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Customer Experience

How much does Culture and Employee Engagement impact the Customer Experience?


In this week's podcast we discuss culture & employee engagement and why it's so important to engage staff.

S1. EP2 - The CX Chat with Nathan Dring

A lot of people talk about culture within an organisation, but how do you define culture? And how do you make sure the values are espoused and lived out and not just words on a piece of paper. Plus when it comes to measuring employee engagement what’s best practice?

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Guest Speaker - Nathan Dring

Nathan Dring is a Learning & Engagement Specialist, passionate about helping businesses to transform. Having worked in L&OD for over a decade, he has experience in sales, service, SME and retail before setting up Nathan Dring and Associates Limited at the start of 2018. Connect with Nathan on LinkedIn.

If we focus on the people and getting them engaged then actually you’ll know that’s working because the the output metrics will start to look after themselves.

Discussion topics

  • How do you define culture?
  • Why is employee engagement is so important?
  • What can be done to engage staff?
  • Why do so many organisations focus on business targets and metrics but rarely measure employee engagement?
  • How does engagement impact our behaviours?


Simon Thorpe – Welcome to CX Chat with Matt and Simon. This is our second weekly podcast on all things customer experience. And if you’re new to our podcast series, we’re going to be talking about some of the hottest topics and biggest issues facing CX professionals right now. And we’re also going to be inviting some of the people that we think make the industry tick into the ‘pod booth’ that join the debate. My name is Simon, I’m gonna be host today, and as ever, I’m joined by my learned colleague, Matthew Dyer. And I think the best way to describe us is two blokes with bags of enthusiasm for CX, both with big opinions and lots of passion for the industry. Matty, how you doing?

Matt Dyer
– I’m well, Simon had a couple of days off this week. So looking after the kids, so I’m delighted to be back at work. And I’m so glad that I’m on this podcast with you. It’s a lot easier doing this I can say to you than managing two kids under two.

– The struggle is real, I know the feeling well, you come back to work for a rest, you really take your hat off to the full time parents out there. So we have got a fantastic theme today haven’t we we are going to be talking about employee engagement and culture and the impact that has on the customer experience industry. Very shortly we’re going to be introducing our new, new guest to the to the ‘pod booth’, a chap called Nathan Dring, but before we get there, and I think it’s probably worth just reiterating the point that we made last week that we’d love to hear from people, um when the when the podcasts are live, we’d love to hear your thoughts, your questions, you know, whether you have any ideas for different topics, anything that you want to hear from, we, you know, we want to when you hear from you so that we can integrate that into what we do, here on in. So shall we get on with it, Matty and introduce our guests this week. He is a People and Leadership Specialist, and in my opinion, one of the best out there. He’s ex Learning and Engagement lead, at Asda occasional stand up comic and overall international man of mystery. It’s Mr. Nathan Dring. Welcome, sir. How are you?

Nathan Dring
– I’m doing very well. Thank you for such a spectacular introduction.
Read the full transcript
Simon – You’re more than welcome. Great to have you in the ‘pod booth’. So before we crack on, how’s lockdown treating you? What have you been up to lately?
Nathan – So far, so good. Couple of wins, I’ve learned to make bread which is good, done a bit of gardening, which is good, downside is all the tasks I’ve been saying I don’t have time to do, my wife is reminding me that I now do have time to do so, so apart from that, it’s going well, um then there’s bits and pieces work wise as well which is quite exciting. So as well as this have also been asked to support an organisation called the Contact Centre Panel, and so couple of times a week, I am doing a YouTube Live broadcast of tips and things to help leaders so kind of looking at remote leadership and how you can continue to thrive and your teams can continue to thrive, deliver great customer service, when perhaps for some it’s quite a different way of working and being. So that’s another exciting project on the go as well.
Simon – Nice. And what about you, Matty?

