Employees who interact directly with customers can make or break the customer experience; but only 57% believe their leaders are investing in their team. Workers in customer-facing roles are stressed and nearly one-third (31%) think about quitting their job multiple times a month, according to new research from Qualtrics. More than two in five (44%) say their workloads have increased, and one-third say customers have become ruder over the past year.
While many customers’ first interaction with a brand may be online or through another digital channel, frontline employees such as retail sales associates, customer service agents and restaurant staff are typically the first human point of contact between customers and a business. They therefore play a major role in the overall customer experience. Bad customer experiences put up to 8% of sales at risk for organisations. Globally, this adds up to $3.1 trillion of sales at risk every year, according to research from Qualtrics XM Institute.
But challenges facing frontline employees could make it harder for companies to retain this critical part of their workforce. For example, 38% of these employees say they are stressed at work at least half the time, and 41% feel emotionally drained from their work. And despite the fact that nearly 60% say they got a pay raise in the last year, about half of those workers say it is harder to keep up with living expenses than it was a year ago. It’s worse for employees who haven’t received a pay raise; two-thirds of them say it’s harder to cover their expenses.
“Frontline employees are aptly named, often acting as the first – or only – point of human contact between a customer and a company, so their impact on the overall customer experience cannot be underestimated,” said Fabrice Martin, Head of Customer Experience Product at Qualtrics. “It’s essential that organisations provide their human frontline with resources to support their well-being and help them be more productive so they can consistently deliver excellent service and develop loyal customers.”