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How To Generate and Leverage Qualitative Employee and Customer Linkage Insight (For More Value-Based Stakeholder Experiences) Presented by Michael Lowenstein, Ph. D CMC CCXP Thought Leadership Principal and Director, BP Qualitative Insight Services
Brief Beyond Philosophy Introduction Stakeholder experience is all Customer Experience is we all we do! do. . Since 2002! We work globally with offices in London and North America; with partners in Africa, Europe & Asia. We focus on the emotional side of customer and employee experience Thought leadership is one of our key differentiators Evidence based consulting, training, and research reporting
Some of Our International Clients Projects Have Included Both Customer and Employee Experience
The Linked CX Roles of People and Culture: Why They Can Be So Critically Important 68% 41% …of customers LEAVE because of poor employee attitude …of customers are LOYAL because of a good employee attitude Source: Parkington and Buxton, Study of the US Banking Sector, Journal of Applied Psychologyy Source: MCA Brand Ambassador Benchmark 70% …of customer brand perception is determined by experiences with PEOPLE Source: Ken Irons, Market Leader UK retailer: 1% increase in employee commitment = 9% increase in monthly sales Enterprise IG
Seminal Books on Linkage of Customer and Employee Experience “Companies are only fooling themselves when they believe that ‘The Customer Comes First. ’ People do not inherently put the customer first, and they certainly don’t do it because their employer expects it. We’re not saying choose your people over your customers. We’re saying focus on your people because of your customers. That way, everybody wins. ” – Hal Rosenbluth and Diane Peters
Defining Rational and Emotional Bonds For Customers RATIONAL Based on Satisfaction • Relationship based on meeting functional expectations • Reinforced by ongoing performance quality • Value for the money EMOTIONAL Based on Trust • Sense of personal relationship with brand or company • Reinforced by service experiences • Supported by customer touch points • Embedded by memory RATIONAL CONNECTION EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
Defining Rational and Emotional Bonds For Employees RATIONAL Based on Satisfaction RATIONAL CONNECTION • Salary and benefits (including training) • Safety and environment • Opportunities for advancement and growth EMOTIONAL Based on Trust and Commitment • • • Sense of personal relationship with company Participation and contribution, belief in direction Alignment with culture and values Opportunities for advancement and growth Recognition and reward Accomplishment EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
Linkage of Stakeholder Groups • Customers who actively (degree of vocal support, level of favorability, breadth of consideration set, etc. ) express their personal commitment to a supplier can be strongly positive (advocates), neutral/indifferent, or negative (saboteurs). Level of commitment and advocacy based on their rational and emotional response to experiences and relationships. • Employees, similarly, can significantly impact customer loyalty behavior toward their employer through a range of attitudes and behaviors on behalf of the brand, company and customer in terms of employer favorability level (including loyalty factors) and evidence/amount of informal communication about the employer. These attitudes and behaviors, like customers, can range from highly positive, to indifferent, to highly negative. • Customer factors are proven to directly and indirectly impact employee behavior; employee factors directly impact customer behavior
Implications for All Enterprises… • How do we most effectively… – Get satisfied and engaged employees? – Build on engagement basics to reach employee ambassadorship? – Align the organization and processes around the customer and become more obsessively stakeholder-centric? – Recruit, mentor, train, reward, recognize, promote, retain, align, communicate with, motivate employees?
Where Is Much of the Corporate World? Employee Engagement and Experience Customer Experience
Em ex pl pe oy rie ee nc e rs vio ha Be Result in a confused CX. Co Me asu res Internally, employees have one perception of value delivery, and customers have another. . d Bran V mm s ue al Customer Experience ica tio ns re ltu Cu un Gaps & Overlaps Inconsistency Lack of Purpose
Customer and Stakeholder-Focused Dynamic: Alignment, Integration, and Value-Based Action Employee Engagement and Experience Customer Experience
Consistency – more efficient, saves money Employee Experience Behaviors Brand Values Communications Culture Purpose Customer Experience Strength Reduce Gaps & Overlaps Measures
Paraphrasing W. Edwards Deming: Everyone in the company must understand their role in customer relationships, and this should be evident to the customer as well. Employee Experience Customer Experience • • • What are the experiences we are trying to deliver? What delivery elements drive most value? How do we design customer and employee experiences that are deliberate, positive, and memorable?
