When companies hire for new customer experience (CX) officer positions, they are sending a clear message to customers that they are ready to listen to and act on the customers’ evolving needs and desires. Money is spent to analyze every aspect of the CX journey, including metrics around customer satisfaction, how customers feel about their customer experience, and whether or not customers would recommend the company to others.
But who drives the actual CX journey? Employees.
Employees either interact directly with customers in some way or support the employees that do. It then makes sense that companies should spend time understanding and engaging those employees that drive everything associated with the CX journey.
Companies are now finding themselves committing to becoming more inclusive. As companies survey and talk with customers about the customer experience, they should also be asking their own employees what they need to feel engaged, productive, and happy. They should ask themselves how they are communicating the message to their employees that they truly value an inclusive employee base. And finally, they should glean the necessary information from their employees so that their CX journey reaps revenue and customer loyalty.
Inclusion, simply put, means including everyone. Inclusion goes beyond the normal diversity groups. Employees, like customers, come from every walk of life and belief system. Let’s discuss how we create a truly inclusive environment for our employees so we can tap into our employees’ knowledge and expertise around the CX journey.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
First and foremost, employees look at their leaders at the executive level and observe their leaders’ actions.
Here are some groups of questions to consider:
Do those actions actually represent the company line on inclusion? Do leaders cultivate discussion about inclusion in their organization? Do executives tap into inclusion in their own teams?
Does the company have a systematic approach to gathering information from employees as to what they like or dislike in the company or with their jobs? Do companies have a system in place that employees can use to record identification of gaps in internal processes and procedures or things that can be improved about their products and services? Is there a systematic approach to gathering information from the front-line employees concerning suggestions or frustrations customers have with the company’s products and/or services?
Are gaps, suggestions, and comments organized in one place in a way that employees can see what’s going on and contribute further?
Are employees kept abreast of what the gaps are, as well as any suggestions made across the company, division, and department? A place on the company intranet that keeps employees aware of comments and suggestions around these gaps can keep everyone informed.
A Strong Communication Loop
A strong communication loop must be created so that employees feel they are valued, and that the suggestions and information they bring to the table are heard and evaluated. This communication loop will make employees feel that their environment is more inclusive because everyone is being listened to. Everyone can feel included, regardless of who they are.
If suggestions can’t be acted upon, either in the short term or long term, then a short explanation should be made. Employees aren’t looking for perfection in their leadership; they are looking for transparency, acceptance, and communication.
Only when we start including all groups inside our companies in evaluating, developing, selling, and servicing will employees start to feel that they are part of an inclusive organization. Being consistent about including all employees in the communication feedback loop will help employees feel valued. We can recognize individuals, teams, and departments that participate. Leaders at all levels can encourage participation.
A strong communication loop organically discourages employees from jumping on the negative bandwagon when gossip inevitably starts within the company. There’s no reason to be negative, because everyone is listened to and can participate. Employees feel more in control of the outcome since they are participating.
True inclusiveness has to be more than a statement on a company website. Leaders need to cultivate the inclusive culture. Just like companies survey and have focus groups for customers, they need to be doing the same for their employees.
This may take a reallocation of leaders’ time to incorporate a truly inclusive culture. Inclusion makes good business sense and will help drive the CX journey because employees will drive the outcomes they help create.
Inclusion just makes the engine of the company move faster. Companies that do this will not only be backing up their inclusion statements on their website with actions, but they will have the respect of employees and customers.
Companies will see the results in their CX journey as their revenue and bottom line are affected.
Recognized as a subject-matter expert on virtual/work-at-home environments and leadership development, Vicki Brackett has written for and been interviewed by Forbes, Fast Company, Fortune Magazine, CFO Magazine, CEOWorld, HR News, Training Magazine, and a host of other publications, news outlets and podcasts on creative work-at-home and employee engagement strategies.
Vicki has spent almost two decades transforming contact centers into thriving virtual/work-at-home environments that achieve stellar performance and high employee satisfaction. She is the Co-Founder and head of work-at-home strategies at Sinousia where she and her teams help organizations rethink and reengineer their workplace to thrive in the virtual/work-at-home environment.
Vicki is also the author of ‘The Leadership Toolbox - Manage Less Achieve More,’ a book about her experience running virtual/work-at-home and brick & mortar contact center organizations from 200 to 2000+ people across industries ranging from consumer technology, education, automotive, cosmetics, nutrition and other consumer products. Her book showcases a set of leadership tools that have been vetted by thousands of employees and a systematic approach that can transform organizations into top performing organizations where employees love coming to work, are highly engaged and help move the organization forward.