“Want your employee to deliver great customer experiences? Treat them like customer by adopting human experience design.”
So said the presenter of a recent Conduent’s CX Keynote, , who delivered the message that whether consumers converse with a customer service agent on the phone, through a website chat or even using an AI chatbot, frontline support is often the first (and lasting) impression of a brand.
Q: Can you provide an example on the impact human experience design has on employee satisfaction? What customer outcome example can you give to bring this to life?
A: We worked with a call center group trying to figure out why so many of its representatives were having negative customer interactions at the beginning of their shifts. They were getting two-star and three-star customer experience ratings and rarely a thumbs up.
When these call center reps arrived for their shift, we found they were out of breath and often wet. So, we conducted some diary studies to understand their morning routine. We found they had to use a satellite parking lot about four blocks away from the office, which included taking a shuttle to get to their desks. If they missed the shuttle, which only ran once an hour, these employees had to run to work so they wouldn’t be late and carry umbrellas in case it rained.
They started each day with stress related to simply getting to their desk on time. Although this stress dissipated as the day went on, this was a horrible mindset to carry into the beginning of their workday as they interacted with customers – with the brand.
There was no empathy for what these call center employees went through each day. So, we suggested some simple solutions, including:
- Tapering shifts so people neither rushed nor missed shifts.
- Moving the designated parking lot closer to the building.
- Allowing employees to work remotely.
- Creating a more feasible shuttle system in tune with employees’ needs.
We need to remember to treat employees like humans and cater the work experience to their needs so they can meet customers’ needs.
Q: Besides surveys and quality assurance (QA) efforts, what are some innovative ways to evaluate, strategize and improve the employee experience?
A. Build an employee experience council in which a group of agents/customer service reps serve as spokespeople for their group. Doing so allows getting in-their-voice feedback on what it’s like to do their job. As a bonus, such a program also builds an ambassador program allowing members to bring back other ideas and initiatives and disseminate them to their teams.
Another idea is to designate someone to do pulse checks with employees. Make sure your company leverages the devices employees use. Send a quick question asking employees whether they are having a good day by replying Y for yes and N for no. Just a few seconds are needed.
Pulse checks are checking in with people – not checking up on people. This can allow you to then drill down and see how to improve certain processes to help better their day.
Q. How are you seeing journey mapping transcend with technology?
A. Often called conversation design, the goal of the process is to make a digital agent, through technology, as human as possible. Does it have a personality, name and tone? Give your digital agent all these by using your customer service agents’ input. They are the ones interacting with customers every day and can help humanize digital chatbots.
Also make sure to give customers a choice to connect to a human if they prefer to do so rather than interacting with a chatbot.
Q. Are tools like augmented reality (AR) and gamification helping customer service agents, particularly since most of us have been working from home for more than two years?
A. The metaverse and other interesting technology-related happenings are becoming ubiquitous, and employees are interested in such channels to make their work lives better. Consider using virtual reality (VR) and other tech for team meetings, learning and development. Try the metaverse and AR on for size. Change is happening and you don’t want to miss the boat when it comes to allowing employees to perform their jobs.