Empowering the Frontline: Creating People to People Connections

Posted by Rant & Rave

June 7, 2017

Empowering the Frontline: Creating People to People Connections | Rant & Rave

Enabling your customers and your Frontline teams to connect together in a meaningful way is essential. It could be a high-street retailer where the Frontline are dealing with customers face-to-face, remote workforces of engineers who are fixing leaks and installing metres, or a large scale contact centre handling hundreds of thousands of calls. But getting people to connect with people is the place where true engagement happens.

Use customer feedback to engage employees

The words and feedback of customers can be used to champion those top performing Frontline members and also provide opportunity for real-time self-coaching. Feedback can also be used to put the fun back into customer service by gamifying the Frontline experience, helping to build culture.

That ability for Frontline staff to engage with customers and buy into the brand’s customer programme and strategy is the lifeblood of delivering incremental improvements and marginal gains to Customer Experience. It’s about ensuring that agents understand how they’re impacting the Customer Experience -  and the power they have to make a difference to customers.

Using people to deliver competitive advantage

People are vital at delivering competitive advantage. A bank will retain many similarities against another bank; utility companies are not very different from their competitors; the same goes for airlines and retailers. They can copy each other’s products, services, marketing, IT systems - even their CX vendors!

The only thing you can’t copy, the one thing that provides that real secret sauce and delivers that competitive advantage is the people. And when we’re talking about our competitive advantage, there’s one brand we like to quote - First Direct: “At the end of the day, we offer exactly the same service as any other bank. But that gives you an advantage - you can differentiate through your people - the way you do things - that’s the stuff people remember. The way you do things, not what you do”. The difference is down to the people.

Move away from a top-down organisational structure

More organisations are switching onto the fact that the top-down approach isn’t working. Traditionally we see the CEO, right at the top, creating all the rules and regulations. These flow down to the Frontline. And those Frontline agents, who typically are the lowest paid and least skilled in the organisation, are the ones actually dealing with the customer.

Execs around the world are rethinking traditional top-down approaches to organisation, as they’re not really efficient for making companies bolder anymore. They’re looking at ways to make flatter organisation structures that are ultimately going to create value for employees and engagement and that employee mobility - being able to move up through an organisation and use their skills to the best of their abilities.

But there’s been a paradigm shift in how companies are structured, with the traditional way being reversed. Now it’s about putting the Frontline employee at the forefront and recognising the vital role they have engaging with customers. The CEO’s job then becomes more focused around asking the Frontline what the organisation can do to make the job of the Frontline better, easier and more effective.

Empower the Frontline to emotionally engage customers

From a Rant & Rave perspective, we talk lots about being able to capture the emotion of an engagement. A big part of this is about owning the emotion at the Frontline. That’s where the people are speaking to people; it’s where the hearts, minds and wallets of customers are won.

This can then go into the virtuous circle of feedback - customer feedback being used to directly feed into employee improvement programmes, employee initiatives, employee engagement and even recruitment opportunities. This provides the organisation with increased business performance, which creates those happy customers or, as we like to call them - true Ravers.

To discover more about the Power of People watch our recent webinar with John Patterson, Director of Customer Experience, Sage, where we discuss the link between behaviour, culture and customers' satisfaction!

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Topics: Contact Centre, Frontline Engagement

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