It stands to reason than more engaged employees would result in more engaged customers. Yet, according to a new survey, ineffective communications tools (or none at all) can also have wide-ranging consequences across the workplace–with many of them presenting a roadblock to fostering employee engagement and a negative bottom line impact when employees have direct contact with customers.
The survey, executed by CITE Research but commissioned by RingCentral, a provider of global enterprise cloud communications, collaboration and contact-center solutions, included responses from 2,000 customer-facing employees in the U.S., UK and Australia. It found:
- Seventy-five percent of customer-facing employees say they can’t effectively serve customers because of “disjointed communications technologies” making it difficult to collaborate with coworkers, hindering productivity, and making them unhappy at work.
- Bad technology hurts work relationships: 50 percent of participants say they are rude to coworkers due to frustration with communication tools at work.
- Poor technology tools also drive workers away, as one in five Gen Y and Gen Zers say bad technology in the workplace prompts them to consider quitting.
- Ninety-one percent of employees believe a seamless platform that lets them navigate between all the ways they communicate and collaborate with coworkers and customers would make customers happier, which in turn would drive greater employee job satisfaction and happiness.
- Eighty-six percent of employees surveyed agree that a seamless communications platform would increase company profitability, and 83 percent would stay longer with a company if they had those tools.
Neha Mirchandani, vice president at RingCentral, says the survey sheds light on the critical yet often overlooked role of communications technology in driving employee engagement.
“In today’s digital workplace, the technology employees use affects workflow and their ability to do their jobs efficiently, which directly plays into their happiness at work and in their personal lives,” she says. Mirchandani adds that while HR leaders often prioritize more recent perks–like free lunches, ping-pong tables and pets at work–they need to pay more attention to the communications technology their IT counterparts provide and its impact on employee engagement.
Along those lines, the survey data shows that IT leaders tasked with driving digital transformation tend to focus on the customer experience, as 76 percent of survey respondents say the employee experience is ignored.
“HR leaders need to put a spotlight on the impact of digital transformation on employees,” she says.
Mirchandani explains that it’s not just the employees that suffer from disjointed communications workflow–this also negatively impacts customer satisfaction, and as a result, a company’s bottom line.
“It’s this last point that should motivate HR and IT leaders to collaborate on technology strategies that benefit both employees and customers,” she says, adding that those two entities need to partner closely and take a more holistic and strategic approach to employee engagement that is inclusive of both technology and people approaches.
“Technology has a vital role to play in breaking down communication-workflow silos,” says Kira Makagon, RingCentral’s executive vice president of innovation. “The survey confirms that employee engagement has a direct impact on customer engagement–and drastically boosts customer retention and business profitability.”