Ensuring your customer experience strategy is effective relies on creating a seamless experience which takes advantage of the various omnichannels your customers want to use and that the company can support appropriately. If you do not have the right technology, people and environment within the organisation to support your CX strategy, then it will be impossible to achieve success.

Implementing an omnichannel experience tends to be driven by Marketing and IT based on customer requirements, but how involved are HR and your frontline staff in the design, strategy and implementation? The recent Taylor Review should be an important reminder of the vital need to involve HR in how your company transforms and adapts to remain competitive for your customers in the current marketplace.

Technology

 Developments in technology have led to the possibility of an effective omnichannel experience through the addition of various digital solutions tailored for the customer. This poses two key considerations for HR who need to understand the implications of the customer experience strategy from the early stages.

As the Taylor Review emphasises, “technological change will impact work and types of employment and we need to be able to adapt, but technology can also offer new opportunities for smarter regulation, more flexible entitlements and new ways for people to organise.

Firstly, the impact to work can be seen most notably in the increase in automation and AI solutions that change the way we work and ultimately the customer experience.

The media is keen to advise us that robots are taking over our jobs, and so it’s critical that HR are central to this transformation. We need to ensure frontline staff has the skill set to deliver a seamless experience, whichever channel they are interacting with customers through, and that we enable opportunities to be realised for our people.

Frontline staff should be engaged from the start of the process in making automation and AI effective for the customer and organisation. That should not be minimised to obtaining their feedback but actually getting them involved in defining, designing, developing and deploying the customer experience as well as future iterations. Not only will this enable the process to be successful from a user and organisational perspective, but it allows your frontline staff to develop skills in other areas, so if their current roles no longer exist, they have broadened their skill set and capability and we can retain their talent and knowledge for the future.

Secondly, the impact to types of employment is being driven by our current obsession with disruption. Disruption in itself is risky and ill-planned without being human-centred. I doubt HR or frontline staff are involved in any of the process of designing or re-designing the business model in this environment. Often these companies have then taken the same disruptive approach when developing their employment model without consideration of the human impact or the impact to work.

As the Taylor Review points out, “platform based working offers welcome opportunities for genuine two way flexibility and can provide opportunities for those who may not be able to work in more conventional ways. These should be protected while ensuring fairness for those who work through these platforms and those who compete with them”.

In order for us to ensure that these different types of employment are ‘welcome opportunities’ and not negative practices, HR must establish a fair framework for operating in which the individuals working under this arrangement contribute to its practical application to ensure their support and commitment.

People

 Alongside technology, people are a critical part of delivering an effective customer experience. Ensuring that your people are key in the strategy is imperative, not only to instill a belief in the organisation’s direction and purpose but also in how they are valued.

As mentioned earlier, involving frontline staff in your customer experience strategy means they offer their knowledge on the pain points for customers and how to overcome these challenges. This will enable motivation through the process which the Taylor Review affirms, “a greater voice in the organisational decisions that affect your job can make people feel better about their work. It can also add to a more collegiate environment between management and staff, boosting the feeling of fulfillment and increasing productivity”.

Another consideration is that if an organisation concentrates their investment in enhancing their customer experience but ignores investment in their employee experience then what will the outcome be? Creating experiences are a necessary way in the current environment to engage your people; employees and customers with your brand and your values. If you only invest in your customer experience then how can you expect your employees to be committed to your organisation in the same way as your customers? Companies should have a balanced approach that invests in both sides aligning the experiences of its people and using the insight gained from analysing the symbiotic relationship between employee and customer.

Environment

Lastly, the environment is an important component in delivering a successful customer experience. Firstly, organisations need to be adaptable in order to remain competitive in a fast-paced external environment which means we need to continually review our structures, processes and practices to maintain they are fit for purpose. To ensure this transformation is sustainable, it should consider its people at the heart; how will work and the employment relationship change?

Another relevant aspect of this is how are the strategy and direction of the company and its customer experience strategy viewed by leadership and how is it supported by the culture.

In today’s world, we have seen enough cases in the media of how your employees, workers and customers use an omnichannel approach to get their message heard if the company has not acted appropriately or authentically.

The power has shifted as our world becomes more accessible and transparent so true, meaningful experiences become ever more critical as the reputation of a company and ultimately its share value can change overnight.

Disclaimer: the opinions and views published are my own and are not representative of my employer.

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