It's clear to see experience management is a current and popular subject. Organisations love the clarifying ideas it brings to understanding how employees and customers feel and why they feel this way. Knowing that being able to improve experience means being able to improve business raises heads. However, the difficulty arises when it comes to implementing experience management. It is a relatively new field in the world of work. It's different, it's change, and that's a scary word.
Why is Change Scary?
We mean that literally, change triggers our amygdala, the fight or flight response module, because change represents one of the most common fear in people, that of the unknown. People are programmed for routine, and change represents a break from the safety of it.
Let's look at this from the perspective that is probably most common for our partners when designing and implementing XLAs, the IT department. Before XLAs, IT departments were held to standard over the fulfillment of SLAs. As long as tickets were completed on time and services were available for 99.99% of the time, IT teams were deemed to be performing well. Then came the idea that whilst IT teams were performing their jobs well, employees in the wider organisation began expressing negative sentiment about their experience of IT. Services were green but sentiment was red, a classic watermelon effect. Therefore, in order to ensure they're employees could be as comfortable and productive as possible with their technology, they needed to understand current sentiment, and this is where it gets a bit more complicated.
You may think that sentiment gathering can be as straightforward as collecting data from any existing Csat surveys, but this isn't the case. Satisfactions surveys tend to gather data from one point in time - after a ticket has closed. In order to understand the rise and fall of sentiment, organisations need to be gathering sentiment at a regular interval, and not only after a ticket is closed. Here lies the challenge, experience represents a new and human-centred field to introduce to a world where the department is already focusing its attention on the tech side. The change of experience management, not to mention the education, new roles and tasks that come with it, represents a previously little heard of field. The thoughts around the benefits, practicalities, and effort, required to implement this field can be scary, and compounded particularly by the fact the field isn't well known.
You can understand, then, why experience management can be a daunting prospect for organisations who have not done it before. There may be concerns around job change that the employees at the head of the initiative have, confusion around the additional tasks and fear of not being able to live up to expectations. It's no wonder that change is scary.
Why is Change Needed?
However, despite the anxiety and going against our human appreciation for routine and safety, change is needed to evolve. That's the key word here - evolve. Change has brought around technological and cultural improvements. In a business sense, change encourages innovation, skill development and higher employee morale. Interestingly enough, these are the same aspects that we're afraid of because we're unsure of if these changes will be successful. The risks exist, an initiative may become shelfware and seen as a waste of resources.
However, we know the rewards from experience management outweigh the risks. Having a good experience with IT makes employees more comfortable and happy. They are more enabled to do their job and maintain optimum productivity. A good experience also encourages employee retention when employees feel that their organisation is listening to their wants and needs. All of these factors go on to influence organisational profitability.
Linked to point above, this change is required to match the current attitudes to work held by the growing workforce of Gen Z. Of this generation, money isn't necessarily the main motivating factor; other aspects of work are being seeked out. Two that are reported often are a sense of community and for an organisation's values to align with their own.
From these 2 aspects, you can understand why experience is so important. To focus just on services may give the impression that thought is only being given to the availability and functionality of services, regardless of how the employee feels about them. What once may have seemed appropriate can now seem as though organisations are saying 'the services are working, therefore you can as well'. With a generation that is more socially aware and often dubbed the 'sensitive' generation, thinking deeply about the human experience of work isn't going to match well to an organisation that appears to only concern itself with how well the technology is performing. It's likely in this situation that employee retention of Gen Z, now the largest demographic on earth according the New York Post, as the values of the business appears not to align with theirs.
What can be Done?
We know change is scary, we know it derives from the relative modernity of experience management, but we also know it should be happening. If change is going to occur in any organisation, there needs to exist the culture for it to do so. In society at large, change influences culture but it is also encouraged by it. It is when groups of people or individuals with the willingness and forethought for innovative ideas act that beneficial change takes place. So how can experience management become embedded in an organisation's culture? The first answer is awareness.
Organisations need to become aware of experience management, whether this be management reading up on the subject of experience and experience level agreements (XLAs) through us or one of our partner organisations. These illuminating moments galvanise our customers and encourage them to sing the praises of experience in their own organisation. This gets the ball rolling, leaders can motivate their organisation first by sharing such details and embedding the information they've acquired into their teams. However, there needs to be a culture of open communication and transparency for this to happen. What happens if this doesn't yet exist in our organisation?
Using behavioural science, we can find the tools to associate between what drives behaviour in our organisation to strategies that drive change, illustrated well by Behaviour Thinking Lab, Behav. When we work to devise specific strategies to transform the key drivers behind our employees into real change, we work can to create an atmosphere where information exchange and ideas becomes a norm. Understanding experience management and going back to your organisation is a great first step. Understand what drives the people who may authorise an experience management project and try to deliver this information in a way that suits their key driver. With this, not only will they understand the information you're delivering, but may start to really considering its place in the organisation.
Everyone at your organisation has an experience of you. You only need to ask yourself, do I want to make it the best it can be, and how can I get there? We mentioned early on that education and awareness is the first step towards improving experience. We and our fantastic team of ATOs can help in this. You can search for the right partner for you on our Find a Partner page. Alternatively, you can contact us for more information.