In an increasingly commoditized marketplace, what are you doing to ensure one of your biggest differentiators is setting you apart from your competitor’s customer experience? Do you have a purposeful end to end strategy for acquiring, onboarding, and training this key resource? People still drive customer experience, and even during an increased adoption of digital CX solutions, this is what will separate your experience from your competitor’s experience.
This need for quality people places a premium for building your talent stack. What’s the talent stack? It starts with identifying your ideal hiring profile, refining where you source talent, ramping new talent up, training them to their full potential, and then ultimately helping them develop into their next role.
Let’s start with a framework for the talent stack and walk through what each means:
- Ideal Hiring Profile
- Sourcing & Hiring
- On-Boarding Process
- Training & Career Path Planning
Ideal Hiring Profile – Defining A-Players
A-Player is a term that is universal in meaning. It represents the top, the best of the best. This is who you want to hire every time, but how do you know who is or can develop into an A-Player? What you need is a repeatable Ideal Hiring Profile. Quite simply, this represents the ideal skill set needed to excel as part of the CX team and be successful in their role. All too often, a job description is drawn up as a list of daily activities, handed to somebody in the HR department, and ultimately posted online. Not enough thought is put into what the core competencies that this candidate must have to be successful in the role. Active Listening, Relationship Building, Composure, Problem Solving, etc. are all examples of what competencies need to be listed out and ranked in order of highest value. Follow this link for a tool to help identify and rank these for your specific CX organization. Start with 2-3 must-have qualities, add 3-4 secondary, and finish with 2-3 nice-to-haves. Once you’ve defined your ranking of competencies, you need to assess your current team and score them objectively across each skill. Separately, select your top few performers and look at how they rank across these key competencies. The combination of skills they possess should serve to make up your initial ideal hiring profile. This can be refined over time and strengthened as you continue to add talent and get more data points.
Sourcing & Hiring – How to Find Top Talent
Sourcing creates interest in your company as a place to work. It proactively drives talent to the organization by generating interest through advertising, promotion, and active outreach. Whether you outsource this function or have internal recruiters, the goal is to target your Ideal Hiring Profile and create a pull from prospective new hires that gives you an edge over other opportunities they have available to them. Once you’ve found them, it’s essential to use your Ideal Hiring Profile to assess how they fit the competencies of your top performers. Create scenarios and questions aimed at uncovering their strengths and natural skillset. For further reading on this topic, check out this blog.
On-Boarding Process – Speed to Productivity
Once you have hired a candidate that is most closely aligned with A-Player potential, your onboarding process will determine how fast they become fully productive. At its simplest level, this process provides every new team member (and hiring manager) with the necessary knowledge and tools to deliver an excellent customer experience. I recently had a conversation with a CX Director that described a robust onboarding experience that each new hire goes through. When I spoke with a few of the Managers, however, they painted a slightly different story. I was shown a binder and an 8-minute video that had been recorded about 3 years earlier. Investing in a scalable process can be the difference between having your customer receive an excellent outcome or receiving a sub-par touchpoint. Knowing that new hires come out of on-boarding fully equipped to lead customer interactions provides confidence to each manager and makes their team more valuable.
Training – Cutting Edge Approach
CX encompasses all of the individual touchpoints that your customers use to interact with your company. In today’s world, this means 1 customer may use multiple channels (website, webchat, telephone, email, etc.) and switch preference between them at any moment. That requires CX teams to be versatile in their core competencies and be able to evolve to stay current with customer preferences. Just like onboarding, ensure your new hires are ready to deliver high-quality customer interactions, training will give tenured people the ability to continue to grow. Many leading companies utilize LMS (Learning Management Systems) to provide video content and/or Q&A to test learning retention. No matter what the delivery system is, commitment to training and enabling the team by staying current on best practices will ensure you are investing in your differentiating resource.
Career Path Planning – Long Term Value
Companies that utilize proactive career planning are typically seen to have a more positive employee experience. Employees see genuine investment in long term growth when there are consistent discussions around career planning. Once you have a well-defined top part of your talent stack, there should be a natural push with new hires onboarding and backfill the graduation of top performers as they move to their next positions. Follow this link to learn more around this topic.
Putting it All Together – Execute Your Strategy
By thoughtfully designing your talent stack and investing in each step, you are demonstrating the commitment to people as your key differentiator in providing an elite customer experience.
Here is how you can jumpstart your execution plan:
- Download the Competency Discovery Tool to identify A player traits for your Customer Experience roles.
- Build out your Ideal Hiring Profile.
- Work with your HR Business partners to develop a sourcing strategy for this profile.
- Update your on-boarding, training, and career path programs to upgrade and retain your top talent.