We know employee and customer experience is important to you, we hear customers and friends tell us about their huge invested interested in providing better experience all the time. However, as often as we might have a conversation about the importance of experience, we have an equal number of more challenging conversations about how service managers and their teams can get started on making the changes and improvements they want to see.
If this sounds like you, here are seven extremely helpful activities and tricks you can try today to get started on the road to employee experience excellence!
1. Take a critical look at the experience data you’ve got
If you look hard enough, you will most likely find that you already have some form of feedback data collected from your employees or customers. So give yourself half a day and read those through it. You will quickly discover some trends which you can concentrate on. For example , if there a region or dpeartment that is not pleased or a specific service that is providing bad feedback, get stuck into imporving that.
We know this can be tricky to start, but try not to think back and try to explain the results – instead think what you must change for the employees benefit. And try not to think too much about the process in Service Desk, but more the experience, feeling, attitude and expectations of the employees.
2. Start listening to the stories people are telling about you
Perception is everything, so your important data will come from a range of sources, not just numbers and coloured boxes! Regardless of what you think of your team and how that looks in reports, how people see and discuss the quality of your service and your team will either validate or challenge what the rest of the business knows to be true. So go and listen to the stories, ask different levels of the service team what stories they hear and go direct to other employees and customers and ask them to tell you how it all goes down in ‘their reality’. Improving the service is one thing, but developing a set of plans and tactics to improve the stories people tell about you and your service is an extremely valuable achievement in itself. And when meeting employees don’t correct what they say or think, but instead focus on correcting the way you work or communicate these services.
3. Workshop something… anything!
The best ideas come from open discussion and conversation. They also usually come from a collaborative effort between different people, skills and experiences in the team. Try taking a team lunch or an hours break to bring together different members of the team and have them discuss the things that they would most like to see improve in service. It’s important to facilitate this discussion and keep it focussed on the outcome and experience delivered by the service. Not just what makes them complain a little less about their job! Once you feel like you’ve heard a few good ideas on problems and possible solutions, get the team to put forward some short term and achievable commitments on seeing some improvement in those areas. If you are brave enough to invite some normal (non IT) employees to the discussion, you’ll hopefully be suprised how much everybody will learn about the realities and perceptions of your services!
4. Just test an idea and see what happens
You can go on your gut with this stuff too. As the manager of a service you are likely to have a trusted sense and feel for what is working in your team and what is not. So step outside the day-to-day for an hour or so and consider some of the problems and blockers that might be more and more impairing the service experience you’re providing. It can be big or small, the important thing is that you know it to be real and you can implement a small scale change to test to try and improve things. It might be something simple like the words staff use to answer the phone, or the format of the email notifications requestors receive. Whatever it is know what it is you are expecting to see change in the employee or customer once it’s there and what you are going to do when you discover whether it was affective or not. The key thing is to just keep changing, checking, tweaking and improving.
5. Pick and problem and run with it
Talk to customers, staff and the service desk and find out what they big problems of the moment are. Once you are confident you have problem in mind worth solving, get round the table with your team and say “Okay guys, for next 6 weeks we’re going focus on really solving this issue”. Keep it positive and really focus on the momentum you need to see a genuine improvement. Allow the service team themselves to bring forward the actual improvement ideas and activities, and make yourself available to provide support and resources as and where they need them to make those changes. Keep checking in and feeding back on what’s starting to get better and what’s not. Remember it’s not always about success and failure, but just using what you’re learning to optimise your approach to improving over time.
6. Ask someone for feedback and then just work on it
Much like the concept of listening to the stories people are telling about you, get out on the office floor and start asking for anecdotes and opinions on what’s delivering a good experience and what’s not. From there either find a trend or an improvement opportunity that excites you and put a short term plan together to start bring up quality in that area, with the aim of improving the feedback you get from that person or group of people you get, the next time you speak with them. Again, this sort of service experience and engagement relies heavily of the perception of the service and so capabilities such as communication, visibility and availability will be hugely important for improvements like this.
7. Make improvement a part of the job
Last but not least, a more general approach can and probably should take, is to start featuring more service and experience improvement oriented tasks into team member’s objectives and KPIs. This can include anything from identifying areas for improvement, collecting better data on service experience, engaging with more parts of the business or running employee experience projects. Creating and encouraging a culture where the team want to focus on providing great experiences is a massive part of getting this right. However, for many teams it is a not a quick change and so gradual and iterative changes to goals and objectives over time is important to success.
When focusing on experience, always think about the balance between the service itself and how it is received and perceived by all those involved in each interaction. Then work backwards from there; understanding, tweaking and measuring every little improvement you make.
The people and the process is huge part of getting this right, but another important factor is the products and technology you use. At HappySignals, we specialise in developing brilliant employee experience management software and helping service teams just like yours improve engagement, feedback and service experience. If you’d like to learn more, just check out our product pages here and try our free demo.