to motivate your sales people to achieve their goals, including maximizing cross-selling opportunities and increase lead referrals. You can use a recognition program to create friendly competition with built-in leaderboards, which also give high-performing sales teams’ recognition with their peers. These types of recognition programs help to reinforce positive desired behaviors among your sales staff and encourage higher achievement levels.
Customers – You can even integrate a great employee recognition program with your customer recognition program. A customer recognition program should provide tools to influence, motivate and engage your customers to create sustained loyalty. Like your employee program, a points-based system should allow customers to choose their own rewards. You can also use it as a tool to conduct surveys to gather new information and influence change in your customer’s behaviors and buying habits.
Why should we buy from this vendor?
Selecting the right recognition provider can be overwhelming and tricky. On top of evaluating all the features, capabilities, etc. one thing that is critical to pay attention to is that they do what they say they will do. Trust your gut when you’re connecting with them. Do they follow up on time? Do they provide you with the materials or information you asked for in a timely manner?
It’s also important to be able to get recommendations from their current and/or past customers. They should be able to provide you with several contacts that you can connect with directly to ask about their experience.
Ask organizations if they have any customer case studies or results that you are able to review to see their proven track record.
You can check out some of GES’s customer results we have achieved with our 400,000+ customers, achieving billions in engagement ROI.
What are the capabilities of the program?
You want to find a recognition program that is completely customizable for your business goals and objectives. It should reflect the distinct voice for your brand and unite everyone in your organization when it comes to the company’s culture, mission, vision and values.
When evaluating a recognition provider, some of the program features you might be interested and should ask about include:
- Peer to Peer Recognition
- Manager to Employee Recognition
- Spot Cards
- Social Recognition
- Budget Manager
- Birthday Awards
- Service Anniversary
Depending on the needs of your organization and whether you are a global company, you might also want/need global functionality. Some things to consider include:
Are the rewards culturally relevant?
Can the program be offered in multiple languages? (For example, GES’s global recognition programs are available in 16+ languages including Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and growing!)
Are the rewards sourced and fulfilled in country or will you have to pay shipping, taxes and tariffs on the rewards? Keep in mind this might eat into your recognition budget. (GES’s global rewards are fulfilled in country in 170 countries across the world).
In this age of technology, mobile capability is critical to have for your recognition program. Not only does it allow for leaders and peers to recognize in the moment, but it also assures that the participants have the same user experience no matter where or how they login to the site. Our research has shown that companies who recognize their talent day-to-day and in-the-moment have much higher levels versus those who only recognize at certain milestones or tenure events.
If you’d like any further information on how to evaluate a recognition program, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can request a demo of our solutions here.
In our technologically driven world, we are continuing to see an increase in use of artificial intelligence in the customer service arena. From chatbots, to self-serve checkouts, to online shopping and much more, AI is really taking over when it comes to the service sphere, and it’s only getting stronger and more personalized.
Why Do Customers Want AI Service?
Customers want fast, friendly and hassle-free service. Many customers choose AI service options because it is available more conveniently for them. For instance, the chatbot services online are often available 24/7 and you can get through to a AI service rep immediately versus waiting for sometimes hours on the phone to speak with a human rep.
That brings me to another reason why customers might choose AI service over a human interaction and that is, faster service. AI customer service can often provide speedier answers to customer inquiries and problems.
Why Do Employers Want To Use AI?
Employers are also jumping on the AI bandwagon for several reasons. Having AI service can often prove to be cheaper than paying a human body to be available. The fact that AI service is ‘running in the background’ all the time, regardless of if it’s being use every moment, frees up the time of human agents making them much more efficient and productive.
Organizations are realizing more and more that having an omni-channel experience for their customers is critical. And consistency among those channels is paramount. Your organization might use a combination of AI and human customer service in order to provide an omni channel experience for your customers. For instance, your human front-line workers might represent your company in your brick and mortar stores, whereas your AI reps fulfil online service inquiries.
Is AI Going To Take My Job?
If you could interact with a fast, friendly, hassle-free human OR a robot, which would you choose? If they knew for sure that their customer service experience with the human would be exceptional, most people would probably choose the human.
With human to human interaction there are a lot of nuances and ability to provide personalized service that a robot can’t provide. Of course, as technology is getting smarter, robots can automate to create personalized solutions for customers. However, with robots there are many variables that we can’t control.
From an employer perspective, there is a place and time when AI should be used to increase productivity and efficiency and save costs. But there are so many things that a robot cannot do that a human can provide.
The best solution for employees who find them in a precarious place when it comes to technology taking over their jobs, is to be constantly learning and growing to stay relevant. Read more about how you can stay relevant in the age of AI by Re-Skilling the Workforce to Prepare for Technology.
There’s a generation in the workforce that will soon play a very important role in leading your organization into the future. In fact, Forbes reported that by 2030, Millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce.
There has been a slew of articles lately about millennials ‘killing off’ various industries. This attests to their immense buying power and control in the markets. And, it is another reason why it is very important for you to treat your millennial employees well – because what is being felt on the inside of your organization can be felt on the outside by your customers.
All generations of talent want to feel valued in the workplace. Millennials have reported several things that help to motivate and engage them in the workplace and turn them into loyal employees (and customers).
Here are some of things millennials look for in an organization to keep them motivated and engaged:
Flexibility. This comes at the top of the list for many millennials. Many would even forgo a pay increase or bonus in lieu of more remote work, flexible hours, vacation time and a better work life balance.
Mentorship. Millennials want to receive feedback and one on one coaching with their managers. They want to have a good relationship with their direct supervisor and learn from them so they can move up in the organization.
Autonomy. Along with flexibility, millennials want to have some autonomy and say in how they execute their role. They don’t want a supervisor who micromanages them. Some examples of ways they can get autonomy include, working remotely or flexibility, and having authority over making certain decisions within their scope of practice.
Transparency. Millennials want to know what is going on in the business and how they can contribute to the growth. They want you to be clear about what your business goals and objectives are and to communicate that with them.
Impact. Millennials want to feel like they are contributing to the betterment of the organization. This could be with a special project, by supporting their colleagues, or by serving their customers on the front line. Whatever way they serve your organization, they want to know how their contribution is making an impact in order to feel valuable.
Skills. Millennials are a generation that are very dedicated to continuing their education and learning new skills that make them more marketable. They want to know that you are investing in their future by providing them will skills and development that will make them more marketable and allow them to grow in the organization.
Recognition & rewards. Millennials (and other generations of talent) want to feel like their great work is being acknowledged. Recognition and rewards can come in many forms including non-monetary recognition such as praise and thanks, or monetary rewards and recognition such as bonuses, time off, gift cards, and total recognition points that can be redeemed for merchandise, travel and many other rewards.
For more information on how to support millennials at work read What Millennials Want in the Workplace.