Unlocking the Genius Within

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The world is being bombarded with data. With every click of a mouse, every purchase at a store, and every other interaction, customers are sending crucial information that organizations can leverage.

Not only does data creation show no sign of stopping, it will continue to increase. An IDC report has found that the digital universe will multiply by a factor of 300 between 2005 and 2020, when it is expected to hit 40,000 exabytes.

This gargantuan amount of data hides precious nuggets of information that can be instrumental in determining a company’s next step forward. It is therefore no surprise that forward-thinking business leaders are making an effort to prioritize their data strategy.

Yet, at a time when organizations are making very large investments to capture and analyze data, many forget an extremely important source of information that is very accessible—their own employees, especially customer-facing staff. Employee insights provide companies with an opportunity to tap into already available information that can be combined with other data sources.

Apart from being in possession of valuable insights about clients, employees can see the business from a different perspective and their insights can help organizations make changes that translate into business success. In fact, many times frontliners are instrumental in helping organizations determine the why behind the what. This was the case for a financial services company that we worked with, which noticed that around 15 percent of its customers were calling the contact center because of problems accessing online accounts. The data pointed towards a problem, but didn’t uncover what this was and it was only when the organization spoke to contact center associates that it discovered that the root of the issue was a negative online experience.

Therefore, organizations need to make sure they have a strategy in place to unlock the genius within, using this five-step approach:
  1. Recognize the value of frontliner insights: Business leaders need to understand that frontline associates are a wealth of data and information and treat them as essential sources of information about their customers.
  2. Incentivize employees to share information: Since some employees might feel intimidated to come forward with customer insights, organizations should empower them to share information, even the bad news. This might include rewarding and recognizing people for their insights.
  3. Facilitate the process through a company-wide strategy: Develop the processes, techniques, and methodologies that allow the organization to tap into employee expertise and extract these valuable insights.
  4. Close the loop with frontliners: Acting on insights is only part of the process. Employees should know how their insights are being used to improve the customer experience. Therefore, if a particular issue is being addressed or has been resolved, go back and tell employees. This will allow them to recognize that their insight is valuable and encourage them to continue sharing feedback.
  5. Instill a culture of continuous improvement: Customer service improvements should not be a one-time effort but need to persevere throughout the lifetime of an organization. Business leaders need to create a culture where employees strive for change and will help bring it about.

Finally, leveraging frontliners’ expertise creates a win-win-win situation. The organization is gaining additional insights which it can use to improve the customer experience and the exercise also improves employee engagement since it increases satisfaction among associates and ups confidence among the leadership team.