Around this time last month, Jony Ive, the chief design officer who defined the look of Apple’s most iconic products, announced he was leaving the tech giant after a nearly 30-year tenure. He also announced that he would be putting up his own company, with Apple as his first client. Just like that, Apple’s employee turned into its business partner. Most likely, also its customer.
In this period of the sharing economy and flexible work arrangements, organizations’ relationships with key stakeholders are ever shifting, with lines between what constitutes a worker, a business partner, and a customer blurring. Engaging these stakeholders in a siloed approach may no longer be an option, especially for organizations looking to create positive human experiences across the board.
Companies gather insights from customers through satisfaction surveys or feedback forms so they can learn about the experience of their other stakeholders to get a more comprehensive view of how well they are engaging their markets. The key is to ask the right questions at the right time.
In rolling out a common human relationship-measurement strategy, organizations can look at these three measurement categories to generate insights on stakeholder loyalty or retention risk:
• “Ease” (or lack of effort or complexity) score
• Recommendation or promotion likelihood
Ease, or low friction effort, can be measured at any of the key moments in the human experience journey, such as right after a purchase or, in the case of a business partner, during contract negotiations. For customers, the usual question would run along the lines of, “How much effort was required in making your reservation?” For employees, management can focus on ‘work complexity’, which looks at factors such as ability and ease of connecting virtually and using and gaining access to technologies needed for work.
Measuring for ease of interaction can help pinpoint areas or processes in need of improvement and provide management with actionable insights. Ease scores, particularly in the customer experience arena, are also indicative of customer loyalty – more so than satisfaction scores. But ease measures are transactional in nature. To get a more holistic picture of the experience, business leaders should consider looking into the net promoter score (NPS).
NPS indicates a person’s willingness to recommend a product or service and typically encompasses that person’s overall experience with the brand. The eNPS – employee net promoter score – measures the holistic worker experience, signifying worker engagement and loyalty. The eNPS goes one step further in that it also reveals whether a worker would recommend their employer as a place to work to others.
Unlike the ease measure, NPS should be collected at less frequent intervals – perhaps once every six or 12 months – to give people ample time to experience a brand’s offering in full. Typically, NPS is measured with a single question on a 10-point scale: How likely are you to recommend a company’s product or service? The results will help business leaders identify customers, workers, or business partners who are a retention risk or possible enterprise advocates.
Finally, one of the most common measures used is the satisfaction score. This gives enterprises a window into the various aspects of their stakeholders’ experience with them – from a specific transaction to the end-to-end journey. It also enables enterprises to tap into the emotions of key stakeholders through easy-to-understand questions. And research has shown that when it comes to customers, there is a connection between satisfaction and customer retention and share of wallet.
Satisfaction measures should be collected alongside ease measures during significant interactions. It can also be collected with the NPS during, for example, the end of a performance or contractual period.
Having a common measurement system allows an enterprise to track all key stakeholders’ experiences over the duration of their relationship with the enterprise, giving business leaders a better perspective on how to improve and enrich these relationships. This is no small task, which is why enterprises should leverage technology for measuring, tracking, and managing the human relationship measurement process, making sure they reach people on their preferred device. Considering how many people are disinclined to answer surveys, enterprises should ensure that measures are easy and noninvasive; digital can help with this.
As Apple’s experience clearly illustrates, an enterprise’s relationship with its key stakeholders can shift quickly. For business leaders, keeping an eye on these stakeholders’ experiences with the enterprise and understanding their needs will help them stay prepared in case the relationship changes in unexpected ways.
The author is an Audit & Assurance Partner at Navarro Amper & Co., one of 11 practices that make up Deloitte Southeast Asia Ltd. Deloitte Southeast Asia Ltd is a member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a leading global provider of audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services.