One of the biggest challenges that every organization faces today is having a consistently exceptional experience across all service channels in order to grow and retain their customers. Customers service nowadays is expected to be an omni-channel experience.
With the growth of technology, customers are demanding flexible touch points more than ever, no matter which individual they are interacting with. All customers want fast, friendly, hassle-free experiences regardless of the channel or touchpoint they are dealing with.
What this means for your organization is that you must improve your service at every touch point and through every channel by proving fast, friendly, personalized, hassle-free interactions that make your customers stay longer, buy more and refer others.
Take a minute to do a quick check in of your omni-channel experience. What is your customer experience like on mobile/desktop/tablet/in store/on the phone? What obstacles are in the way of your employees proving your customers a fast, friendly hassle-free experience through each of these channels? As a leader, how can you remove those obstacles?
Here are 5 check-in points to improve your omni-channel customer experience. Ask yourself these questions for each service channel:
- Do you communicate clearly and effectively?
- Do you create personalized experiences?
- Do you honor your commitments?
- How do you deal with customer service recovery?
- Do you work to continuously improve your customer experience?
For more information on how to remove obstacles in your internal service channel so you can have exceptional external experiences read Your Customer Service is Only as Great as Your Internal Service.
Until recently the word ‘habit’ had a negative connotation to it. I’m sure you have heard the adage that it takes 21 days to break a habit. Well many entrepreneurs and leaders went on to turn that idea on its head and create positive habits to help in their lives and business.
In business, what is it about our habits that differentiate us from our competitors? And how can we harness the potential of positive habits to increase our productivity, personal interactions and profit?
Many books, blogs and research papers have examined the habits and routines of successful leaders, millionaires, entrepreneurs and celebrities lately. I’ve read my fair share of these books and garnered some helpful tips which I’ve summarized below.
Start with your morning routine.
Many leaders attribute their productivity, mental clarity and ability to be mindful with their colleagues and employees with taking time to check in with themselves in the morning. Whether that means waking up earlier, meditating, exercising, or other routines and habits that work for you. Take a step back and look at what you’re currently doing and where you can improve. Many people trade in solid morning habits for hitting the snooze button, but ask yourself if that is where your time is best spent (sometimes it is!) or if you could wake up an extra 30 minutes earlier to clear your mind, make a healthy breakfast, and set your daily intentions. Having these habits will start your day off in the right direction.
Listening to your colleagues is so important, but being interrupted incessantly can be extremely detrimental to productivity. Try having recurring check in times or meetings where you can knock off a list of concerns, questions and delegation all at once and save interruptions for things that are truly urgent. For you, this might mean checking email during certain windows during the day (instead of continuously), or only having meetings at certain hours. Look at what works best for you and your daily energy levels as they ebb and flow.
Make recognition a habit.
Many organizations do not make recognition a habit and wait until their annual or quarterly reviews to provide their employees with feedback and recognition. However, the best leaders recognize their employees’ day to day, moment to moment and at every touch point. Recognizing your employees and showing them appreciation for a job well done, will not only increase their motivation and discretionary energy, but it will also make you feel good in return. Both of which will increase your organization’s productivity, engagement and ultimately profits! Check out my last blog, If You’re A Leader You Better Not Suck at Recognition for more information on why recognition is critical in your organization for better engagement.
Change is the cornerstone of growth and all great breakthroughs in life and in business.
If you’re not changing, you’re not learning and growing. As a leader, it is crucial for you and your employees to be open and committed to always changing and growing, because it will allow you to reflect and pivot when things are not going so well, and flourish with the momentum when they are.
New York Times Best-selling author, and #1 Executive Coach Marshall Goldsmith said that leaders should commit to choosing change rather than being compliant and committed to a path that no longer serves them.
To be a great leader you must commit to choosing change and saying — I do what I do because I choose to, not because I have to.
Goldsmith says, the more committed we are to a path the harder it is to admit, that it is the wrong path. A great leader is willing to let go of projects that do not work.
Change can be scary and uncomfortable at first, but being compliant and stuck on a path that no longer works can literally suck the life out of you.
Remember, if you’re not changing it really means you’re not growing.
When have you decided to choose change and how did it serve you? Or rather, is there a time you didn’t choose to change and got stuck on a path that didn’t serve you?
