Don’t Neglect Your Frontline Employees: Fix Disjointed Communications Technologies


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Our new survey explores the factors that contribute to great customer and employee experiences. In our blog post last week we examined the results, explored how a seamless communications platform can help shrink the gap between customer expectations and a company’s ability to respond effectively, and in so doing increase overall customer satisfaction and company profitability.

Our research uncovered how the customer experience is impacted by the communications challenges frontline employees face. Let’s take a deeper dive into the frontline employee experience, as well as what companies can do to better engage and support them.

The gap between expectation and reality

For most companies, the gap is significant between what frontline employees need to be successful and the tools they actually have at their disposal. At the heart of this gap are two primary challenges: siloed data and disjointed communications technologies.

It seems obvious that employees need historical data about a customer’s previous interactions to provide the best possible service, but 67% of frontline employees do not have such access. Compounding the problem, 63% are not aware of customer interactions on other communication channels. As customers have an increasing number of digital channels at their disposal—email, text and in-app messaging, or traditional phone calls—the inability of customer support employees to access historical data from these interactions not only has negative consequences for customer satisfaction, but also for frontline employees can’t deliver on customer expectations.

When internal communications are likewise disjointed, the challenge multiplies. Sixty-six percent of frontline employees experience frequent difficulty when using communications tools to bring in an internal expert to help resolve a customer issue. And 64% can’t add a coworker to the customer communication channel at all. So they end up  toggling between apps to get the help they need, all while the customer is kept waiting.

The chain reaction

When the communication expectations of frontline employees are not met, the resulting impact creates a domino effect. Customer service suffers when frontline employees have difficulty collaborating with coworkers, according to 75% of respondents. Nearly the same amount (77%) say their disjointed experiences force them to frequently put customers through excessive service times.

One of the most far-reaching side effects is a drop in employee happiness, as reported by the vast majority of respondents. Seventy-five percent of employees become frustrated with their jobs and with the company when poor communications tools hinder their productivity. Half say their frustration leads them to behave rudely to coworkers, friends, and family.

A seamless communications solution solves it all

While technology is at the heart of these problems, it is also the solution. Our research indicates leaders in IT, contact centers, and lines of business need to invest in communications tools that address customer-facing employee needs. Digital transformation prioritizes the customer experience, claim 75% of our respondents, but not the employee experience. Meeting employees’ expectations requires creating a seamless communications workflow that allows them to serve customers effectively and collaborate with coworkers.

An overwhelming majority of employees—92%—agree that the solution to their current problems is an integrated communications and collaboration platform that enables them to seamlessly communicate with both coworkers and customers. A unified solution will allow frontline workers to service customers on any channel, at any time, and engage coworkers for help in resolving issues efficiently. The outcome of that solution, according to 83% of respondents, is increase employee retention.  

But the story doesn’t end there. Our study also shows that investing in your frontline employees directly affects customer satisfaction. In fact, 89% of those polled said that providing frontline employees with the right communications technology will improve the overall customer experience.

In our next post, we’ll examine how customer and employee engagement can have a positive or negative impact on the customer experience—and your bottom line.

To learn more about the research, read the eBook: “Overcoming the Digital Age Disconnect.”

Originally published Mar 06, 2019, updated Jan 30, 2023

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