– Well, yeah, I think it’s really good that we’ve got Nathan on the podcast, actually. I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact organisations, now that economically, lots of them are going to have to move to a remote first mantra to survive. But it sounds like Nathan, you’ve already got this covered in the YouTube channel. So I think organisations you probably want to go and have a look to see how we can handle this cultural shift.

Nathan – Trying to get it handled. I think one of the big things and you say it there Matt I think is this, so when you’re in a, you know, when you’re in the same building and you’re when you’re kind of face to face, you get those moments of serendipity where you happen to bump into someone so someone in your team, some that you manage, your boss, whatever it might be someone even in another team. And in those you get that, that’s when you get the human interactions, that’s when you get the human touch because you just maybe have a chat about something, anything, you know, what has been on telly, what you’ve been getting up to, etc. When you’re splitting remote, therefore physically remote, how do you stay connected? How do you get those moments of just human interaction and those that sort of, if you like, how do you force the serendipity? How do you make sure that that contact still happens because if you don’t get it you end up in a risk, where all you focus on is metrics and targets and kind of a very logical stuff and you lose a lot of the human element which let’s face it, is why a lot of us enjoy the work environments room, because of the people we’re with.

Simon – Yeah, no, that makes sense. And I think just from a perspective of kind of people talk a lot about culture within organisations, be interesting just to get your view of how do you kind of define culture? What’s your kind of take on that?

[How do you define culture?]

Nathan – Yeah, I do, is a real buzzword and it’s a it’s one of these risky things, isn’t it? You know, I can say culture, and just depending on our understanding, our minds can run to different places. You know, some people might think culture, that’s just the way we work the way we operate. Other people might think porcini and someone else might think yogurt. But for me, cultures, my favourite definition is, it’s the sum total of all the conversations that are taking place in an organisation. They might be official conversations, unofficial conversations, helpful conversations, in meetings over the coffee machine, walking out the building, positive, negative, whatever it might be, if you took a snapshot of all of those, then that’d be the best insight into, so what’s the culture like at the moment in this organisation?

Simon – You know, one of my favourite things that I read about, I’m a huge fan of Zappos, I imagine you probably are, as well, Nathan. And one of their values is create fun and a little weirdness. And that just speaks to me entirely. The idea of we, you know, we’re not we’re not all uniform in the same way, you know, the ability to create a little bit of squishiness and weirdness around the edges.

Nathan – And I think, I think that’s brilliant, I think the challenge people will have that though is, you can’t measure fun or weirdness. I know no one’s gonna have a funometer or weirdness-ometer. So if you start to make things and it’s very interesting, a lot of organisations do this. They have a lot of core values, but actually the values are intangible things. So then they end up focusing all their energy on the tangible stuff. So how then do you make sure that the values are espoused and lived out not just kind of a poster on a wall or bullet points in an interview or appraisal, how do you actually live them out and if the focus is always on the tangible, then the risk is you can actually lose sight of the real value stuff, which is actually what people connect with.

Simon – Yeah, I think just on that point, Nathan what I kind of come across a lot when I go into contact centres is this kind of the system and behaviour is kind of misaligned really to the company’s values and training’s often cited as a kind of an area where when they go for interview, the get go, the organisation talks a lot about learning being a big culture as part of that organisation. Yeah, when they obviously start into that business, they don’t typically get the training that they’re expecting and it’s not built in to kind of their daily workload. So very quickly from the get go, they don’t deliver against the kind of values that are expecting and quite quickly, you start to see the de-motivation within staff. And I’m not sure whether or not a lot of that linked and I guess is the question I’ve got to you is, is that linked to kind of the profit? Because when you see the top companies in the UK in terms of well, allegedly culture, Google, Facebook have got a bad persona externally, but they’ve obviously got a strong balance sheet. Does that enable them to kind of, I guess align to their values because they’ve got that buffer? What’s your thoughts?

[How do you bring people on board?]