I’d love to hear your personal stories — share in the comments below!
The research is in and it’s loud and clear that organizations are struggling to both keep their talent and keep their talent engaged. In fact, 51% of employees are actively looking for a new job. Plus, 91% said the last time they switched jobs, they left their employer to do so (Gallup, 2017).
This is a major problem for employers because employee turnover can cost anywhere from 30-400% of an employee’s salary (depending on their seniority and level of specialization) (TLNT, 2015).
So how can you keep your current employees happy and engaged and attract new ones?
The key is in providing them with opportunities for learning and development within your organization. Learning and development is consistently listed as one of the key drivers of employee engagement. Your talent want to learn new skills and competencies that will make them more marketable now while they are with you, and for wherever they may go in future.
When you focus on engaging your employees with learning and development opportunities (in addition to monetary and non-monetary recognition), you are building a company culture that says that you care about them as human beings, and not just profit making machines.
In order to attract new talent, the stories being told by your internal and external customers must be exceptional. Creating these exceptional stories starts by building your internal culture and engaging your employees.
There are many perks and benefits that you can implement in your organization in order to effectively engage your talent. Read more about the Top 6 Benefits and Perks to Engage your Talent here.
For more information on implementing and employee engagement program in your organization so that you can retain your employees and attract new ones, get in touch for a 15-minute demo of GES’s Organizational Engagement solutions.
Most millennial workers are approaching their careers with high expectations. They want to find a role and organization that fit their life and give them a sense of contributing to something bigger than themselves. They are very interested in doing work that feels meaningful and purposeful to them. And they want to be able to use their talents to do their best work and are consistently looking for opportunities to get better through learning and development.
Now when it comes to engaging your talent, millennials are no different from every other worker in every organization – one size does not fit all. Every generation of talent want to be treated how they want to be treated. As a leader, this means uniquely enabling each worker with the personalized skills, competencies, rewards and recognition that they want, when they want it.
Many argue that workers of the non-millennial generations tend to stay longer in their jobs, so that makes them more worth investing in. However, with the new work economy moving so fast and continuously changing, even so-called loyal employees will move on if they are offered a better opportunity to learn and grow with an organization.
As a generation that is growing in the workplace and swiftly moving into more management and leadership positions, learning is consistently rated as a top driver of employee engagement and attraction among millennials. Gallup found that, “Millennials are more likely than both Gen Xers and baby boomers to say a job that accelerates their professional or career development is “very important” to them (45% of millennials vs. 31% of Gen Xers and 18% of baby boomers).” (Gallup, 2017).
A key takeaway for leaders from the vast amounts of research focusing on millennials is that they are speaking up and letting their employers know what they want and their passion for growth and learning is playing a huge role in driving workplace change.
As a leader, the key areas you should focus on when it comes to attracting, engaging and retaining your millennial talent are learning, development, work-life/family balance and flexibility. As a leader your primary role should be listening to your talent and removing obstacles that get in the way of successfully delivering these things to your workforce.
Although there are small variations in the levels of engagement, and desired perks and benefits for the millennial, GenX and Baby Boomer generations, a lot of the larger picture findings were very similar. All generations of talent consistently report that they want to feel acknowledged, they want to be enabled with learning and development, and they want to be rewarded (with personalized perks and benefits) for their good performance.
For more information about how you can develop your talent with learning opportunities get in touch for a 15-minute demo of our global, mobile learning solutions.
I recently wrote a blog about re-skilling the workforce to prepare for technology, which got some traction amongst readers. This is an extremely popular topic lately, due to the nature of the changing work economy and the proliferation of technology in all aspects of our lives.
Companies are turning to technology, robots, apps and kiosks to streamline their service, automate simple tasks, save money and increase profits. Technology can be a great option for organizations to improve their processes and procedures; however, it is important that leaders consider all the implications that technology can have. And it is important for individuals to consider what they should be doing to re-skill and grow to make themselves irreplaceable.
Answer this question honestly, would you rather interact with a computer/robot, or a friendly, caring, human being who can personalize your service? Please take note, the friendly, caring and personalized part are extremely important to this question, because not all human beings are going to deliver the service interactions that their colleagues and customers desire. That is why as a leader it is critical that you focus on re-skilling your talent with soft-skills such as authenticity, friendliness, fun, and hospitality, that 1. A robot cannot duplicate and 2. Makes them the most desirable to interact with.
