Want to offer an unforgettable customer experience? Start by thinking of your employees and customers in the same way, says Niall Ryan-Jones
Shopping, banking, travel, a food hall you’d happily live in – luxury department store Harrods has it all. They may be famed for their customer experience, but as Niall Ryan-Jones, Head of Employee Experience, explains, that can’t exist without an equal employee experience.
Niall says: “Our customers have high expectations of our brand. If we expect our employees to go the extra mile for them, we need to go the extra mile for our employees.”
Our customers have high expectations of our brand. If we expect our employees to go the extra mile for them, we need to go the extra mile for our employees
This is no easy task when you consider Harrods’ incredibly diverse workforce, with its 10,000 employees covering 100 nationalities. On top of that they are split down the middle, with some employed by Harrods directly and others by its partners, leading to mixed allegiances.
Despite these challenges, Niall reports that the advocacy of Harrods’ employer brand is at 97 per cent. Just how have they achieved this?
“We recognise that employee or customer relationships are two sides of the same coin, with distinct similarities,” says Niall. “The questions customers ask of a company are the same that an employee will ask.
“For example, whether you’re an employee or customer, if you feel that you’re treated like an individual, your needs are fulfilled and the company is easy to deal with, then you’re likely to tell others about it and stay loyal to that brand.”
For Niall, his focus areas are clear. He says: “We concentrate on delivering content that resonates with diverse groups and empowering our employees with the skills and tools to deliver that outstanding experience for our customers. And we make sure that our communications arepersonalised and customised. What’s right for someone two months into their role won’t be right for a long server.” Niall adds: “The term ‘engagement’ has been diluted over the years, but there are three core dimensions to a fully engaged Harrods employee. These are the manager relationship, satisfaction in their specific job role, and belief in the value of the organisation.
“Through this we will attract the best people by enhancing the employment lifecycle and developing our employer brand. Together, this will help us to build stronger customer relationships and support profitable growth.”