Nathan – Yes. That’s a very interesting question. Actually. I think probably, what organisations do well when they bring people in, particularly is, is those first few weeks of your probation period and including you induction and training are similar to what you would expect of the organisation so what I’ve noticed is company will, their their website, their brand looks fun, exciting the job description makes it sound like it’s going to be a great exciting fun, full of, you know, be your own person, challenge, excite all that all that kind of a bit of fun bit of weirdness all of that and then they land day one and induction is is dry. It’s like near the bottom of Gandhi’s flip flop it’s just horrendous, so how do you then kind of bring people on board? And I think what what the likes of Facebook and Google do is that they will go after the hearts and minds piece early on. And it’s something as you’re not trying to copy but something that we tried to do at Asda just because we thought it made more sense to do was start with so all the trainings around values, behaviours, attitudes first, and then it was systems, tech and processes second, because when you distil it down, in essence in any contact centre, and it doesn’t have to be voice channel, but in essence, you’ve got two people having a conversation, we all might be virtual via chat or protracted over email, but it’s two people having a conversation and so if you can get people to understand well, what’s the value, what’s the heart, what’s the reason behind this conversation and then and then and then the the process more naturally follows and flows out of that. But if you just focus on the process, then you lose sight of the, the heart behind it. And I think where, where organisations do well is actually they kind of start at the heart and they get their hearts and mind bit aligned first of all, and then the other stuff kind of flows out of that more naturally, if that makes sense.

Simon – Yeah, it does. I also think you made a really good point earlier about, about measuring it. And when I was talking about creating fun and a little weirdness, you know, that doesn’t work for everyone and how do you know whether it’s working for the for the group and, you know, how do you know whether you’ve got the heart nailed? I mean, how did you do it at Asda, how were you, how are you tracking that? Because employee engagement is a is a funny thing, I mean, we talk about it endlessly in this in this industry, particularly aligned to customer experience, but but I still see so few businesses, measuring it continually. It’s still an HR function and, and, and they’re just not linking it, so what what have you seen by way of best practice Nathan?

[Tap into emotional connection with the organisation]

Nathan – Yeah, I think engagement has shifted it’s definitely better now. So it used to be your classic 20/30 questions, um, you’d have people chasing down people to complete the survey, which in itself, if someone can’t be bothered to complete the survey was really clear danger of a lack of engagement. But and then but then nine times out of 10 the things that we get spat out the end are this engagement survey doesn’t matter if you don’t change, or we need more microwaves and more car parking. And so then what you end up doing is that the focus of engagement survey is on the disenfranchised. So what they starting to do and there’s better ones now and there’s there’s some key questions out there now that start to kind of really tap into emotional connection with the organisation and you know, things that you do care about it, would you recommend it to a friend and that sort of stuff. So I think I think there’s some key things that in terms of Asda I don’t think we always got it right, I think probably a big thing is, the confidence to say that if we focus on the people and getting them engaged then actually the, you’ll know that’s working because the output metrics will start to look after themselves. So an analogy I use that quite often with with clients I chat with is you know, so if I drive from Leeds where I live now downtown Midlands to visit my folks, for example, if my entire journey on the M1 is me frustrated and tapping the speedometer tapping the rev counter, getting irritated at the engine screaming, but I’m not giving any consideration to what my feet are doing ie the input metrics of accelerated rate, collection change gear, people would say you’re a stupid driver. You can’t just tap the output dials and not give any thought to the input. And I think that’s a lot of what can happen is, you know, we said well, we need more of this, we need less of this, tap the dial, but actually, if we get around to, if we focus the people and doing these input things, right, the outputs actually will start to look after themselves. And so we intentionally did things with with a lot with the people to try and let them, let them engage in order that you’d start to see the the, the output matrix shift themselves a little bit, but you have to have really confident leaders to do that. Because people have to try, you have to be able to fail, and you can’t be labelled a failure, if you do.

