Merging Your Company’s Online and Offline Customer Experience

By CEO Jim Annis

Your customers are everywhere. You can’t be everywhere (until we get this cloning just right), but you can be everywhere your customers are. How many “places” did you visit today? Physical bricks and mortar location? Online store? Social media? Database aggregator? An app? Did these “locations” all represent multiple, unrelated companies? Or one company in each location? This is where it gets tricky to manage, especially from an HR and recruiting perspective. Why? Customers, including prospective employees, have more choices than ever when it comes to how they want to get information on a product, service or new employer.

 

The Role of HR

Successful companies understand that positive customer experiences start with great employee experiences. Customer service is the Human Resources (HR) brand. HR is often the first interaction people have with your company, from the “Director of First impressions” to the recruiter, hiring manager and interview screener. Customer service skills are crucial to positive engagement. Daily interaction is at the center of every company’s marketing efforts. Your business is relationship based regardless of technology used because you are in “people business,” no matter your industry.

The Most Effective Marketing Strategy

Omnichannel- marketing is an integrated, seamless experience across multiple devices and touchpoints. Often associated with the retail experience, omni-channel marketing is relevant to recruitment and retention of employees. A single candidate can be job searching on a mobile device, while confirming an interview on the phone with customer service, all while taking a job skills assessment on a device in a staffing agency office. Ease of navigation between each touchpoint facilitates a single “purchase” in retail or the final choice of employer. Businesses with omni-channel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t . Not only is it important in today’s market, research shows that 68 percent of millennials – your new workforce –  demand an integrated experience regardless of channel.

Focus Your Efforts to Coordinate People and Tech

Still Pre-Omni-channel? Providing a seamless experience can be daunting, especially for a small company.   Where do you start? Competition for employees is fierce out there. This requires robust HR systems and processes that provide insights into the capabilities and skills of the workforce and then use that data to quickly hire, onboard and train digitally savvy, customer-centric employees. Key success factors are consistent branding, key messaging visual, verbal or audible, and technology including big data. Your cultural norm should be customer service reps who can easily transition between channels and touchpoints and solve customer issues wherever and whenever they are experienced.

On average it takes 17 touchpoints before a job candidate makes a final decision. The journey can look like this:  Sue looks at a job board opening on an aggregator like Indeed.com. It leads her to the company career site. She discusses with colleagues and after positive feedback goes to LinkedIn to see recommendations. She follows the company on Instagram and Twitter to learn more about the culture.  She checks out reviews on Glassdoor.  The same day she receives a LinkedIn recruiting in-mail from the organization for an HR job that fits her skill set. An application is submitted online and she becomes an applicant in the ATS (Applicant Tracking System.) A pre-screen interviewer calls and determines that she is qualified for the next step. A cloud- based video platform like Spark Hire is used for a first interview. She advances to the finalist pool and is flown out to meet in person during a lunch meeting. At a networking opportunity the day before, at the local Society of Human Resources Management membership meeting, she gets positive feedback about the company. Before the in-person interview she is asked by the receptionist to take a survey on her cell phone while waiting in the lobby. During the interview she is asked to complete a branded virtual reality simulation. A week later she receives an email with a video greeting that touts the company’s culture and how she is a good fit. The vice president of HR calls her to negotiate a benefits package.. A final offer is made. She makes a final decision.

Job candidates need to feel like they are dealing with confident and knowledgeable company representatives at every step of their journey.  How confident are you in your people and technology? What do you need to get there?