Customer-Employee Perceptual Gap Profiling A Customer-Centricity Two-Sided ‘Mirror’
Measuring Fin. Serv Customer and Staff Alignment Significant misalignment * Based on % 6/7 performance ratings on a 7 -point scale
Perceived Performance Gap Profile Staff vs. Special Education vs. Mainstream Subject Areas Staff Special Education Mainstream 1. Simplicity of materials 2. Appropriateness of materials for reading levels 3. Overall cost 4. Responsiveness to service requests 5. Shipment accuracy 6. Range of mainstream materials available 7. Range of remedial materials available 8. Effectiveness in helping reach teaching goals 9. Overall graphic content 10. Contemporary nature of material 11. Speed of order delivery Overall Performance 10% 30% 50% High Performance* * Based on % high (5) performance ratings on a 5 -point scale 70% 90%
Las Vegas Hotel Mirroring Diagnostic Elements (Top 2 Box Scores – 7 Point Scale) • Employee Ambassadors were dramatically more likely to rate client hotel/casino highly when compared to Saboteurs, and also Guests All Employees Employee Ambassadors Employee Saboteurs Percent Top 2 Box Guests are committed to continuing their relationship with the hotel Guests are loyal hotel customers Guests would continue to stay at the hotel because of the high level of personal service they receive Guests would continue to stay at the hotel because of the fun and fulfilling experience it provides Guests would continue to stay at the hotel because of the value of what they receive for the price Guests would continue to stay at the hotel because of the exceptional quality of the experience
Las Vegas Hotel Mirroring Diagnostic Elements, contd. (Top 2 Box Scores – 7 Point Scale) • Employee Ambassadors were dramatically more likely to rate client hotel/casino highly when compared to Saboteurs, and also Guests All Employees Employee Ambassadors Employee Saboteurs Percent Top 2 Box Guests The hotel will do whatever it takes to make guests happy The hotel has the guests best interests at heart The hotel will do what it takes to resolve any problems the guests have The hotel treats guests as valued customers The hotel exceeds guests’ expectations Guests feel they have a personal relationship with the hotel as their Las Vegas destination
High-Tech Employee/Customer Mirroring: Customer Need Importance Perceptual Gaps Employee/Customer Perceived Customer Needs Relative Importance Of Value Factor
Optimizing Customer Experience and Relationships Linking Customer and Employee Commitment to Business Results C U S T O M E R R E S E A R C H Customer Commitment and Advocacy Strong Correlation/ Causation Employee Commitment and Ambassadorship Now Customer Loyalty Employee Engagement and Alignment 1990’s TQ and Satisfaction 1980’s and earlier Weak and Intuitive Correlation/Causation 1990’s Employee Satisfaction & Loyalty 1980’s and earlier E M P L O Y E E R E S E A R C H
Emotions: Starting with a Foundational Understanding of Stakeholder Memory and Behavior…
Example for Action: Key Linkages of Qualitative Employee and Customer Experience Insight At A Major International Electronics Company
Introduction and Method Qualitative Discovery Program Organizational Planning and Design • • • Program design was intended to be both strategic and tactical, including both employees and customers, and touching most client divisions. This element is important so that each survey component was developed to meet agreed-upon objectives. For external customer interviews, online bulletin boards were conducted along with one-on-one interviews (three levels of customer interviews, for three service types, and three product lines – a total of 27 interviews). Internal interviews consisted of 6 employee focus groups and 10 decision maker one-on-one interviews Parallel/mirroring subject areas (for both employees and customers) included Customer Focus/Contribution to Value and Client Image/Customer Orientation vs. Commodity Orientation. For employees, elements such as Cohesion/Teamwork, Training, Management Effectiveness, and Morale-Related Issues were also addressed to better understand customer-centric culture We developed discussion outlines for both employee and customer discovery research; and, in collaboration with client set up the interviews and focus groups. . A comprehensive summary report was developed, with extensive verbatims, which contained recommendations for content inclusion in both next (quantitative) employee and customer research to build experience value for both stakeholder groups
Some Key Employee Qualitative Discovery Results
Customer Focus/Contribution to Customer Value • Some recognition among employees that the company is making more of an effort to meet customer needs; also, recognition that customer value should be a key strategy • Overall, belief that company as a whole is more focused on factors that don’t directly impact customer value: planning, competitors, cost savings, outsourcing, compression of service levels (with resultant lowered skills and capabilities) than on provision of benefit to customers
Customer Focus/Contribution to Customer Value • This can best be described, overall, as ‘neutral’, with pockets of both positivism and negativism. There is also some recognition that customers are aware if work is outsourced or seen as compromised. We do get a sense for what we think the customers want. But, is the company entirely focused on our brand our service, is that what you’re asking me? We’re currently focused on that, more than we are outwardly. We’re focused a lot on other organizations, all in the same space, compromises, how to get things to work better internally. And in many ways, we’re not in tune with, necessarily, in tune with what’s going on in the marketplace, and going on with the customers. One of the challenges is having the systems and processes output. What the customer is looking for. But, I think if you would ask the customer, which is more important, product service on a valued system, or having an invoice that looks really good, they’re going to go with the service, you know. So, even for our customers, what we’re focused on is important, but it’s not the number one thing for them either. I think we’re still working off of our reputation as being a quality company and a great company. Where we fall short, if we never let the planning up front, we would never give that enough time. So if it takes two months to assume service, we may give them three weeks. Okay, so you know there are going to be problems. Customers expect us to do all the due diligence stuff, and we don’t.