Simon – Yeah, and I think that’s the problem with metrics as well because obviously, organisations typically have a strategy, which is quite abstract, isn’t it, but if you give metrics, kind of, it gives, well enables the strategy, I guess, to have some form. So good one for me that you see a lot of is the 80/20 rule, which obviously, is probably a bygone product, but if you know that’s the metric whatever you do, the organisation is going to deliver against that and try and deliver against that. But that specific, I guess, business decision, do they ever look at the downstream impact of that to agents and what that has from, I guess, a cultural perspective. So I guess too many calls are going to agents probably probably not gonna get the training they’re expecting to get because they’re trying to manage all the demand. And I think from a demote, demotivation perspective, that’s really high. So it’d be good to understand if businesses actually track the metrics against the employee engagement. Is that something that happens?

Nathan – I think, I think the smart ones do. Yeah, you’ll see I mean, they they say, was a few years back, some research was done and it broadly reckoned that for every 1% uplift, you get an engagement you get 2% uplift in productivity. So that’s from organisations who are doing it well, you can see that there’s some real gains to be had here. I think one of the challenges in language particularly that leaders uses, they talk about organisations uses, how can we engage, and they forget that actually engagement is something that people will choose, it’s an inward thing I choose to engage or choose not to. And so for as long as it’s kind of a spoon fed strategy, I think people always miss the mark, I think where, you know, so 16 years ago, I got married, now the reason my wife chose, I didn’t engage my wife, she chose to get engaged. My challenge, significant that was, was to make the proposition attractive enough, such as she choose, chose me. [Laughter] And I think that’s the same with organisations, we’ve got to do that thing of, okay, so we will, we’ll make this attractive enough so that you choose to engage so we’ll make the working environment we’ll make the connection to your role, we will will understand your motivational triggers. And we will land things on those so that you can choose to engage and choose to be motivated, as opposed to it being quite a parental with child thing where I can I will do this for you.

Simon – Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And just on that, for me, I see discretionary effort as a kind of a quite a big leading indicator in any of the kind of roles have you had, is that a metric that’s ever kind of tracked? And how would you kind of track that?

Nathan – Yeah. Now, that’s a really interesting balance, actually. And I think yes, you do have people who are very good for discretionary effort, and it’s a good thing to track, it’s a brilliant thing to recognise. You can however, go too far with it, where, you know, organisation, ‘X’ says that it will, you know, Simon was on his bank holiday with his family when he realised that the call centre had fallen over. So even though he hadn’t seen his family for a month, he left his children in the park on their own and went into the contact centre to help turn it around let’s all celebrate Simon. So, you end up actually, you can end up supporting and recognising to the extent whereby it actually it compromises on other values. And I think actually this is this is the whole magic, if you like the art and the science blend of leadership where some of it is hard and fast, yeah, this is a metric, this is something we need to land on. And then the other bit was how do I now embed that in, human behaviour, in values, in engagement in heart stuff as well. Because if I focus too heavily on either side, something goes wrong and something falls over.

Simon – Yeah, that makes that kind of makes a lot of sense.

[In any organisation you have three tiers]

