The Great Resignation appoints employee experience center stage
Although it may seem unusual to begin a CX trends roundup with an employee challenge, it’s important to remember that employee experience is closely linked to customer experience. Every emerging customer experience challenge reflects a similar employee experience challenge. For example, for customers, you aim to deliver seamless digital journeys that can help them navigate the digital sales cycle. For employees, you might need to reimagine the onboarding or recruiting journey to better serve a remote workforce’s expectations.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million Americans resigned from their positions in August 2021 alone. As employees seek deeper purpose, better working conditions, and higher pay, organizations must reimagine and redefine the employee experience. The landscape of what attracts, motivates, and retains employees has drastically shifted. Employees are no longer motivated or impressed by ping-pong tables, beer kegs on tap, or flashy modernist, open-concept office layouts. Instead, retaining and attracting top talent will rely on offering a robust portfolio of competitive benefits, workplace flexibility, career development opportunities, and other compelling workplace perks. In the hyper-competitive talent market, failing to prioritize the employee experience means losing top talent to organizations that do.
From your contact center agents to your management team, every employee needs the right tools, training, and resources to best serve your customers. More than ever, companies are under pressure to handle spikes in customer needs, provide transparent and accessible information, and differentiate the experience they deliver to customers. The better equipped your employees are, the better they can effectively and efficiently serve your customers. As the great resignation ushers in a new era of flexibility and employee accommodation, prioritizing your employees the same way you prioritize your customers will result in more satisfied employees, higher retention, and more opportunities for top talent.
10.9 million jobs were open at the end of July 2021, the highest number reported since December 2000.
4.3 million Americans resigned from their positions in August alone.
50% of America’s working population was actively searching or monitoring job opportunities in summer 2021.
92% of HR leaders set employee experience as a top priority in 2021.
“Brands who want to prioritize the employee experience should take a look at three key factors: trust, respect, and flexibility. If you have those at the core of your experience, you’re going to see positive results from your employees.”
SARAH KLAAS, VP OF HUMAN RESOURCES | AVTEX
The Great Resignation
Fostering a Rewarding and Respectful Culture
Prioritize the Employee Lifecycle
As remote work takes a permanent seat at the employee experience table, it’s more important than ever to build connection and foster a positive workplace culture. Be sure to provide recognition for employees who go above and beyond and remember to show your employees you value their opinions, skills, and ideas.
Retaining top talent means empowering your employees throughout their entire duration with your company. Just like a customer, your employees’ needs will change over time. Ensure you offer career growth and upskilling opportunities that demonstrate an understanding and sponsorship of their long-term goals.
Enable Your Agents and Employees with the Right Tools and Resources
Understanding the Employee Journey
Consider performing an employee journey mapping exercise to uncover the employee personas throughout your organization. Use the personas to build the right set of touchpoints that enable you to deliver an engaging and productive employee experience from onboarding to advancing in the organization.
Avtex Thoughts on the Great Resignation
The rules are changing for attracting, hiring, and retaining employees. As workplaces continue to undergo dynamic evolution, employee experience has become more important than ever. When your organization fosters a culture of trust, empowerment, and greater purpose, your employees are more motivated to perform, collaborate, and fuel exceptional experiences for your customers.
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Organizations will refocus on human-centered experience design
Every experience challenge your organization faces should have your people at the core. That starts with a deep understanding of your employees, customers, partners, and other stakeholders and requires infusing empathy into the experience. Of course, in an uncertain environment where consumers’ behaviors and expectations are rapidly evolving, creative and strategic innovation is key.
The pandemic was the catalyst that accelerated digital transformation across many industries. In fact, 63% of leaders said that COVID-19 made their organizations embrace digital transformation sooner than they had expected, and that they were making greater investments in technology as a result. Initially, many organizations quickly created digital channels and strategies as a response strategy, but not all of them have humanized or optimized those channels. Rapid and dramatic digital acceleration of this magnitude can have certain business implications. Organizational silos, outdated processes, and insufficient IT infrastructure are just a few of the implications that can stunt digital transformation. Some organizations simply did not have established ways of working to handle the pressure to digitize overnight. That’s why in 2022, we will see a trend toward humanizing digital and embedding brand personality and purpose into digital. What started as a basic necessity for many organizations, digital will now become an opportunity for major value-add and brand differentiation.
