It goes without saying that happy customers impact the bottom-line positively. For a customer to be happy, they need to be served by skilled and motivated employees. Organizations wanting to maintain a premium brand or running an effective customer service operation are very conscious of how employees conduct themselves in front of customers. Modern day talent managers organize expensive training programs to educate employees. Labeled popularly as behavioral training, they seek to impart appropriate business conduct.
You will recognize the 5S programs in manufacturing (from the 80s) as being a parallel. In these programs, workers were taught how to maintain a work area (broadly) and were measured for conformance.
In Services, these programs intend to educate employees about an organization’s customers and their preferences. In detailed programs, even the choice of words during customer greetings and engagement are imparted. This is followed by “dress rehearsals” so that employees may absorb the learning.
Thus it’s not just a pair of hands that are trained for consistency (read job skills training). We are talking about training the people who own them!
Business conduct is seen as how employees behave in various business scenarios. The actions they take are at the heart of a customer’s experience. For instance, employees handling customer complaints must be calm at all times so as to handle even difficult customers.
Each role in the organization, whether it serves an internal or external customer, must be designed to demonstrate excellence in business conduct. The employees holding the roles in question must behave so as to achieve customer satisfaction. It is important that organizations communicate the expectations to their employees in unambiguous, executable terms and employees in turn should follow the “code of business conduct” much like a check list.
A HCM system should ideally enable the process of setting a business conduct definition for a position, notify this definition to employees and monitor its execution. The employee’s life is made easier as these processes force organizations to articulate what they believe employees should do in order to achieve their targets. This articulation could be based on industry benchmarks (as with 5S), experience (norms), or even gut feel. A judicious mix of the three may be the way forward.
A fashion retail outlet for instance, sets business conduct standards based on recommendations from their product principles. Their stores carry different brands of clothing, each of which lends a distinct identity to the wearer. Some brands are smart-casual, some bold, and others are considered more formal. When customers walk into the store, store personnel are expected to greet them. They are required to discover the intent of the customer – not in an interrogative style but by engaging them and allowing them to inquire about what they are looking for. The engagement may begin with a simple question like “May I help you?”, but it must be succeeded by questions / actions that instills confidence in the customer to open up. The attributes employed to solicit open responses from customers begins with employees being well-groomed, friendly in demeanor, and lending an attentive ear before pushing a product.
The situation in a call center requires operators to greet customers with standard text, and then lead them through a query based engagement to identify and record the reason for their call.
Measurement systems must also be put in place to ensure that employees who follow the expected conduct diligently are identified and rewarded. If being to work on time is a critical business conduct, then an analysis of the “time-in” will reveal employee behavior. If an employee’s leave taking pattern is analyzed, their level of engagement can be assessed to a degree. However businesses choose more complex means.
A “mystery shopper” might visit the fashion store to check on how the store clerks respond to customers. They are usually armed with a checklist (in their memory so as to not spoil the surprise element). They consciously note how the employees behave – (a) do they greet customers with practiced elegance, (b) do they direct customer attention to special promotions, (c) are they engaging conversationalists etc…
Wherever possible, an audit might be conducted for compliance as in the case of a records keeper maintaining movement (people or material) register. This audit could be a monthly or a quarterly affair, depending on the volume of transactions and the value of such an audit. More the transactions, the more frequent the audit – this statement must also be tempered with the maturity of the operation.
The goal of the process is also to reward employees. A successful “mystery shopper” experience may entail the employee a cash reward. Many such successes could mean a bonus. The feeling of being recognized for doing the right thing helps motivate employees.
With Ramco’s Cloud HCM, talent managers may define behavior for key positions and can train employees to display winning behavior. They may monitor and record employee conduct enabled by a formal process in the product. Cloud deployment implies 3rd Party evaluators may also participate. The high performers’ names can be instantly beamed into the community through the cloud creating a sense of pride and a winsome employment experience.
In the present time, the experience is completely gamified to educate new recruits or retrain experienced personnel in new techniques.