Nathan – So and I guess my build on that as well will be if you consider any organisation in kind of three tiers, you have the the buzzing up for it, those who would put into special effort, your rock stars. You have your ones at the bottom who are broadly quiet, they find him into whinge about everyday come what may they like your your Harry Potter dementors he just suck the life force out everything and everyone and then in the middle, you’ve kind of got your your undecided to some days great, up for it, other days, less so. A lot of organisations, a lot leaders a lot of their energies drawn into that bottom third, those winching dementors if you like, and then what happens there is that you can invest loads of energy into them trying to turn them around but actually, they’ll always find something and in doing that, you those buzzing you superstars up at the top decide, you know what I don’t know why bother I’m putting all this effort in and not getting any recognition, any call out, any support. So then their energy starts to drop and they kind of fall in the middle bracket, the middle bracket, kind of recognise it if you want anything done if you want anything exciting if you want any attention, whinge so then they drop down and you start to get a downward trend in all of your energy levels and all your discretionary effort, motivation, enthusiasm, engagement. So actually, I think what a lot of leaders need to be brave enough to do so we will focus on those who are buzzing and at the top we’ll focus on our superstars with encouraging, enthuse, recognise, support all our high performers. Then those guys in the middle start to go actually know what that, that layer above looks quite an exciting place to be maybe I could up my game a little bit and be part of that. And so then you get this upward trend and the ones at the bottom, you get a few superstars who just shoot straight into the into the bottom bracket to the top, you’ll get some that will drift up in the middle as they kind of begrudgingly get on board, but you’ll get some who will just end up isolating themselves by choosing to never get on board and they’re the ones after the point, you recognise ok well, you are no longer the right fit from a culture perspective, from an engagement perspective from a contribution, so therefore, we need to look at something else for you. And it sounds a bit savage, but actually, I think that just by flipping where the energy of the leader goes, and putting it up at the top, can significantly help again in that getting more discretion effort, focusing on those people and driving great performance that way.

Simon – Isn’t one of the problems very similar to this continual challenge we have with linking CX with things like profits. So what I see a lot of in the market is employee engagement when you talk about that, too, people in our in our business, it tends to be managed by the HR function. It’s usually measured on an annualised basis, the data comes out too late, the changes that can be made are minimal etc, etc. But what certainly when you’re looking at a contact centre, surely you’ve got to be looking at measuring and looking at opportunities to improve continually, but I think the big problem is no one’s created that link. So if we can show the bean counters that for every, every one point or two points, we improve employee engagement that has a link to maybe one or two points, increasing CX or NPS or CSAT and then that subsequently links to an increase in spend or profitability or whatever that might be. Surely that’s got to be the key, because the more the bean counters realise that there is these, these kind of holistic links, the more they’re going to back us to spend more money on employee engagement. Because, you know, every time I go into a contact centre and I say to someone, you know, what do you do for employee engagement, it usually sounds a bit like ‘well Pat brings in some cakes once a week’ or ‘we have a dress up day’. It’s not you know, it’s not measured it’s not part of the strategic plan it’s just a bit more about how do we make you know the day to day that bit more bearable. Do you agree with that Nathan?

[Help people understand their value]

Nathan – Yeah, I do. I think [laughs] I’m smiling as you said about that, someone brings in a cake or my other favourite is when senior your big wigs have a have a meeting and then the the dried and slightly curled egg sandwiches are then put in the colleague rest area, [laughter] come and have a secondhand sandwich that’s just come out of the meeting. Yeah, yeah, I do think that there is a there isn’t that clear thread and I think that could be something that’s really done but I think, I guess there’s stages to that, I don’t know if so there’s drawing the link from customer experience to profitability. And I don’t know if every organisation has that. And then it’s the seeing the the influence of engagement on customer experience and and I think there’s kind of missing threads throughout that I think you’re you’re absolutely right. I think one of the other challenges as well is, particularly in complaints contact centres, you know, great agents who are really well engaged can rescue so many customers. But I don’t think they always understand the value of that. And I don’t I don’t think it’s very difficult for an organisation to, to measure and quantify what’s the amount of money that has been rescued today that we didn’t lose and I think if there’s, I don’t know, again, I don’t know how you do that. We used to, at Asda we, they used to talk about, you know, the lifetime spend of a customer and we used to kind of say to that, well, you know, if every time you answered an email pick up the phone and take on chat you are potentially rescuing 80% of that lifetime, spend 50% of their lifetime spend and you top that up over the number of interactions you have during the week. Just a week is almost like Asda say on day one here’s the company jet, crack on. And trying to kind of help people understand their value in that sense. So actually putting it in a monetary term for the agents can really help them draw the line, I think then your challenges, as you say, linking their engagement to the impact on customer experience, NPS, whatever that might be. And then drawing the line from NPS to profitability, I think more likely that second link is made, but I think you’re right there’s very little done on the first.

