How to get employee feedback on the client experience

Staff suggestion boxes may date back to a time of milk floats and video recorders, but the jump to digital engagement surveys has left firms with an insight gap. HR asks employees about their relationship with the firm. Marketing does the same with clients. The missing lens is employee feedback on the client experience. Employees see both the client experience and the processes/policies that influence it. But many firms are missing the opportunity to see their client experiences through the eyes of their employees.
Back in the olden days, businesses had staff suggestion boxes. Managers encouraged employees to drop in their improvement ideas and occasionally rewarded them for their troubles. In return, managers had a simple way of getting employee feedback on the client experience.

Are your employees still trying to tell you something?

But times have moved on. I still occasionally see a staff suggestion box on my travels, but they look very unloved!
Digital engagement surveys have replaced paper suggestions. But firms have lost sight of something in the process.
The beauty of suggestion boxes was that anything could be suggested. An open question meant the scope was defined by the person giving the suggestion, not by the managers receiving it.
But the proliferation of DIY survey tools has given control to the managers. They decide which questions, and crucially, which multiple-choice options are included. The focus has switched from collecting a broad spectrum of ideas to asking closed questions that can be reported quickly.
Feedback has become measuring.
Most employee engagement surveys just ask about the areas that HR can influence; career, managers, training etc. The focus is on the employee’s relationship with the firm. Meanwhile, client surveys are only sent to clients, to ask about their relationship with the firm. Both of these lenses are important, but something is missing.
Who’s asking employees about how they would improve the client experience?

The missing lens – employee feedback on the client experience

Employees have a front-row seat for the client experience. They also see how internal processes and policies influence those experiences.
All the firms I’ve spoken to are not capturing this perspective. At best it’s talked about in 1-2-1s, but there’s no consistent place/process for capturing the ideas.
These client experience insights need to be collected in the same system that holds all the other client feedback.
When looked at in aggregate, the business case for change emerges faster. For example, client grumbles about the billing process can be matched to employee suggestions about how to reduce billing-related admin.

Keep sight of all client-related feedback

That’s why at MyCustomerLens, we talk about collating and summarising all client-related feedback. It’s only by combining client and employee perspectives on the client experience, that firms can drive sustainable growth.

5 tips for improving employee feedback

  • Decide which role/department is responsible for gathering employee feedback on the client experience
  • Create both a short survey and a feedback form. This way you can ask for feedback and make it easy for employees to share when ideas are top of mind.
  • Don’t close down the ideas, ask open questions
  • Look for the big picture themes, don’t just pass feedback to the obvious department
  • Close the loop by regularly telling employees what you’re hearing, and how you’re taking action
Does your firm have a staff suggestion box, analogue or digital? If so, how often does it get opened?

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