Imagine your business just opened after months of planning, hiring and navigating regulatory requirements.
You oriented and trained your employees emphasizing that customer service is crucial to the success of your business.
You ran a social media campaign offering coupons to a specific number of people that followed you first. Just prior to opening day you sent out the coupons. Opening day arrives!
The First Two Weeks
The first two weeks of business provide a snapshot of what is working well and processes that may need some tweaking so you are busy observing and managing concerns as they arise.
The social media coupon program is paying off. Those followers you sent coupons to are bringing them in for their first experience of your new business. You budgeted for a specific number of coupons and have a list of people you sent them to so the employees can check them off as they are redeemed.
There is a glitch with the coupon, some of them are printing off without the identifying number required for redemption. This isn’t the customer’s fault but they are being told they cannot use the coupon without that number. The employee is standing firm-no number, no redemption. Your new business stands to lose a lot of customers over this issue, as it is hardly a welcome experience for the customers who made the trip to try it out. The customers with those coupons came via a social network and they likely will share their experience via social networks. There was another way of verifying that the coupon was valid but the employee was not aware of that.
What Does Human Resources Have To Do With This?
As the business owner you decide what level of autonomy employees will have, and what information to communicate and how often to do so. You determine training needs and the goals and objectives of employees and review and critique their performance. All of these decisions impact the way an employee will perform on the job, whether you are there supervising or out of sight managing other areas of your business. All of these actions are part of the human resources system within your business.
The Customer Experience
The processes and policies that you develop to manage the employee experience help establish the culture of the business. There is a direct link between the culture that is developed within your business and how successfully it reflects the brand you present externally. Is the overall experience of your employees a mirror of the experience you advocate for your customers? Are your processes, procedures and policies organized in such a way that they enable employees to conduct their responsibilities so that they provide the desired customer experience?
• Establish and communicate the values for your business. Do this using different methods and content and repeat the message often enough that it becomes embedded in the culture and is part of the voice of your employees. A few examples are face-to-face meetings, email messages, and tags on pay statements.
• Discuss the desired culture with employees, solicit their ideas, and focus on the specifics as to how that culture will show up in action.
• Communicate and make decisions based on the values that drive the culture and do so consistently.
• Provide training and support so that your employees feel confident when carrying out the responsibilities of their job.
• Set up multiple communication channels so that employees are able to let you and their co-workers know what affects their ability to do their job well and what kind of experience they observe your customers having.