Morale and Culture-Related Issues • Morale, on an overall basis, is more on the side of rather passive, grudging acceptance than enthusiasm or outright negativism. The constant staff decreases, increased amount of outsourcing, and related issues, appear to be undermining employee morale and culture, with terms like ‘RIF’ and ‘rack and sack’ coming up with some frequency. The biggest problem the company faces in my mind is morale. It’s everything. It’s, we don’t know how to grow, so all we do is cut costs. And every time they cut costs, people lose their jobs. You know, I get a plan that says I’m allowed to get three-and-a-half percent raise on people. Then the moving up comes down from HR that says you’re only allowed to give three percent. Then it comes down again, that says, if they make you work over 110% of your midpoint, you’re not allowed to give them anything. I have to have a needs improvement person. I have 12 people on my team. If I have a needs improvement person, I’m screwed, because I can’t get my job done. So I don’t have a needs improvement person. They think you should ‘rack and sack’ everybody, so there is always somebody at the top and somebody at the bottom.
Company Image/Customer Orientation vs. Commodity Orientation • Employees generally felt that, with respect to customers, the company would be seen as more proactive and focused on customers than passive and reactive. However, it was also recognized that the company’s suite of services and products are becoming more commoditized. Just because, you know, we haven’t done well in the past with service. That’s kind of common knowledge. Like I said, I think that we are doing so much better. Even within the past year I can see an enormous shift. You being here is you know, that’s evidence of that. That they’re really focused on it and are trying to change it around and they really are. I guess that customers see that. I think that we would probably rank higher with customers. We are a reaction, metric-driven company because of the way our systems are set up. Okay, I can tell you as manager today, how many calls we missed. But I can’t tell you how close we are during the day to meet them. So, there are, I can’t give you the headlights, but I can give you the rearview. What we want to get to is being proactive. Well, status, 180 degrees different from where we are today. And, if we’re actually going to try to get there, then we need to get tuned to about, how, what we’re doing today and how do we migrate that. And how do we change that? And how do we think about the business differently? Because if we know it, we don’t every have the money and IT never has the resources to go in and fix things I think there are some people who would argue that the service is not commodity. It’s what differentiates us. I don’t think that’s a predominant view. Think that’s a minority view. I think the predominant view is that a lot of what we have is ‘me-too’
Some Key Customer Qualitative Discovery Results
Key Themes: Customer Discovery Research • • • Cost, customized service proaction and capability, and support responsiveness and flexibility are key selection criteria Consistent, timely (i. e. meeting agreed-upon service levels) support seen as more important than innovation Pricing is emphasized, and client’s costs are seen as moderate (i. e. fair) to high Customers seeking partnership from client, and delivery quality of such performance and relationship elements as need anticipation and problem resolution are seen as mixed Specifically regarding support quality, customers cite inconsistency in timeliness, follow-up, and communication In terms of value-add, customers identified some positive elements – selective training, engineering, etc. – but weaknesses in systems, process efficiencies
Key Themes: Customer Discovery Research, contd. • • • Customers recognized that recent/newer outsourced technical support is somewhat less qualified, and that there are now more consistency and escalation issues with the client Partnership, and the ability to have readily available, trained, cost-effective customer tech support, are considered the most important selection criteria Creativity, strong account support, and overall service are value strengths; however, advanced technology, and uptime-related support are challenges Passed-along cost-cutting, due to economy and budget pressures, is performance change that customers want from vendors Complaints include service staff turnover, and timely problem resolution There was no consensus on whether service provided from client was commodityoriented, i. e. expected and one-dimensional, or represented high customer value
Relationship Elements • Customers want support partnership, and need anticipation and problem resolution abilities are seen as mixed The executives within the service organizations need to understand the entity that they’re supporting, in our case retail, be able to know what is relevant to us, ‘cause then they have multiple accounts they’re managing…know what’s relevant to us and then be able to meet with our executives on a quarterly basis or a semi-annual basis. It is very important and makes my life easier on the daily direction of our business if they have a comfort level with someone within their organization or someone they can call and they feel comfortable chatting about business. The company’s customer service is just OK. The majority of the interactions I have with the account team are when they are trying to sell me services or products. There is not a focus on truly understanding my overall goals and strategy or leveraging the products and services we have already invested in. There are issues with problem resolution. There does not seem to be a focus on truly identifying the root causes of problem and then developing a clear action plan to resolve. . There have been times when the company has done a great job of getting in front of issues and solving them quickly. We have also had experiences where we have been presented with an issue too late or when the timeframe established for fixing is too aggressive and we are disappointed. Understand your issues and appropriately determine the timeframes for fixing.
