CATALYST Issue 1 - Page 16

Digital Innovation On the importance of proactive communication Kenny Bain (KB): The customer is now in control of the dialogue, which is why it’s the Age of the Customer. The key to this is the proliferation of communication channels. Any customer interaction can be amplified and heard by many. This is where the need to manage the customer’s experience comes in, because more and more businesses will have to differentiate on the experience they give customers. Because of that amplification, advocating your brand becomes really important; as well as a negative experience being amplified, you can also amplify positive experiences and businesses can grow on the back of that. Jeremy Tipper (JT): Ovo Energy is a good example. As a challenger brand, it’s being built on significantly better customer experience in an industry that is not particularly well regarded for great customer experience. KB: Yes, and HomeServe rebranded four or five years ago on the back of a ‘customer first’ programme; putting customer experience at the heart of its business. Living and breathing that message was front and centre of their rebirth and they’ve grown exponentially on the back of that. (See feature, p20) Jen Morris (JM): They’re open about it. They had a record-breaking fine, a dire experience with customers, and knew they had to change. They now listen to their employees as much as to their customers and say “tell us anything; if it’s not right for customers, we’ll change it”. KB: Your people arguably become more important when you have so many communication channels; you need to arm them with the right tools “You’re no longer the owners of your brand, you’re the curators of the experience” 16 and information for them to respond consistently across each of the channels that might be put in the spotlight. On the need for consistency JM: Customers now are so savvy, they know if a brand is trying to hoodwink them and will research it; they’ll listen to other consumers more than the brand. Every channel you communicate through has to give a consistent message. KB: Taking the negative United Airlines example, they were too quick to go to the media, when they didn’t have the facts and came out with the wrong message. The images of the bloodied passenger had already gone viral. It might be an extreme example, but it increases the importance of the employee engagement piece. On extending consumer engagement principles to candidate experience KB: We’re co-developing a candidate experience proposition, tracking the feedback of the candidate’s interaction with a business as it goes through recruitment, hiring and onboarding. JT: The context is that, as consumers, our experience is getting better by the day (think one-click buy at Amazon), so our expectations of organisations and how they treat us is ever increasing. Those extraordinary consumer experiences raise standards and there’s a growing expectation among candidates that their experiences should be just as good. We thought about that in the context of the candidate journey for which we are accountable on behalf of our customers, and also how we get feedback from candidates. And it has to be said that today, it’s not a particularly dynamic or insightful process. Traditionally, we’ve surveyed candidates when they’ve either got the job or have exited the process. That gives insight into how they’re feeling, but it’s not something we can act upon, because it’s retrospective. We saw what Rant & Rave is doing to help organisations gain real-time customer feedback and sentiment on their journeys as consumers, and their “As consumers, our experience is getting better by the day, so our expectations of organisations and how they treat us is ever increasing” interactions with companies, and thought “how can we apply that model to the candidate journey?” Rew Golding (RG): Expectations are sky-high, and acquiring and retaining talent is crucial. It creates an opportunity to take our consumer best practice and understanding of working with brands such as easyJet and HSBC and move that into recruitment. It’s heartening that Alexander Mann Solutions saw the value in this real-time, actionable, emotional capture opportunity. We’ve co-developed a proposition that looks at measuring that candidate journey and understanding how it can work for Talent Collective and its clients. JT: Also, if you think about candidates going through a recruitment experience with a company, often, they are also existing or potential consumers of that brand; so the candidate journey could cause a positive or negative perception, or change their view towards that organisation and its products or services. Virgin Media assessed the impact of a negative candidate journey on the resigning of Virgin Media accounts. A number of people who expressed that they’d had a negative experience from a recruitment standpoint cancelled their accounts: so there’s a direct financial correlation between a bad experience as a candidate and the implications for the business from financial perspective, and its ability to retain customers. On taking swift action RG: Our software-as-a-service solution is predicated on a real-time basis, and we use different communication channels. JM: If you capture feedback at the point