Companies that integrate design thinking into corporate strategy outpace industry peers by as much as 228%.
63% of leaders say COVID-19 made their organizations embrace digital transformation sooner than they expected.
By 2023, organizations that excel at empathy and safety will outperform those that don’t by 40%.
“Organizations need to focus on blending humanity and technology as they continue adopting advanced bot offerings, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other new and emerging technologies.”
BRYCE GIBSON, CHIEF BUSINESS OFFICER | AVTEX
Define Your Brand Personality
Focus Your Humans on Moments that Matter
What do you want your customers to feel and think when they engage with your brand? It’s important to define your brand personality, and infuse it into each and every channel – whether traditional or digital. Map the words, tones, and phrases that you stand for, and ensure your brand is consistent across every channel and interaction.
While technology deflects some human interaction, human-to-human connection will never go away. For human-to-human touchpoints, focus your agents on interactions that make a difference, and interactions that result in a “wow” customer experience. Give them thorough training on embracing your brand personality and focusing on putting the customer first.
Get AI Working for You
Drive Empathy into the Interaction
AI can help automate mundane tasks so your employees can focus on serving your customers. Remember, human-centered design is critical to making AI effective. AI algorithms should reflect the information, goals, and pain points that humans weigh when making decisions and communicating. Whether you’re using AI for automation or human assistance, take user behaviors, needs and psychological motivations into account when designing your strategy.
The key to driving empathy into your organization is by first gaining a deep understanding of your customers’ and employees’ behaviors, feelings, pain points, and motivations through journey mapping, behavioral analytics, VOC research, and more. Empathy will help you design solutions that solve both humans’ functional and emotional needs.
Avtex Thoughts on Human-Centered Experience
We’ve seen massive changes in human behavior lately and organizations are doing their best to respond accordingly. The next mission is to reimagine how humanity and advanced technology can co-exist and blend together to create exceptional, seamless experiences. Human-centered AI has a number of potential benefits for your organization including increased efficiencies, deeper data analysis, improved workflows, more informed decision-making and more.
Omnichannel is key to delivering a seamless, total experience
While digital transformation had already been growing in popularity long before the pandemic, many organizations accelerated digital initiatives to continue serving their customers during quarantine. Because many organizations adopted digital strategies reactively instead of proactively, some deployed minimum viable pointed solutions, and “find and fix” strategies to keep the lights on and continue serving their customers. This lack of intentional experience design has resulted in a number of fragmented experiences and dissatisfied customers. That’s why in 2022, we’ll see omnichannel experience claim the spotlight once again, as organizations refocus on optimizing the experience and providing a consistent journey to every customer, across every channel.
Remember, the trend toward omnichannel customer expectations has existed since long before the pandemic. Consumer behavior has drastically changed throughout the digital revolution and their expectations have been molded by experience leaders like Amazon. With 90% of customers now expecting consistent interactions across channels, now is the time to develop and strengthen your omnichannel transformation initiatives. We suggest that you start by defining your strategy, mapping the customer journey, and gaining buy-in across your organization.
The number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80%.
90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels and devices used to interact with brands.
80% of customers are willing to give a company relevant personal information in order to bridge the connection between their online and in-person experiences.
72% of consumers expect companies to know their purchase history regardless of the method of communication.
“Organizations who are looking to continue to improve their CX maturity need to start looking at the customer experience in its totality, not just as isolated interactions. Most organizations have spent the majority of their CX efforts on creating an effortless experience for specific interactions. However, eliminating friction of specific interactions may not necessarily create a consistent, dependable, predictable, and brand-aligned total experience. Think about it like an orchestra. You don’t go to an orchestra concert and visit different rooms to hear the brass, percussion, strings, or winds. Instead, you hear the orchestra playing together in concert and harmoniously. Customers expect your total experience to be the same way.”
