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Employee engagement a critical ingredient for successful customer relationships

customer experience
(Image credit: Image Credit: Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock)

The relationship between employee engagement and customer satisfaction has been well established across a variety of sectors, with the link between the two twice as strong when employee satisfaction is particularly high. This connection is especially important where customers rely heavily on customer service personnel to help them through emotionally charged experiences. 

Making sure that employees stay engaged is a critical ingredient for building and maintaining successful customer relationships in competitive industries. In turn, customers who are more satisfied, tend to stay with providers for longer, are more likely to purchase additional services and provide more referral business. 

Although many companies have rightly focused their efforts on customer experience over the past two or three years this cannot be at the expense of employee engagement. You simply cannot have one without the other. 

Pre-pandemic, many companies had been slow to adapt to new ways of working, due to the fact that there either wasn’t the urgency to do it or it wasn’t at the top of their to-do list. However, the ‘new reality’ is that keeping hold of the best talent is critical. Not only does it save money on recruitment but in a world where working from home is commonplace, employees are no longer restricted by geography in their choice of employer.

Innovative tech can help retain talent  

Using innovative tech will help retain the best talent as it allows employees to reach their full potential without being hampered by outdated processes or legacy systems. Many of the challenges facing companies today require a unique set of skills and expertise that are in high demand. 

For companies to be able to offer an exceptional employee experience which in turn feeds into an exceptional customer experience, they need to first ensure that they have a data governance ERP solution in place.  

In a competitive market where consumers don’t differentiate between companies when it comes to good service if, they have a good experience in one sector, they will expect this to be carried over into multiple sectors. Therefore, understanding how your employees’ access and interact with data as well as where it is held is critical to unblocking their ability to provide good CX. Failure to link systems and truly understand your network of data will leave your employees on the back foot.  

According to a report by Gartner “ERP implementation and ongoing operation are complex, risky and expensive — and are often disrupted by data management challenges. To deliver on time and ensure sustainable quality, CIOs in midsize enterprises must proactively address data quality and governance.” 

Coupled with this, the pandemic has meant that companies have had to move more quickly than ever before in order to support customers and continue trading. Quick fixes that worked in the short-term may not be viable long-term, making it crucial that companies take steps now to ensure their survival.  

Furthermore, Gartner has also stated that “legacy ERP deployments do not support the agility required in today’s digital business climate, nor do they support the expected business outcomes. About 20 percent to 25 percent of ERP initiatives are considered failures, and an estimated 55 percent to 60 percent are compromised in some way by the organizations undertaking them.”

Want to drive and sustain growth? Understanding data is key.  

Understanding data is key to drive and sustain growth, introduce competitive threats, monetization and helping to avoid allocating resources to projects ineffectively. The ability of companies to deliver data-driven brand experiences at all stages of the customer lifecycle is something that companies need to strive for.  

Also, many IT vendors seemingly offer the same thing and customers can sometimes get caught up in tech buzzwords rather than the service they require and actually receive. Therefore, a key differentiator here is for IT vendors to use honest, plain talking language to their end-users rather than hyped promises. 

Customers can have a tricky time identifying the best vendor to use. IT providers can help with this by making sure they continually look at and refresh their messaging in line with current events to help customers navigate this minefield and translate what they want into what they need. 

IT providers can remove the hesitancy around choosing a supplier, by understanding the impact of projects that run over in time and budget. Being realistic from the start ensures that budgets and timeframes are achievable, reliable and can be used to accurately plan testing and roll-out schedules.  

Releasing additional value from data can help companies to differentiate 

Third-party software providers can look at the level of support that is required to help companies access better value from the data they hold to allow employees to do their jobs effectively and provide exceptional CX. Data plays a critical role in driving CX excellence and successfully connecting data and intelligence is often the difference between success and failure. 

Companies in a post-pandemic market, should look at employing a personalized and seamless customer experience that begins with data and ends with relevant action.  

To effectively deliver on CX, organizations must significantly narrow the gap between the implementation and adoption of technology. Companies need to be flexible with technology development and data management infrastructure that can quickly scale to meet and anticipate customer demand. 

The perfect customer experience will always be aspirational, but technology, applied correctly, can deliver the connected data organizations need for a personalized, meaningful customer experience. 

For organizations to lead from a customer-centric position, they increasingly need a comprehensive view of the full customer journey, as well as the ability to obtain deep, granular insight on what is driving customer experience. They need immediate and individual signals in order to take action “in the moment” and to create relevant experiences for each customer, and they need to demonstrate that the experience enhancements they would like to invest in will result in positive ROI. 

Companies that are successful in differentiating on the customer experience they offer have mastered automation, connected processes across marketing, sales and service and successfully unified customer intelligence across all touchpoints. With their customer in the middle, these brands measure success in terms of customer lifetime value, customer satisfaction and revenue growth.

Lindsay Lucas, Managing Director, Software Solved

Lindsay Lucas is Managing Director at Software Solved. Since 1998, the Software Solved team have delivered over 1,000 successful software and data projects for some of the UK’s most innovative brands. Employing the brightest minds in tech, Software Solved are specialists in custom software and data solutions.