Retailers Losing Customers Over Employee Experiences and Training
Good customer service is a core driver of retention, as 75 percent of consumers would stop doing business with a brand if they had a bad experience or received poor customer support. According to a recent Gartner report, on average, 18 percent of total marketing budgets is spent on customer experience (CX) initiatives, and CX, loyalty and retention dominate the skills chief marketing officers feel are vital to a strong marketing strategy. Despite the strong investment in CX, however, many retailers may be inadvertently losing customers to a surprising culprit: lack of investment in employee experience (EX).
According to the new Future of Work report, almost all U.S. employees believe EX has a direct effect on CX. Ninety-three percent of employees who receive regular on-the-job training say they deliver better CX, customer service and overall customer care. Yet one in three employees has avoided asking their employer for training because they fear being penalized for lacking skills. By bridging this knowledge gap and improving employee training and experiences, retailers can improve CX and ultimately their bottom lines.
Employees Could Be Delivering More Value to CX …
A whopping 95 percent of employees feel they could be delivering greater value to customers with better EX and training. More than nine in 10 employees are more motivated and engaged when they’re learning something new on the job, and when asked what kind of training they felt would be most effective in helping them perform well in their jobs, four in five respondents cited on-the-job training.
However, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Although 95 percent of employees agree it has a positive effect on their work experiences and customer service, generations differ on the kind of training they feel could help them improve in their roles. More than four in 10 millennials (44 percent) say they prefer to receive instructor-led, in-person training. The majority of baby boomer women say they prefer blended learning compared to the majority of baby boomer men (41 percent), who say they prefer instructor-led, in-person training.
… But They Need Employers’ Support
Despite the importance of training on improving EX, and ultimately CX, employees are too worried about career reprisals to ask for training and support. Men in particular shy away from revealing a lack in skill competence. Fifty percent believe employers will hold back raises, bonuses and promotions over perceived deficiencies. Gen Zers (42 percent) are also more likely to avoid asking for training compared to millennials (34 percent) and boomers (25 percent).
Other leading reasons employees don’t attend or participate in training include a lack of employer incentives and managerial support. In fact, 68 percent of employers don’t currently reward employees for completing training programs. In addition, 26 percent of workers feel their managers don't think it's important for them to participate in training programs. This lack of empowerment creates an opportunity for employers to bolster their CX and EX by creating top-down programs that support employees.
Solving Your CX Problems With EX and Training
Fortunately for retailers, there are several ways to begin improving EX and CX immediately. Most employees favor technology-based methods for improving workplace performance and increasing employee experiences and competencies. More than 72 percent of employees would complete workplace training programs if their employers made courses available online. Additionally, 60 percent of workers think automation such as artificial intelligence would make their work easier.
It’s time for retail leaders to take a new look at their employee training programs and ask themselves whether their employees’ experiences are supporting the company's customer experience and retention strategy to the fullest potential. Supporting employees’ training and growth supports customers, and ultimately the bottom line.
Mike Small is CEO – Americas at Sitel Group, a business process outsourcing solutions provider.
Mike Small is CEO – Americas at Sitel Group, a business process outsourcing solutions provider. He is responsible for all functional aspects of the group’s Americas’ organization: North America and Nearshore (Latin America) including Operations, Finance, HR, Sales & Solutions, Project Management, Workforce Management and Account Management.
As Chief Client Officer for Sitel Group, Mike led the Americas Account Management team to significantly improve business growth for clients and help drive strategic value across all industries and verticals.
Prior to joining Sitel Group, Small held leadership positions at VXI & SYMBIO Global Solutions, Capgemini and Hewlett Packard. His deep experience has a proven track record spanning two decades developing and leading high-quality teams within the BPO space and beyond.
An award-winning services executive, Mike brings nearly 20 years of proven success in leading and advancing high-quality teams in BPO and ITO for Fortune 500 companies. He was the BPO Sales Director for HP Enterprise Services, responsible for leading HP’s sales efforts in the US and Canada. Mike also held leadership positions with MphasiS, an HP company, in Bangalore India, and he spent a decade at IBM in multiple leadership roles.
Mike is a graduate of the University of Toronto in Business and completed his MBA in Corporate Finance from Queen’s School of Business. He holds certifications in Project Management from York University and Portfolio Management from the University of Ontario and earned his PMP designation from PMI. Mike is based at the Sitel Group global headquarters in Miami.