Simon – Yeah, it’s so hard, isn’t it? I mean, you just don’t want to, I think it’s got to feel natural, it’s a bit like culture to me. I know, recruitment plays a huge part in that and I know, you know, trying to get, you know, instinctively the right leadership process and all that sort of thing, but it’s got to feel natural, hasn’t it? I just wonder how much of this can be created or how much of it happens kind of organically. Do you have a view on that?

Nathan – Um, yeah, a bit of a view on it, I think a really interesting thing about the way humans behave is we often we treat people as if we are logical, functioning beings. So, think in the contact centre world you can be trained, you then have a process and then you have a target or logic, logic logic, I get it, I understand it. But actually we act far more they recon, about 80% of human behaviour is influenced out of emotion. There’s a neurologist chap called Donald Coulomb, who was quoted as saying, the single greatest difference between logic and emotion is that logic will lead us to conclusions but emotion leads to actions. So, I was going to pondering that and putting that in context of my life, October last year took my family up to Blackpool see the illuminations my six year old lad was desperate to go up the tower. I’m not a fan of heights, but you know, I agreed. And once I got over the price, I agreed. And so we’re going up the tower and the lady in the lift is giving her kind of visitor shtick about, when we get out the lift, we’re at 500 foot odd, and there’s a glass viewing floor. The glass viewing floor can take five tonnes, two elephants could stand on that ever want to be safe. So then the doors open and logic kicks in and logic says that can take five tonnes, I’m not five tonnes. And then emotion says, nope, there’s, there’s no way I’m standing on that floor. And when I see my two kids lay splayed on their bellies on the floor, I can’t help but feel clammy and a bit sick emotion in it because we’re driven out of emotion. And I think this is something that people are nervous to do, leaders are nervous to do or don’t know how to do, because emotion drives this kind of natural behaviour, but we try and force people down a logic route of here’s some logical understanding, here’s a logical process, even quality scores here are 20 logical statements that we need you or logical hoops, we need you to jump through. And then at the end, we will you know, we’ll metric the hell out of you. People aren’t wired like that so I think I think we we misalign how we want people to behave with actually how human beings naturally behave.

Simon – I massively agree with that. I think for my years of working in customer insight, we tend to just measure often what’s easy or readily available or logical as you say, because it’s, it’s more straightforward. It goes onto a tick sheet. You know, it’s it can be processed, but the, the kind of emotional, the subjective, is the thing that we get so wrong and so often.

[From a customer point of view, what’s the difference between 85% or 83%?]

Nathan – I can’t think whose quote it is, but there’s a brilliant one that says about, measure what you value, don’t value what you measure. I think we get so hooked on like to go back to Matt’s point earlier about the 80/20 note, we’re still hooked on that, even though that might not necessarily matter. You know, contact centres can you hit 85% on your quality? Well, from a customer point of view, what’s the difference between 85% or 83%? And again, that that whole model of quality, which so many places are wedded to, if my memory serves correct that comes from the car manufacturing industry where we want every car that pops off the end of the production line to be the same so here’s a 20 part checklist. And, so now let’s drop that into contact centres and it is ludicrous. I mean, what, we haven’t got for this is a conversation that we’re having, I’ve not got, I can assure you a 20 point checklist to make sure that our conversation that we’re recording now is a good conversation, it’s just a conversation.

Simon – It’s crackers isn’t it. I mean, it really, really plays into last week’s podcast in terms of the the emotional impact. I mean, you know, there’s all this research now that showcases how, you know, customers. Again, there’s another quote, rather doing a bit quote off but you know, they don’t remember, you know, all they’re remembering is how you made them feel not what you did or you know, the process you went through, but that how you made them feel that’s the lasting memory. That’s the thing that will drive that loyalty and and either be a kind of negative memory or a positive memory. So, yeah, we’ve got to get that right.

