How-To Improve Your Guest Experience with Employee Feedback
By Lindsay Sykes, Director of Marketing, Intouch Insight
The conversation around employee engagement in the hospitality industry typically focuses on high employee turnover and the cost of replacing those employees.
While turnover is a very real problem —the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that turnover in the hospitality industry was over 70% in 2016 — the focus on employee engagement needs to go deeper.
Employees are the face of an organization's brand, and disengaged employees not only affect turnover, but have a direct impact on an organization's overall guest experience.
That means moving beyond Voice of the Customer (VoC) to also include Voice of the Employee (VoE) so that the entire organization — from executives to frontline employees — are focused and aligned on CX goals.
When the entire organization is focused on CX, and everyone is working towards the same goal, employees will feel more empowered and engaged, which positively impacts CX and the bottom line.
Why Voice of the Employee (VoE) Is Integral to CX
In a Harvard Business Review survey that examined the impact of employee engagement on performance, 71% of respondents ranked employee engagement as a very important factor in organizational success.
When the focus is only on Voice of the Customer (VoC), you have an incomplete picture of what's really happening with guest experience. Every interaction at your establishment requires at least two people: the customer and an employee. Looking at VoE in addition to VoC gives you a holistic view of guest experience, and you can identify correlations between improving employee engagement and improved VoC scores.
Plus, your employees can offer valuable insight into the customer journey through their daily interactions that management and corporate employees don't necessarily see or customers haven't communicated upwards.
Whether it's an internal process that hampers the customer's experience or a company policy that means servers or front desk staff can't handle issues as they happen, businesses need to be collecting this information from their employees. With this information, action plans can be put in place to improve CX, as well as ensure high levels of employee engagement.
Empowering and Engaging Your Employees
Your employees are responsible for making great CX a reality, so they need to be empowered to make decisions in the moment. This can make a crucial difference to customers and help employees feel more valued and autonomous. Providing employees with the tools and permission needed to resolve any issues can have an ongoing, positive impact on employee and customer satisfaction.
This should start from day one with the organization as part of the employee onboarding process, with a focus on creating an immediate connection to the customer. New employees need to clearly understand the company's commitment to guest experience as well as what makes for a positive experience and expected behaviors and standards.
Giving your employees ownership of the experiences they create and empowering them to take action means they'll have a greater investment in the organization's success.
Hyatt has high employee retention rates and focuses heavily on employee development and promoting associates from within. The company also empowers employees to listen to guests so they can solve problems and offer solutions as needed. They don't rely on scripts when dealing with customers, but instead, decision making in the moment to ensure that guests feel heard and walk away satisfied.
Collecting and Acting on VoE Data
If you have VoC programs in place, you can use the same tools and strategies to collect VoE data.
For example, a our customers use surveys to improve employee engagement and morale. At the bottom of their customer's receipt, there is a link to complete a CSAT survey which includes a section where customers can give recognition to employees by name. Anyone who takes the time to fill out the survey gets entered in a draw, and every month, they select a winner who receives a $250 gift card. Customers also receive rewards points for completing the survey. This makes the feedback process a positive practice and a win-win for everyone involved.
While VoE surveys should be an ongoing activity that happens at set intervals, you want to ensure you have an open dialogue with staff, so they know they don't need to wait for a survey to share their thoughts and observations. This may be done with an end of shift check-in or a monthly staff meeting.
No matter how you choose to run your VoE program, it's critical to demonstrate that you're listening to your employees, and acting on their feedback. Employees who constantly feel like their feedback is going nowhere will become apathetic and eventually stop providing it.
Engaged employees are happy employees, and each step you take towards ensuring your employees are invested in your business will help them deliver an outstanding customer experience.
To get more actionable strategies on how to improve your guest experience with employee feedback and other CX strategies, sign up now to get your free copy of the Customer Experience Playbook: Designing a Winning Approach Whitepaper.
Lindsay Sykes is the Director of Marketing at Intouch Insight. To get more actionable strategies on how to improve your guest experience with employee feedback and other CX strategies, sign up now to get your free copy of the Customer Experience Playbook: Designing a Winning Approach Whitepaper.More from Lindsay Sykes