Guest Blogger

We appear to be in the midst of a shift in focus. The all-powerful organisation is having to succumb to the power of the customer. I remember about five years ago seeing the rise of ‘Customer Experience Management’. The focus being for businesses to place the customer front and centre of everything they do.

At the time, I noticed it shifted the business strategy in terms of development of new products/services. It encouraged businesses to look at R&D from the perspective of the consumer.

Roll forward a few years and, thanks in part to the rise of social media, the imperative now sits with customer service as a direct link to customer satisfaction and loyalty. Communication channels like Twitter and Facebook have given little voices significant amplification to reach an audience of many.

Simple issues and complaints can sound the death knell for a business if not dealt with correctly. Perhaps that’s a little over the top but angry and frustrated customers are much more powerful than they used to be.

So now the focus is on the importance of reducing customer effort to create the effortless experience. It’s crucial for businesses to make it as easy as possible for a customer to resolve their issue or query. Communication channels like live chat provide instant gratification where required. Embedding customer service into mobile apps makes it easier than ever for the mobile mania masses to communicate queries and issues from the comfort of the small screen, removing its tangential but unnecessary relationship with your browser. Essentially, avoiding the need to leave the app…

But something that is starting to come to the fore is the focus on treating employees as businesses would customers. The influence of the employee is growing all the time and the battle for talent, particularly in the tech industry, has become vigorous.

Now, the business not only needs to show genuine care and affection to the customer, it also needs to show the same to the employee. I saw this recently coined as ‘the employee experience’.

But something that hasn’t really been discussed is the evolution from there to what I consider to be ‘effortless employment’. Providing the means to enable a smooth transition for an employee just joining a company or moving into a new role but also creating an effortless work environment for existing employees.

But how does this work? Pretty much the same way as with a customer. A business has a number of departments. Some of these are external facing like sales or marketing and some are internal facing like IT or HR . So for me, ‘effortless employment’ is about making it as easy as possible for an employee to do the job they’ve been hired for.

This means reducing the effort required for them to sort out issues like IT problems, salary and other work related finance or anything that can drag them away from their job.

Basically, internal support needs to run the same way as customer support. It needs to be easy to communicate with, make it simple to find a solution to a query or problem; and available to an employee when they need it. Theses internal services need to be willing to do what they can to arrive at a satisfactory result for the employee.

Let’s not forget, employees are social too. They can amplify a grievance as much as a customer. So expect to see more internal facing knowledge centres and helpdesks for employees to self-serve and find their own answers to queries and issues. Look out for internal services adopting similar principles and procedures used when engaging customers like live chat, and SLAs around response times.

It will be interesting to see if all businesses are ready to embrace ‘effortless employment’. Until then, I hope to never have to hot desk for six weeks again… “Oh, we didn’t realise you were starting today.” #unvalued

Andy Sommer is Senior Manager, Internal Communications at Zendesk

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