Matt – Just on that Simon, what does create, I guess, that emotion in that connection? Because I know a lot of people have been quoting here, but that phrase that people leave managers, not companies. So is it a big kind of onus on the way the supervisors are kind of engaging with their employees? And is it an onus on the organization’s to help the supervisors coach in a way that’s maybe different and not focus so much on the metrics as a mechanism to drive that more positive engagement?

Simon – Matt, I tell you what I, to answer that I saw one of the most successful employee engagement pieces of work I’ve ever seen, actually, all fell down to the idea of employees being listened to. So that was a survey that, that I was part of a project on and it was to measure employee engagements, well-being, did people have the right tools, etc, etc. And, you know, standard survey done through email, nothing particularly different about it. But the way that the organisation took that information in was they collated all of that information, they then held working groups with different pockets of advisors and frontline staff to explain the results. And then they created this huge big wall, massive wall, you know, metres and metres wall and the red there was a rag statement basically. So everything in red was really hard to do and explained why it was hard to do. Everything in amber was stuff that was you know, challenging, but we’ll work on it collectively. Everything green was really easy. Like we want new teabags and you know, that sort of thing. And, by nature of it, every time anything happened, and changed for the benefit. Someone was asked to go up and peel one of these stickers off the wall and the visual nature of everyone being part of this collective and people feeling like they were listened to and creating this kind of common, common direction where we’re all working towards the same thing had a huge impact on employee engagement. In fact, the scores just rocketed. The survey uptake rocketed. You know, it really provided an immediate impact, just by showing people that they’re, they’re being listened to and part of that collective. Nathan, have you seen anything like that?

[It can be frustrating when there’s a mismatch between the organisational culture and the culture needed for frontline staff to be their best]

Nathan – Yeah, I’ve seen things like that, I think they’re, they’re really interesting. I think they’re really good. I think, again, part of the challenge, for something like that, I think what I’d be keen to say is so in teams as agents, what are the things you can do for yourself, so not cut because otherwise, you get the will we look upwards and we look to our leader or do that our boss will do that and I’ll be upset if they don’t. So actually, if there are certain things, what are the things that you know, a team leader could say, hey, within your team, what can we fix? What, what can we do what’s great, what new ideas that we can try out so actually that idea seed growth comes from the agents as a as an interesting start point. So I’ve seen that as an as one quite useful. Another thing I’ve done with a few of my clients is a really simple and we call this like a cultural dip check. Because again, to that point, Matt made earlier about, you know, we’ve got a strategy that we want to head for and there are certain things that align to that. So then what quite often happen is there’ll be the view of, in order to land on this strategy, we need this culture, whatever it might be. And usually that’s linked to some sort of values and listening and those sorts of things. So there’s a there’s a few simple questions you can do. So we do with clients where you talk about so? And he says, it’s the front line as well. But what’s the what’s the culture like right now, if you do, and you do this in just three words, three words that describe the culture now. And you get that from across the piece, and then you get word clouds on it, just what’s the prevailing feeling on that? Then the next question is quite key, and what culture do you need it to be in order for you to be at your best. Because sometimes you get this thing whereby leadership will say we want the culture to be like this. And actually the frontline guys go, no, no, if you want me to be at my best, I need to be like this. And there can be if there’s a mismatch there, it can be very frustrating because leadership with the best of intent of trying to create something that in their view is amazing. And yet, frontline guys go, no, that’s not what I need. If you really want me on my peak, I want it a little bit more like this. So there’s some interesting things you can do and diagnostic to show that and you can you can branch out for leaders and non so you can start to see where the connection is and where the disconnect is. And then we kind of overlay in some survey questions around what help you need what you’re good at bit of appreciative inquiry and stuff to start to kind of figure out well, where are we now and how can we get to the point we need to so I think there are a couple but visuals to your point Simon can be really strong and more healthy and helpful visuals as opposed to just ticker tape of queuing customers or red score on AHT sorts of things, the more helpful it can be, again, to connect with a helpful human emotion, not generate stress, the better.

