Front-end employees can be safely referred to as â€˜brand ambassadorsâ€™ since they are the first touch point with the customer. This would mean that apart from delivering their regular fare, they have to add that extra bit to live up to the brand image that must be communicated through this crucial customer interface.
First we are taking life insurance products as an example. Life Insurance products are essentially bought on trust. A policy holder needs a consistent assurance that the company will deliver in the future when the need rises. The front-end personnel are crucial touch points during customer interaction, play a vital role in reinforcing the â€˜trust messageâ€™ by rendering prompt and reliable services. But if the customer is not served well enough to satiate expectations, it could trigger damage to the business. Poor service on the other hand can deliver an equally strong message and could raise several doubts in the consumerâ€™s mind. Maintaining persistency of business and renewal chasing are key functions of the front-end staff. Policy holders continue to pay premium only when they experience reliable service. Thus, the front-end employees in an insurance company are an extension of the ongoing sales process. They deliver the â€œcustomer experienceâ€? for an otherwise intangible product. In the true sense they are lifeline of a successful life insurance business.
Given the criticality of the function performed by the people who slog it out at the bottom, it becomes increasingly important to acknowledge their efforts and rewards them for the same.
A company or a manager is only as good as the people who perform the service. It is more applicable for especially in a service company.
Let us take the case of FedEx a leading global courier company with its own logistics. Right from inception, it has put its â€˜People Firstâ€™ for 2 main reasons. Firstly, it is the right thing to do, and next it makes good business sense. The MD of Fedex says they are committed to their People (employees) Service-Profit (PSP) philosophy and this very simple philosophy underpins all our business decisions.
The FedEx Performance Review, which is a two-way process between the employee and the manager, establishes the performance review score, which is then translated into a percentage increase, against an already approved merit matrix. The Performance Review system is based on the Competency Model for each job.
Management by Objective (MBO) / Professional by Objective (PBO) system is Fedexâ€™s primary performance management tool. It is a structured process to set objectives and manage performance linked to three focus areas namely People, Service and Profit and Corporate goals.
Measurable process for assessing performance:
A Retail Operation Manager (ROM) nd respected in his field strongly believes in the role performed by his Customer Care Associates (CCA). Therefore with the approval of higher management of his organization, a transparent and measurable process for assessing CCAsâ€™ performance was developed. Being one of the team members in developing the process he was faced with several challenges in creating the evaluating framework, considering the diversity of the role and many other factors to be performed by CCA. The policy they adopted is whenever the superiors appreciate / de-motivate people it is done in a generalist manner.
The challenge for a manager here is to distinguish between performers and non-performers. CCAs form a majority of the workforce at the organization and they are expected to perform multiplicity of roles. Some of their key responsibilities would include good housekeeping, visual merchandising accountable for stocks, performing inventory checks and concept selling. In preparing the objective evaluation clause a manager has to consider several factors like the fact that CCAs are deployed from one department to the other, which could pose as a deterrent in effectively measuring performance. For realistic assessment data from all the departments that he / she had worked is also required to be collected. Evaluation had to be simple enough to be understood. Therefore the firm decided on simple mark sheet format for evaluation. The evaluation sheet consisted of five parameters and the ideal role that a CCA was required to play in order to score for performance assessment purposes.
Hard parameters are easy to measure. However it is difficult to put numbers to desired attitude and be convinced of a fair evaluation. To compound this difficulty, customer feedback may not always be available in these areas, but developed means of trying to collate this information from various sources. Formal customer satisfaction surveys are conducted on a quarterly basis across the country through independent market research agencies. The company also internally encouraged and recognized desirable behavior though informal reward and recognition schemes.