Product/Service Quality • Customers cite inconsistency in timeliness, follow-up, knowledge and communication Service hasn’t been seamless. I find that when we need something…I don’t want to go into too much specifics because they’ll know who it came from ‘cause we’re a very specific business for them. When it comes to implementing systems or having specific requirements for our business, the corporate response has been next to nothing. We haven’t felt like our needs were of any importance to their corporate. Their quality? I would say they’re average. The thing is that there are two things they’re doing for us. One is their core, which is field services. I would say that their field services is fairly good. It’s a little bit better than average. Then they provide us with help desk support and that is not their core business. I would say that it’s below average. Lack of tools that would help them as a better help desk. It’s lack of providing effective training, not having the state of the art tools that a help desk in the same type of business would have. It’s not their core business so it’s not something they have spent a lot of money on. Therefore, they could be better at it had they decided that this is something they really want to get into. They have a big gap between Sales and Service. I think the efforts by the service team are great. Sales don't look to me like they take ownership of problems once products are in the field. If production problems are in the hands of Sales everything turns into a project and the time lines get expanded by a huge number.
Commodity vs. Customer Orientation • There was no real consensus on whether service, as provided by the company, is commodity-oriented or represented high customer value. I want to say customer oriented but I’m not sure everyone’s there. I think that’s where it should be as I see it. It really is probably a combination of both to an extent. The service industry is more commodity oriented but is moving toward customer oriented. As service industry customers exchange ideas, this is forcing the industry to recognize the need to be customer oriented. I have to say commodity. Because so many different people are offering it and they really have very like offerings and can deliver pretty consistently when compared to each other. We have a bunch of different service contracts on different devices and I find that as long as you have a good contact with good SLA’s most vendors can deliver to the promise. The price kind of separates, but I think service is certainly becoming a commodity, at least for retail. Commodity-oriented with lip service paid to customer-oriented.
Summary • Most EX research is quantitative in nature and addresses only engagement and/or satisfaction (fit, alignment, and productivity) • Silo enterprise functioning between EX and CX is the norm in most b 2 b and b 2 c enterprises • Great value in having mirrored qualitative in-depth employee perceptions about CX and value delivery: Helps shape EX and enterprise culture • Array of qualitative techniques available/applicable to conduct this type of EX and CX discovery research • Qualitative insights and persona definition can lead, quantitatively, to dimensional CX and EX design: Emotional Signature (CX) and Employee ES/Ambassadorship (EX) frameworks
Types of Employee and Customer Qualitative Research Techniques We Apply For Our Clients At Beyond Philosophy, we are able to leverage our extensive international CX and EX consulting, research, and training background, also serving as skilled investigators into identifying what customers and employees really mean as they participate in guided discussions or answer questions on the kinds of subjects identified. The array of qualitative techniques we employ for B 2 B and B 2 C clients include: Focus Groups IDI's (Individual Depth Interviews) Mini-Groups Online and In-Person Forums Ideation and Synectics Sessions Ethnographic/Observational Approaches (OBB's) Online Bulletin Boards Online Community Dialogue Chat/email Transcripts, Phone Transcripts, Customer Diaries Executive and Employee (EX) Interviews Customer Experience (CX) Interviews
Stakeholder-Related Publications and Contact Information… Michael Lowenstein, Ph. D CMC CCXP Thought Leadership Principal Beyond Philosophy www. beyondphilosophy. com Michael. [email protected] com 856 -283 -1182