India has one of the fastest-growing fintech markets globally, with the highest fintech adoption rate. Even as developments such as mergers of ten public sector banks began to take shape, the pandemic probably bolstered the efforts to improve digitisation.
Several banks worked extensively on innovating up-selling and cross-selling of products and services at a time when ATMs were filled to the brim with minimal cash withdrawals and people relied on online banking options and wallets. Larger financial companies began acquiring smaller ones and systems started working towards achieving efficiencies as the unlocking of services began in the country. There was a definite rise in the use of cloud services and centralisation of online financial transactions that enjoyed wide adoption across various demographics – a task that would have otherwise been herculean in pre-Covid times.
With the dawn of this new year, now is the perfect time for not just the public sector banks, but all financial institutions to leverage the growing base of fintech users, which is pegged at about 1.2 billion smartphone users. So how does one go about doing this? Can you just rely on meeting the market with digital solutions? Strategically, competitors can match your price and your products, and even your digital solutions easily, but matching your culture will be very difficult. It cannot be a better time for you to leverage on your most powerful stakeholder – your employees – to deliver on what makes you stand apart from the rest of the competition, which is your Unique Value Proposition.
Over the last year when customers were battling out through the lockdown owing to the pandemic, there was an imminent need to enhance savings in safer spaces and an increased incline towards digital banking. Even as reports on an improvement in liquid cash circulation trickled through the media, the culture of digital banking has essentially strengthened. This means that practically all financial institutions not only need to have a secure digital platform in place but also ramp up their staff’s ability to cater to these new digital demands with ease and ensure that customers enjoy a seamless great experience at every point of interaction.
To provide customers with a great experience, organisations need to internally align staff to their end goal. Essentially, organisations need to now begin focussing heavily on employee engagement and employee experience to ensure that their staff across all levels transfer positive emotions to their customers.
So what are the essentials to consider when turbocharging your employee engagement? Let’s find out.
1. Design your employee engagement program with the end goal in mind.
It is extremely important that your staff completely align with your organisation’s end goal. This means that they should not only intellectually understand the organisation’s direction, but also every aspect of the strategy to achieve this goal. Hence, design your employee engagement program by clearly outlining the performance metrics of each level of the staff across each department. Analyse your organisation’s culture and tie up all the threads to ensure every department is in synchronisation with each other and are equipped to cross-sell not just products and services, but enhanced customer experiences too. And remember, this is the ultimate pathway to deliver a great customer experience, so sell your strategy to your staff, not instruct.
2. Without involvement there is no commitment.
Leadership needs to play a key role right from the initial stages of the employee experience program. For this, it is extremely important to listen to every feedback that each and every employee provides and have clear discussions with staff before freezing on an action plan. It is also extremely important for staff to believe in your strategy, so show them how they will benefit by aligning to the organisation’s goal. Is there a financial benefit? Educational benefit? Career growth? Let them know what it is via a transparent conversation. Finally, involve your staff in the development of new ways to improve the customer experience.
3. Leaders across teams must collaborate.
The best definition of culture I have seen is – Culture is the way we do things. Employee engagement is not the sole job of the HR department. Leadership plays a critical role as staff replicate their behaviour and focus on aspects important to their leaders. It is the bounden duty of every employee to be involved in this program for the organisation to benefit. Through my experience of over 30 years, I have witnessed a waterfall effect of leadership on their teams. If a leader displays a silo mentality, so will the staff. If a leader displays teamwork, the team works as a cohesive force. Let me narrate this incident from a leadership workshop that I had conducted for an Australian major a few years ago.
The heads of marketing and sales were at loggerheads with each other and the tension was visibly felt even during the training program. Several conversations made me realise that this tension between these two leaders had a visible impact on their respective teams as well. Considering this was a large organisation, the sizes of their teams were large too. The impact of the animosity between these two leaders led to the teams under them also building a wall of incompatibility between themselves. Can you imagine the impact on an organisation’s growth when such large teams do not work in cohesion, and rather look for opportunities to pull one another down?
Going back to this workshop, during the tea break I specifically called for a chat with these two leaders and said, “I can see visible tension between you both. If I have to ask you individually if there is one thing you can do to help the other’s team perform better, what would it be?” When both leaders outlined how their team could add value to the other’s, the tension began to dissipate. Over the next few months not only did I hear wonderful success stories of both these teams, but the organisation’s customer experience delivery also began to grow visibly well.
Hence, it is extremely important for the leadership to iron out differences via amicable dialogue and work as a cohesive force that helps drive their entire team and the entire organisation at a larger level towards the common goal.
4. Follow the drumbeat.
During the days of the world war, large ships were rowed by hundreds of men who set their oars to a rhythm and sailed across large distances. The men moved the oars following the beats of a drum. A slower drumbeat meant a slower movement of the oars, a faster one intended them to row at that speed.
Once your strategy is set and all your employees are aligned to the new CX culture, you need to ensure that you have a constant drumbeat that encourages your staff to move in the direction of your strategy. These can be via internal announcements, remunerations, rewards and recognitions, upskilling programs – and most importantly by equipping them with well-defined discretionary powers that encourages them to go above and beyond to deliver a great customer experience. Most importantly, you need to establish a strong measurement to check the progress of your program consistently and ensure you achieve your strategic targets.
In my experience, I have found that organisations that have a great employee engagement culture and deliver visibly happy employee experience benefit with a great customer experience delivery too. Fundamentally they go above and beyond. This is because their staff are self-driven to help the brand achieve its goal. Once this culture is established in an organisation, there is no looking back because loyal employees create loyal customers.