Not many would argue that exceptional customer experience (CX) is key to business success, however, has your business considered that excellent employee experience is the essential precursor to that? Datacom's Connect team is subverting the usual CX priority and bravely going down a less-travelled path.

With businesses increasingly seeing CX as a differentiator, the pursuit of great employee experience (EX) gets less attention which is a real shame. Losing sight of the employee experience becomes a very real problem for managers who are under pressure to maintain high levels of compliance and achieve their business goals.

It can be easy to overlook the fact that our employees are our most precious asset, or more to the point, superpower in the service game. If EX is sub-optimal, the costs come back to haunt the business in the form of low staff retention rates, increased average handling time, and overall failure demand, diminishing focus, and reduced output and customer loyalty.

It’s no revelation to state that there is a direct correlation between the employee experience and the customer experience. Despite this reality, not every organisation is ready or able to fiercely protect their frontline people from tasks that add no value to either them or their customers. The ones who put the hard yards into committing to the effort required to design systems, enabling technologies, and processes in service of the employee and the customer, well they are the emerging leaders in the pack. Ultimately, if we can get EX right, our people spend more time in the zone, performing at the absolute edge of their skills and capabilities, and the exceptional customer experience will follow.

Human connections

Our overarching ambition and CX vision are to create exceptional experiences through meaningful and effective connections. That’s our guiding light, the mandate that guides us in every interaction, not just within our business and with our own people, but with our clients and partners. We want to fundamentally shift experiences at a country and customer level.

Datacom has recently been on a six-month journey to reimagine, reset, and expand our vision for knowledge management. We want to bring our clients along on that journey. In working with organisations in the service game, it’s not uncommon to see knowledge being loosely ‘managed’ in haphazard ways. Indeed, not all service delivery organisations see knowledge management as integral to their service strategy and the discipline itself can be either blended into somebody else’s day job or even worse, rarely spoken about.

Our goal is to lead the way to fully recognising how knowledge can enhance human connection. Essential features for a Datacom knowledge management system (KMS) is a great knowledge management strategy. It increases employee confidence and informs a business' approach to learning and the way they support their people. It looks at customer and employee touchpoints, searching for, and eliminating, friction. It interlocks with experience design, accelerates multi-channel, digital adoption, and has the ultimate effect of giving everyone more time to spend on things that are more important to them.

There is no practical way of creating exceptional experiences for both customers and employees without taking a very deliberate stance on knowledge.

Knowledge management must enhance the process of knowledge curation

The way a business presents knowledge into a single source of truth is an insight into its collective thinking ability. Knowledge curation is just as important as knowledge creation in this process. When bringing order to a myriad of sources and types of knowledge, it’s essential to select, present, and organise it in a digestible way for employees and customers. This is done seamlessly with a smart KMS that provides the kind of clarity employees need to do their job well, which in turn brings them professional satisfaction.

Knowledge management must be fully integrated

A custom-designed KMS must have the ability to hook into your customer relationship management system, telephony platform, virtual assistant, and website. It must be the single source of truth, presenting knowledge in a seamless way without having to plug into multiple systems. When fully integrated, your employees experience fewer glitches and a greater speed to competency.

Knowledge management must be digestible and prompt

In the age of Google and Alexa and their instant responses, employees and customers expect the same prompt, accurate service. This is impossible with a document library, a common approach to managing knowledge. It might have all the correct phone numbers, but it’s not scalable or repeatable, and it leaves a business with a whole lot of compliance risk. Knowledge must exist in plain text and rich media and testing out what resonates with employees is critical. It must be presented in the most digestible, consumable way, and it must be customer-facing for both employees (who are assisting customers), and the customers themselves.

Knowledge management must have the right tools to enable continuous improvement

There are two aspects to this statement. First, a full suite of services included in a tailor-made knowledge system facilitates the easy retrieval of feedback and data for continuous improvement. You can find out if employees are adopting new information and processes, what their speed to competency is, and whether there is something you need to change if you are not seeing the outcomes you would expect. You also gain the benefits of enabling employees to contribute to the continuous improvement process with their own experience and expertise while they also contribute to an operational rhythm of continuous improvement.

The second aspect is that a KMS should also enable you to cycle seamlessly through the approval process so new processes and information are approved and ready for presentation as quickly as possible.

Knowledge is a burden for frontline employees when the onus is on them to keep up with the constantly changing landscape that comes with continually evolving information, policies, procedures and regulatory requirements for instance. We don’t want employees to get to the point where they’re about to explode with information when we want them to primarily focus on connecting with the customer. Our role as leaders is to enable them to have what they need so they can make the human connection.

In a customer-centric world, the expectation of immediacy and personalisation are no longer aspirations — they're expected by customers. The power of the employee experience can be a true differentiator for a business and set it apart from its competitors. A considered approach to knowledge is the essential precursor.

Stacey and her team help organisations create exceptional experiences through meaningful and effective connections with their customers. With a focus on creating enduring value, Stacey plays a lead role in helping clients design and execute transformational programmes of change from design through to execution, allowing executives to participate and contribute to a strategic dialogue on what matters.

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