I’ll give you a scenario to consider. Have you ever been at a grocery checkout and noticed that the line for the self-checkout was shortest? But once you proceeded to check out, you had trouble with the scanner, an “unidentified object” in the bagging area and your points card wouldn’t scan properly. This has happened to me on many occasions, and I’ve noticed the customers around me who chose the human cashier have typically gotten out much faster.
Technology can be great in some circumstances, but often, organizations are trying to implement technology in place of humans to reduce costs at the expense of the best service.
In a recent interview with Quartz, Bill Gates floated the idea of the government taxing robots which replace human workers to potentially slow automation and fund other types of employment for humans (Quartz, 2017). Right now, robot automation is primarily effecting front-line roles such as customer service agents, phone center reps, warehouse workers, and probably drivers in the future. Re-directing some of the funds in some sort of tax would still net a profit for those companies changing to robot automation, but it would also support the re-skilling or re-focusing of the humans being displaced by robots.
What do you think of a robot tax? Could it work to slow down automation and help re-skill workers into new jobs? Share in the comments below!
Check out my latest book The Seven Personalization Principles to find out more about how you can re-skill yourself and your employees with 7 soft-skills focused on personalization that will make you irreplaceable, not matter what job you’re in.
Last year I released a book called The 7 Personalization Principles, which profiled 7 outstanding organizations that aligned their company mission and values to create exceptional, personalized experiences for both their employees and customers. Through that research, I noticed many patterns in the perks that these top companies were offering their employees to engage them. Gallup also recently released The State of the American Workplace, which reported many of these same perks through their data.
Based on that research, here are the top 6 company perks to consider implementing in your organization to engage your talent in meaningful ways:
- Flex-Time. Netflix was one of the companies that stood out most in this category. They have an extremely flexible work environment where they set high performance expectations. With this they offer their employees a lot of flexibility when it comes to their hours worked. Additionally, they have unlimited vacation time and unlimited maternity/paternity leave during the first year of a child’s birth.
- Remote work. Gallup found that 39% of employees work remotely in some capacity (Gallup, 2017). Allowing your employees to work remotely either full time or part time can be beneficial for both the employee and employer. For example, employees can be flexible with their time, reduce their commuting hours, and have a quite space to concentrate on more demanding projects without interruption from their colleagues. For employers, remote work can reduce real estate overhead costs, serve as a motivator and form of engagement, and show your employees that you give them autonomy and trust.
- Autonomy. Autonomy treats employees to act like owners and make good decisions within a framework of the company values. This serves as a powerful motivator and engager, by enabling employees to do their jobs authentically the way they want to, without micromanagement. Nordstrom, for example, is one company that offers their employees a lot of autonomy to interact with customers how they see fit. They only have one rule in their employee handbook – to use their best judgement at all times.
- Learning and Training. Learning is one of the key drivers of employee engagement, so it is no surprise that your talent want opportunities to learn and grow in your organization. In fact, Gallup found that millennials especially want to be given these learning and professional development opportunities to accelerate their careers.
- Professional Development. Starbucks is an excellent example of a company who consistently emphasizes and encourages learning, training and professional development. They offer full tuition reimbursement to their partners and encourage them to continuously develop themselves. They also strongly encourage promoting talent from within the company, which gives partners incentives to continuously develop their skills.
- Monetary bonuses, rewards. It’s important not to underestimate the power of a bonus or allotment of recognition points to recognize high performance. In fact, 54% of employees said they would switch jobs for a company that offers monetary bonuses as a perk (Gallup, 2017).
There are also some perks that Gallup found employees expect and are considered “basic benefits” including: a retirement plan, health insurance, paid leave, paid vacation, insurance coverage other than health insurance (Gallup, 2017).
GES’s Global Learning and Engagement solutions can help you meaningfully engage your workforce and will check off many of the top perks listed here. To learn more about how you can implement these perks in your organization get in touch for a free 15-minute demo of our Employee Engagement Solution.
In our age of fast-growing technology, personalization has become one element that will humanize your customer service and differentiate yourself from other people and organizations. When it comes to service (both internal and external) people want fast, friendly, hassle-free experiences. They want those authentic human-to-human interactions that they can’t get from a robot, app or kiosk.
