The New Workplace Reality: Enterprises Must Capture the Soul and Spirit of The Emerging Worker
Ricoh commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the importance and business impact of document and process support at the point of service. To explore this topic, Forrester Consulting conducted in-depth surveys with 250 global customer service strategy and operations decision-makers as well as 36 customer-facing individual contributors.
We found that customer-facing workers are seen as a strong differentiator by companies coming out of recession. This is a big change; customer-facing employees have now become the target for investment and process improvement. We surmise that, without investment in new technologies and processes, organizations will be facing a new competitive landscape at a substantial disadvantage. We found that poor customer support often stems from inadequate time to focus on the customer and inadequate document and process support that would allow more human-centric interaction. Current systems consume too much human bandwidth with low-value tasks and drain energy from workers that could provide a richer customer experience. Furthermore, the workforce is losing its most experienced employees: roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach retirement age every day for the next 19 years in the US alone. Younger workers and their customers entering the workforce will need to improve basic document services such as entering data, searching for information, copying and printing receipts and materials, and leveraging emerging mobile, collaboration, and cloud-based solutions. This transition opens the door for a new generation of employees who think and work differently. Enterprises that do not capitalize on this transition will be at a competitive disadvantage.
Customer-Facing Workers: Downsizing Target Or Great Hope?
Today, companies are thinking once again about growth, although cost reductions are still the prime focus for many. This is not surprising given the conflicting signals we receive from daily economic data, but clearly the focus is turning to the top line. To many enterprises, this means improving the customer experience and providing better support for employees who serve customers. Numerous studies have correlated higher levels of engaged workers with higher earnings per share and positive scores on key performance indicators.1 This supports a shift: rather than eliminating client-facing employees, companies are trying to make them better — more human, more productive — and ensure that they are a memorable part of a customer experience. It is by supporting these employees through improved document and process support that organizations will be in a stronger competitive and revenue-driving position.
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Highlights from the Complete Whaper:
- Customer-facing workers are seen as a strong differentiator by companies coming out of recession
- Gaps in systems and document services do not allow time for a rich personalized experience
- Emerging document and process support are required to improve client-facing engagements
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1 For further explanation of the relationship between engaged workforce and company performance, please check out Gallup’s ongoing study of the American workplace from 2010 to 2012 (“How Employee Engagement Drives Growth,” page 24). Source: “State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for US Business Leaders,” Gallup, 2013 (http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/163007/state-american-workplace.aspx).