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Employee wellbeing – a customer experience issue

23rd Apr 2018
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Where do great customer experiences start? Is it in the product, the website, the ambience of your premises, your telephone system….Whatever answer you give, ultimately the starting point rests with your people.

Even your website? Well yes, anyone can slap together a website. But it is only when every aspect of the website has been designed with the customer in mind that the website moves from being just something that is necessary in today’s internet age to a shop window for your customer-centric brand. That’s one reason why talking about front and back office functions or designating certain roles as customer facing can deliver the wrong message to your people. In truth, every individual, even if they work in a darkened room miles away from the nearest customer point of contact, has a role in delivering customer excellence.

As a result, customer experience cannot be simply part of a strategy devised by the board and imposed on the organisation. Being a great company to deal with is an inside out process in which we live the brand experience through how we operate internally. In effect what that means is that every one of your people is a brand ambassador for the company.

Your people, your ambassadors…

…For the organisation that puts employee well-being right heart of the company/employee relationship. Put simply, you can’t expect people to be brand ambassadors unless they are proud of the brand which they are promoting. And you can’t expect them to care about the company unless the company cares about them. That’s one of the reasons why employee well-being has risen up the board room agenda in recent years. Interestingly, a recent BUPA review has highlighted the importance not simply of physical well-being but also mental well-being. So much so that mental well-being has now become a boardroom priority for two thirds of UK businesses.

It has to be said that this may be partly as a result of the positive publicity given to promoting mental well-being in recent years and in particular the campaigns aimed at removing the stigma which was previously associated with mental health issues. As a result there has been a greater recognition of the impact which even issues such as anxiety or mild stress can have on an individual’s approach to work. Even something as simple as being worried about talking on the phone can make a measurable difference to the way in which someone interacts with fellow employees, customers and others.

Wellbeing care

So where does wellbeing start? It would be all too easy to say that care is a bi-product of employee engagement. And indeed, in recent years wellbeing has risen to sit alongside engagement as key elements of delivering employee experience. Moreover employee wellbeing impacts in so many fields across the organisation from business continuity to customer experience that there is no simple wellbeing panacea. But here are three top tips which will at least start businesses on the right path:

  • Respect. Building a culture of respect in which everyone appreciates, values and listens to each other not only strengthens the team, it also makes people more willing to open up and to share concerns.
  • Being proactive. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to ask. Instead look to offer a range of programmes that any employee can take advantage of. From in-house fitness sessions to self-confidence workshops; the cost to the business will be minimal, the potential benefit substantial.
  • Be flexible. Offering flexible working patterns can benefit so many of your people both mentally and physically; removing anxieties and enabling them to be proactive over their own care.

Great customer experiences start with people. The more you value your people, demonstrate genuine concern for their well-being, and work with them to help them to make the most of their talents and abilities, the more your people will reflect that level of care outwards through their work and their attitude. How much do you care for your customers? Perhaps it’s time therefore to put your people’s well-being first.

 

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