KURT SCHROEDER, CHIEF EXPERIENCE OFFICER | AVTEX
Seamless, Omnichannel Experiences
Build a Unified Tech Stack
Conduct Thorough Research and Visualization
Your technologies and tools need to work together to deliver omnichannel customer experiences. This will require you to focus on building a tech stack that enables you to understand and serve your customers’ expectations by integrating data and information across multiple applications. Ensure your key systems like your CRM, ERP, and even eCommerce are working together instead of in silos.
To orchestrate a seamless total experience, you need to understand your employees and customers. Customer and employee journey mapping, observational research, and process mapping can help you understand how fragmented the experience is today and help you map your future state to start working toward your ideal north star vision.
Take an Individualized but Integrated Channel Approach
Think Beyond Departments or Functions
A key to moving away from fragmented experiences is to think about how your entire organization plays a role in the experience you deliver. Think about things from a total customer journey perspective and align your internal processes, people, and technologies to best serve your key stakeholders.
Each of your channels should be strategized individually, according to what it can offer and how and why customers engage with it. But just because you need a unique strategy for each channel, doesn’t mean you should treat your channels as separate entities- that is don’t let them get siloed. Remember, all your channels need to work together to create a seamless experience for your customer.
Avtex Thoughts on Seamless, Omnichannel Experiences
Omnichannel has been a buzzword for a long time, and for good reason. It is no longer a nice to have, rather it’s the baseline expectation from customers. Avtex CEO, George Demou believes that, in some ways, organizations still need to execute on the trends of the past. Some companies have failed to launch their omnichannel strategies or have remained in the planning stages. It’s time to move into execution mode to stay relevant. Omnichannel transformation initiatives require a strong, defined strategy, deep understanding of your employee and customer journeys, and an all-hands-on-deck approach. When executed properly, omnichannel is key to delivering exceptional CX.
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Data, analytics, and prescriptive AI leads to more hyper-personalized experiences
Every day we create roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. The sheer volume of customer, IT, financial, and business data flowing through organizations is difficult to quantify, let alone access, unify, manage, and govern. With the continued advancement of technologies like AI, machine learning and others, companies are getting more sophisticated with their data and analytics capabilities which, in turn, allows them to deliver more personalized experiences. In fact, 90% of global executives who use data and analytics report that they improve their ability to deliver a great experience.
2022 will re-establish the importance of effectively leveraging large volumes of data from multiple systems, multiple sources, and across all ends of your organization. Prescriptive AI will enable organizations to make customer service more efficient and effective. The end goal of any strong data and analytics strategy should be to make your data live and actionable, drive the next best action, and deliver exceptional, personalized experiences to your customers.
Worldwide AI software revenue is forecast to total $62.5 billion in 2022, an increase of 21.3% from 2021.
90% of global executives who use data and analytics report that they improved their ability to deliver a great experience.
80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.
“Consumers know how much data companies have about them, and they expect it to be used for their personal benefit throughout their experience. If you focus on building strategies for predictive analytics and making CX data live, you’ll successfully drive the next best customer interaction.”
JIM SHEEHAN, SVP DIGITAL EXPERIENCE | AVTEX
Data, Analytics, and Prescriptive AI
Focus on Business Outcomes
Prioritize Data Unification
Go beyond operational datasets, to tie multiple data sources together and derive a set of info about business outcomes. Consider how your data can help you measure your business goals like revenue, cost savings, customer satisfaction, customer acquisition cost, lifetime value, and churn rate. To tie your data back into actual business outcomes, you’ll need a level of data and analytics sophistication that might not exist in your organization today.
Adopting a customer data platform that unifies all your customer data into a single location enables you to churn out a golden record for each customer and empowers your employees to view each customer holistically. Unified data will provide accessible, understandable, and shareable insights to any member of your team in a clear and consistent way.
Move to the Cloud
Re-Imagine Your CRM
Your CRM has more potential than meets the eye. Consider how you can better use your CRM to drive more seamless customer experiences. Ensure your systems can easily integrate with your CRM and assess how you can leverage AI to render and orchestrate experiences that get as close to 1:1 personalization as you can imagine.
