If Consumers Don’t Like Chatbots, Why Would Your Employees?

Lost in Space 1966

For years, businesses have known that poor customer service leads not only to unhappy customers but fewer brand advocates. Since we hear more leaders talk about their employees as “customers,” and more talent acquisition specialists thinking about “recruitment marketing” and encouraging workers to hype their employer over social media, it’s worth considering new data that shows most U.S. consumers are quick to cut ties with a brand if they receive poor customer support, but are quick to become advocates for brands that treat them well.

The data comes from Learning Tribes’ parent Sitel Group, which calls itself a “customer experience management” company. According to its 2018 CX Index Report, which analyzed consumer sentiment toward customer experiences, 75 percent of U.S. consumers would stop doing business with a company if they had a bad experience or received poor support. In fact, 50 percent said they’d cut ties with a business in the past year because of a negative experience.

'Research continues to show that companies with highly engaged employees consistently outperform their competitors and yield higher customer ratings,' says Learning Tribes' Dan Gizzi. Click To Tweet

“The link between employee experiences and customer experiences is undeniable,” said Learning Tribes Vice President of Business Development Dan Gizzi. “Research continues to show that companies with highly engaged employees consistently outperform their competitors and yield higher customer ratings.”

Sitel says consumer brand loyalty is “delicate at best.” We don’t think the same can be said of the ties between employers and employees for obvious reasons: There’s more at stake for workers because wages, benefits and the like can literally be ties that bind. Still, it’s a tight labor market, businesses are struggling to recruit and retain employees and the idea of long-term company loyalty seems to be pretty much dead.

That means employers would be wise to consider Sitel’s consumer data in the context of how they interact with their workforce. In some areas, the report hints at a disconnect between what HR tech vendors are offering and what end-user employees actually prefer.

Chatbots Aren’t Personal

For example, consumers would rather talk to a real person than engage with a chatbot or other digital forms of communication. Seventy percent would prefer to interact with a live person than a digital tool or chatbot (9 percent), while 28 percent would rather use the telephone than email.

“What this means for businesses is a greater responsibility to training and developing staff to not only work alongside new technology like chatbots, but to help them refine their soft skills when they engage with a consumer over the phone,” Gizzi said. A similar scenario can easily be applied to HR and its support of self-service tools and Core HR queries.

What makes us believe that? Earlier this year, a report from Nucleus Research found that high turnover can often be traced to challenges with basic systems such as payroll and scheduling. Problems in those areas, Nucleus suggested, impact employee engagement.

This is especially true at large companies, “where attempts to get an error fixed can be a bureaucratic hassle.” Improvements in payroll alone can reduce turnover by 30 percent, Nucleus said, while improvements and the resulting reduction of turnover, can result in a 60 percent dollar savings.

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