|The Changing Employee-Customer Engagement Paradigm.|
By Vijay Dandapani
Wednesday, 19th December 2012
An article in the Gallup Business Journal reflects on the 'power of the employee-customer encounter' noting that the 'moment when an employee connects emotionally with a customer has profound implications for a company's productivity and profitability.'
The path to that connection, which almost immediately translates into better ROI, is dynamic and affected by changes in the marketplace.
Gallup's article suggests that the "connection between employee and customer has to be central to what every leader and every manager thinks about every single day." Absent that, an organization will "miss maximizing the employee or miss an opportunity with their customers." In some instances it could simply involve getting rid of obsolete rules imposed due to particular situations in the past.
The Journal also notes that technology requires the engagement process to be dynamic as younger customers deal with service situations very differently to those of an earlier generation. There is an implicit loss of emotional contact due to technology as the former prefer to use indirect contact across multiple channels while the latter prefer voice or in-person interactions. Nevertheless, developing the emotional quotient for Gen Y and X via technology is an on-going process for researchers like Gallup and for companies with the most obvious way being making those techology based interactions across multiple channels interactive as in real time responses to SMS or Twitter inquiries.
Also apropos the foregoing,is a new study on Customer Experience Management by the Aberdeen Group, a Boston based business intelligence research provider. The Aberdeen study notes that customer retention is 82% for companies with a high level of customer engagement practices versus 24% for laggard companies. The company's report was based on its "Chief Service Officer Summit" held earlier this year.
Yet another organization, The Temkin Group, showed that "engaged employees are three and a half times more likely than disengaged employees to do something good for the company and nearly six times more inclined to be committed to helping their organisation succeed."
The path forward for businesses across sectors requires the adoption of a sustained commitment to a program that calls for a dynamic improvement in the quality and consistency of the service experience as it increasingly becomes a metaphor for sales and marketing. New media and channels will require different responses for advancing the service imperative in a way that addresses the need to build up the emotional quotient for latter day customers.
Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city. Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York.