Why HR Services Should Mimic B2C Experiences

“What does great HR service look like?”

This was the question a colleague of mine posed to a group of HR leaders at a recent event.  The first person to respond enthusiastically said “High Touch”!  This response was immediately followed by another attendee saying the following:

“Really?  Good service to me is high touch when I need it.  For example, I have the Starbucks app on my phone and every morning, my coffee is ready for me when I walk into my local shop.  And I don’t have to speak to a single person.  That is a good customer experience for me.”

This response generated nods of agreement from everyone in the group including the gentleman who had originally responded to the question.  Since I heard this story, I have been thinking a lot about what implications this has for HR professionals as they look to transform and modernize their HR service delivery.  How do the experiences we have in our personal lives impact our expectations for how we want to be supported by our employers?

Jen Stroud 2

It seems like every week we hear about some new technology or application designed to make our lives easier and more efficient. Businesses are constantly coming up with ways to allow consumers to be self reliant and less dependent on them for support.  And consumers, for the most part, are taking full advantage of these tools and loving it.

Consider a day in the life of YOU.  How often does technology help you get things done in your personal life?  Yesterday, I made a reservation at local restaurant for my husband’s birthday using Open Table, I got a ride to a local event with Uber in order to avoid having to drive in rush hour traffic and I bought and downloaded a new audio book from Amazon.  Each experience was fast, simple and very satisfying from a consumer perspective.  Not once did I speak with a someone.  It wasn’t necessary.

However, the other day, I got a call from one of my credit card providers.  They were calling me because they expected that my credit card had been compromised and they wanted to verify a few transactions.  After a few minutes, it became very apparent that my card information had indeed been stolen and someone had made a few very large purchases.  In just a few minutes, the customer service agent was able to cancel my card and reissue me a new one.  It was a frustrating experience, in that no one wants to have their personal finances compromised in such a way, but I was a very happy consumer.  The interaction wasn’t very long but I felt as though someone was looking out for my best interests and took the time to speak to me personally about something critically important to me and my family.  A few days later, the same customer service agent called to ensure I had received my new card and asked if I had any questions.  High marks for the credit card company.  The experience would not have been as positive had it been completely automated.

When We Bring Our Personal Experiences to Work

So, how do consumer experiences like these impact the world of Human Resources?  They impact HR because employees bring their consumer experiences to work with them every day.  Their consumer experiences impact their expectations for how they get services and support from their employer and especially HR.  Employees expect to be able to easily get the iState of Work 3nformation and support they need about company policies, benefits, time off, etc.  And they expect their experience to be high tech and modern from the beginning when they decide to join an organization.  This is when an employee begins to form an opinion about a company and whether or not they have a long-term future with that organization.  If the recruitment and on-boarding process is very manual and difficult to navigate, the employee’s perception of the organization begins to deteriorate immediately.  If that highly administrative tendency continues after day one, employees soon begin to think about other career options.

In a recent study my company conducted, managers said more often than not consumer services are easy to request, are delivered quickly, provide automatic notifications and can be ordered and tracked on a mobile device.  However, the same managers did not give high marks to workplace services such as enrolling for benefits, finding answers to basic questions and requesting such services as tuition reimbursement. This delivery gap leads to an employee productivity drain, a negative employment brand and attrition. Read the full report here.

How closely do your company’s HR services mimic the consumer experience?

Jen Stroud
Jen Stroud is passionate about inspiring HR leaders to transform the employee experience and how work gets done in HR. She comes to ServiceNow from TeleTech where she spent the past 10 years in HR and most recently was the Executive Director of Human Capital Services. In this role, Jen led an enterprise HR transformation initiative, transitioning the company from a decentralized HR support model to a Shared Services operating model.

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