I was intrigued to see some research surface late last month which looked at job satisfaction rates. Shawn Achor wrote a blog published on the Harvard Business Review website entitled ‘The Happiness Dividend’, looking at why employees are unhappy in their work, and how companies can look to increase employee engagement.
In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Achor makes the case that the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce. A decade of research has proven that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%.
The point being that you may have all the information, processes and technology you need already in place to run your business, but if your staff cannot translate these into effective and positive customer experiences, opportunities are certain to be missed. And as customer demands grow through the use of new communication channels such as social media, an engaged workforce is key in delivering a consistently good customer experience.
We’ve been doing some work around this at Alcatel-Lucent, particularly related to improving customer service levels, with our Employee Effectiveness model. Something like this provides a 360 degree view on the quality and performance delivered by your customer service organisation, and provides a great methodology to start the process.
Here’s my take on how to take advantage of the Happiness Dividend...
Every day is different in your customer service department and there are many things that can change your service level performance on a day by day basis, so some sort of real-time intra-day insight helps you to make smarter decisions faster.
But to deliver good quality of service, you need to be able to match customers' questions or issues to an employee with the right skills. But that’s no good unless you have the right people available at the right time to handle each customer interaction – if you do, then customer and employee are both happy. So you need not only to plan and forecast, but be able to deliver ‘first call resolution’
By carefully listening to your customer conversations and scoring them, you will understand what skills your staff have and what your customers are asking them. Self-assessment modules can help you easily measure the knowledge of your staff: Do they know the products & procedures inside out, or is more training required? Once you know what the training requirements are, you can set up effective training programmes.
The result? A more engaged – and happy – workforce, and you can reap the benefits of the ‘Happiness Dividend’.