Businesses are increasingly recognising that it is at least as important to give employees and suppliers a good experience as it is to make it easy for customers to deal with the organisation. A 360° view of experience management, the process of monitoring every interaction people experience with a company or organisation, is vital to spot opportunities for improvement and to drive retention. When employees and supply chain partners can achieve what they need to confidently, efficiently and conveniently – aided by access to all of the information they need on demand – they will have a more fulfilling and rewarding experience which will boost their loyalty to the company.
However, business across Europe are in varying stages of maturity when it comes to using employee experience data. EASY Software research has revealed that most German firms are in the early stages of capturing employee and other key partner and employee stakeholder sentiment. only 39% German businesses use a 360-degree style overview of stakeholders. In the UK, meanwhile, there is greater maturity, with the majority of UK businesses regularly collecting experience-related data (76%).
In the UK the majority of medium to large firms are doing well in terms of capturing experience data, including employee and other key partner and employee stakeholder sentiment1. Three quarters (76%) of firms collect customer experience data of some kind, while 60% collect employee satisfaction data. For suppliers and business partners in the supply chain, experience management drops to 40% of surveyed organisations, although a further 40% have plans to do so.
While these statistics are encouraging, most firms could do so much more to enhance experience management. Typically, monitoring, managing and improving experiences for employees and suppliers or business partners is not as mature a discipline as customer relationship management. Although HR departments will review employee satisfaction as part of annual appraisals, and procurement teams will have an idea about whether suppliers are being paid on time or have sufficient insight into future demand, much of this feedback is ad hoc. It isn’t necessarily being fed back into plans for improving processes, or IT systems, which could better support employees or suppliers as they try to complete tasks or find answers to queries.
Self-service is the goal
In the best-case scenarios, employees and suppliers should be able to serve themselves with information, and complete routine tasks, without the need to wait for help from an intermediary. That action might be to book time off or look up old payslips, in the case of an employee engaging with the HR department.
As well as empowering individuals to fulfil tasks at their own convenience so that they can move on with other things they need to do, intuitive self-service reduces the need for departmental
administrators to become involved in manually looking up information in response to incoming queries. This in turn eases the demand on internal resources, increasing operational productivity and cost efficiency, with a positive impact on business performance.
Yet, to be able to deliver improvements, companies must first know where their weak points are. They must be able to identify where current experiences are not hitting the mark – whether for customers and, in the fuller 360° scenario, for employees and for suppliers/partners. The primary reason given for tracking experience data is to improve relationships – in particular by driving better interactions. Half (51%) of managers agree that this is the goal and a further third (33%) agree strongly. A similar proportion (51%) agree (and a further 31% strongly agree) that experience insights could help them optimise their operations.
Perceived challenges to these endeavours include the cost and time investment involved to collect and analyse experience data (seen as a barrier for nearly 60% of respondents); the privacy/regulatory implications of capturing this data (seen to be an even greater issue – 45% agree, and a further 26% strongly). These issues are followed by practical issues including inadequate IT capabilities; poor data quality/confidence; and the lack of skills and processes for collecting and analysing the data.
Satisfaction with digitalisation
Effective experience management is hugely important as we move from a shareholder to a society that recognises that all stakeholders from employees to customers, suppliers or business partners, have an impact on business success. The experience of the businesses’ digitalisation transformation is central to success. More than half of German firms claimed to be dissatisfied with digitalisation that had been introduced to manage end-to-end processes that start and end with the customer in their company (58%). In the UK most say they are ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat’ satisfied (78%). This remains a key challenge across Europe and internationally. Overcoming regulatory and technical challenges to using experience data – from both employee and customer –is increasingly vital to enable businesses to optimise operations and be more efficient.
1 About the research study
EASY Software commissioned an online Experience Management study to gauge the extent to which businesses are prioritising and measuring people’s experience of their operations, across different stakeholder groups. The research was conducted independently by Censuswide in March 2020. Respondents were in middle or senior management roles at over 500 UK companies with 100 or more employees, spanning the Technology, Telecommunications, Finance, Manufacturing and Retail sectors. The German survey was conducted by EASY SOFTWARE in collaboration with KPMG; a representative survey of 401 companies with more than 100 employees were polled. The outreach was conducted in July 2019 in the form of telephone interviews by an independent market research institute.
About the author
Michael C. Reiserer is MD of EASY Software Germany. He founds and participates in innovative software start-ups, such as Apinauten GmbH. Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org www.easy-software.com