There are two things to focus on if you want to protect your job from technology:
- Re-skill your workforce to continuously stay ahead of the technology curve (read more here).
- Provide personalized experiences to your customers that will make them stay longer, buy, more, and positively refer others.
Here are 7 prescriptions to continuously have fast, friendly, hassle-free, personalized service interactions:
- Be Authentic. Are you real and genuine in everything you do? Authentic people speak the truth and communicate openly with their colleagues.
- Be Hospitable. Do you make your colleagues and customers feel welcome at every touch point? Start with a positive attitude.
- Be Empathetic. Can you understand and share the feelings of another human being? When you have empathy for your colleagues and customers, you are better able to make decisions that are fair for both parties.
- Be Committed. Are you willing to do whatever it takes, no matter what? Being committed means living your values each and every day, even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient.
- Be Competent. Do you have the skills and ability to excel in your role? Being competent means you are enabled with the learning and skills to do your job well and solve your customer’s problems.
- Be Friendly. Friendliness is learned at a young age. Being nice and friendly to your colleagues and customers can create decades of loyalty.
- Be Fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Having fun at work can de-escalate stressful situations and make interactions with colleagues and customers much more fulfilling.
What are some of the ways that you personalize your internal and external service interactions?
To read more about these principles, check out The Seven Personalization Principles: Learn the Principles to Thrive in These Disruptive Times.
The concept of Employee Engagement has become increasingly propagated in our culture, and yet with many companies it is built on empty promises and a lack of substance.
To be effective, employee engagement should focus on enabling and motivating talent with both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that are personalized for each individual employee. When you get it right, employee engagement can create decades of loyalty, increased productivity and exceptional customer experiences.
Here are the top things that your engaged employees will do differently:
- They seek ongoing feedback.
- They want to continuously grow their skills and competencies.
- They seek out opportunities to further develop within the organization.
- They communicate openly and authentically with their leaders and colleagues.
- They look for ways to improve processes and share that with senior leadership.
- They exceed goals and expectations.
- They refers others (as both colleagues and customers).
Your employees want to be co-creators in their engagement and development. The above are some of the ways to identify those highly engaged employees in your organization.
If you’re employees aren’t exhibiting most of the characteristics above, you should stop and examine how you can adjust your employee engagement program to better foster a culture of engagement. If your employees aren’t exhibiting ALL of the characteristics above, you should think about how you can use your engagement program to personalize engagement for each individual to sustain high performance in all these areas.
Get in touch if you’d like to see a demonstration of GES’ Global Engagement Solutions, which 98% of learners complete with significant measurable results.
No matter what you do, no matter who you do it for, no matter how much you get paid, robots and technology are going to affect your job again and again.
Technology impacts every aspect of our lives. It can make our lives better and more efficient – from computers doing complicated calculations, to being able to skype with a loved one from afar, to ordering your favourite meal delivery without having to make a phone call (and much, much more).
Conversely, technology can have a negative impact on our relationships and ability to connect with other humans meaningfully, impacting our privacy, and disrupting the workforce by making some jobs obsolete.
That is why it is critical for leaders and independent contributors to focus on re-skilling their workforce to stay ahead of the technology curve. Technology is fast and always developing and growing, so it’s important that your workforce is always learning, re-skilling and innovating to remain relevant.
One way you can do this interpersonally is with personalized service interactions. Technology has raised our expectations of service – setting a precedent of being able to access everything within arm’s reach. But more and more people are craving personalized interactions that only humans can provide. When you personalize your service interactions, you provide an experience no robot can provide.
Another way to stay ahead of the technology curve is to make innovation a core principle of your organization. It helps to revisit your goals and mission regularly (not just once a year), this way you can assess what is going on in your industry, locally, globally and pivot to stay at the top of your professional game.
Lastly, protect your job from technology and robots by committing to ongoing personal and professional development. Network with other leaders, read about what is going on with the economy, and keep up to date with the trends in your industry. This will allow you to assess where you need to update your knowledge and what areas to focus on with regards to learning and development when re-skilling your workforce.
If you want to read more about how to remain relevant in the age of technology, check out The Seven Personalization Principles: Learn the skills to thrive in these disruptive times.
Click here to download the image above: Humans vs Robots