Consider the potential insights you could uncover if you move your core systems to the cloud. Take a good look at your technology ecosystem today. If the technology you’re sitting on doesn’t have a plan for the cloud, consider investing in other potential vendors.
Avtex Thoughts Data and Analytics
Data and analytics strategies drive your business forward and help you understand your customers’ functional and emotional needs and wants. The ability to make informed, data-driven decisions is an essential part of business success, and customer experience is no exception. The better your data and analytics, the deeper your understanding of your customers, and therefore the higher the quality of the experiences you’re able to deliver. A strong customer experience rests on a strong data and analytics foundation – you can’t have one without the other.
Customer-driven self-service dominates
When COVID-19 upended so many facets of our personal and business worlds, everything went digital. Even consumers who were slower adopters of technology had to rely on digital channels to fulfill many of their emotional and functional needs. While self-service has been on the rise for years, it’s never been more important to get right than it is today. In 2021, Forrester predicted a 40% increase in digital customer service interactions – and that number will only increase in 2022.
Self-service capabilities meet the need of rising consumer demands while also enabling your team to increase efficiencies, lower costs to serve, and focus on high-value interactions with your customers. If you are not offering self-service options to your customers, you can be sure that your competition is. It’s crucial that your organization develops strategies for websites, mobile apps, portals, bots, and other digital channels in order to enable your customers to research, transact, and interact with your organization on their own time and terms.
70% of customer interactions will involve emerging technologies including chatbots by 2022.
Forrester predicted a 40% increase in digital customer service interactions in 2021.
69% of consumers first try to resolve their issue independently.
73% of shoppers are in favor of self-service technologies, like automated checkout.
“Self-service is a win-win. It frees up your agents to focus on high-value interactions, while giving your customers the freedom to explore, learn, and transact on their own time. And it’s important to remember that an employee is just as important a recipient of these innovation tools, as is a customer.”
DAVE MURASHIGE, HEAD OF INNOVATION | AVTEX
Take an Inventory of Your Interaction Channels
Gather Consistent Feedback
Ask for frequent and consistent feedback about the experience you are delivering to your customers across every channel. Surveys, VOC, focus groups, and behavioral research are just some of the ways you can assess how your initiatives are performing from a customer engagement perspective.
What interaction channels do you have? What channels do you want to have in the future? Take an inventory of your interaction channels and map the touchpoints that happen on those channels to your customers’ journey to identify areas where you can improve and innovate.
Enable Your Agents with the Right Tools
Understand the Customer Journey
Of course, in order to provide a seamless, omnichannel experience, it is important to enable your agents with the right tools, resources, and training to best serve your customers. Ensure they are aware of the customer journey and are well-trained to handle requests at any point along the way.
Take the time to really understand your customers and the journey they take with your organization. Don’t just rely on data, instead visualize and map the customer journey. Consider which touchpoints can move to digital, which might require human-to-human connection, and which may be a blend of both.
Avtex Thoughts on Self-Service
Implementing self-service tools drives business value in the form of cost savings, employee efficiency, and enhanced experiences. With the right strategy, self-service solutions can help make things easier for both your employees and customers – leading to increased employee engagement, higher customer loyalty, and more revenue.
In 2022, businesses will face a number of pressures – from continued implications as a result of a global pandemic, to fierce competition, and heightened consumer expectations. But you don’t have to face this disruption alone.
AVTEX IS HERE TO HELP
Partnering for CX Transformation
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We help you deliver seamless customer experiences through strategic design and careful orchestration across a number of overlapping CX disciplines, strategies, applications, and technologies.
Five reasons you should choose Avtex as your CX Transformation Partner:
- We’re a true end-to-end CX partner offering strategy, design, and orchestration
- We’ll meet you where you are, whether you’re just starting your CX transformation journey or you’re looking to innovate and expand on strategies you already have in place
- We have deep partnerships with companies like Microsoft and Genesys
- We’re big enough to serve, and small enough to care
- Over the last nearly 50 years, we’ve helped hundreds of clients see success with CX transformation
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