Simon – I love that idea, I’m stealing that Nathan, if you don’t mind, and I’m sure the listeners will be as well.

Nathan – Which one are you stealing just for clarity? [Laughs]

Simon – Yeah, that’s brilliant. That’s brilliant. Another fantastic debate we’ve had today on our second episode of the podcast, I think everyone will agree Nathan has been an outstanding guest as I knew he would be. Nathan it really appreciate you joining us, I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. What we do on every podcast is put our guests a little bit on the spot and ask them for two or three tips that they leave our listeners with, on the theme, you know, the low hanging fruit the things that you’d recommend, you know, maybe things to think about. Yeah, so, you know, on that theme of culture employee engagement, what would you recommend people go away and consider?

Three top tips on culture and employee engagement

Nathan – Okay. Yeah, thanks for putting on the spot. Right. So I think, I think a key one is genuinely consider what you measure. You know, there are so many measures in the contact centre and actually some are conflicting. So, you know, if you want to have brilliant customer experience, then you might not necessarily hammer down AHT, so, so have a bit of a consideration around that. There’s a bit of a myth where you just chase green, you know, and everything’s green, everything’s green. We used to refer to them as watermelon metrics, and it’s all green on the outside, but it’s red as soon as you look within the skin. So, I think that’d be one thing, consider what you measure. I think the second thing is understand your people like get to know them, actually understand them, not just as, you know, producers of work but as people, which is the challenge of now without that serendipity but make a point to get to know you people understand what it is that they choose to engage with, understand what it is that it is a motivational trigger for them and lay it out for them so they can really be their best. And then the third thing is share some stories of success. So we talked before about what you can measure what you can’t measure the stuff, you can’t measure your intangible stuff, you can definitely talk about it and we do as humans we talk about in story. You know, if you’d said to me, Simon, Nathan, do your kids love you? And I said, yeah, at the moment, they love me 47% but last week, it was 39% you’d say I was talking rubbish. If I wanted to show that they do I’d tell you a story because that’s what we do as human beings we evidence with stories, so evidence stories and keep them positive. Again, some contact centres fall into an organization’s broader fall into the trap of being like that old adage of, it’s like the cinema projectionist. You know, you go to the cinema, the cinema projectionists does a great job, no one notices no one gives them any thought but the one day they screw up just a tiny bit, that’s all everyone’s talking about and the risk is often coaching and all that sort of stuff insights is about things having gone wrong, but you know, get into stories of where people are doing really well share success stories, as many as you can find, you should be able to look for them left, right and centre, call them out, because in that as well, you have some brilliant insights about what it is we’re like when we’re really at our best and then we can build on and do more of that stuff.

Simon – Brilliant top top tips. Thank you Nathan, personal recommendation from me, the CEO of Zappos, who I’m a big fan of wrote a great book called Delivering Happiness. Just on Nathan’s point there, lots of brilliant stories and ideas and concepts. It’s not gonna be for everyone, but there’s some some really interesting ideas in there. It’s very funny as well. Nathan, once again, big thank you. Matty how’ve you found today’s podcast?

Matt – Absolutely brilliant. Some of the nuggets we’ve got from Nathan have been tip top. So yeah, thanks very much for your time Nathan it, really enjoyed it.

Simon – The watermelon metric that’s gonna last with me forever.

Matt – That’s gonna go down in folklore I think. [Laughs]

Simon – Nathan, always a pleasure, Matty until next time, thank you very much for listening and look for us on the social media and Nathan, I’m sure would be thrilled if you watch his, his YouTube Live that is distributing at the moment and we’ll put all of our contact details as always on the podcast promo. Thanks again. Stay safe.

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