Employee satisfaction is a key driver of employee engagement, and employee engagement in turn is a key driver of customer satisfaction and loyalty, employee retention, productivity, sales, overall organizational performance and profit.
While employee behavior is clearly reflected in the bottom line of all organizations, company financials and other "hard data" measurements do not actually assess employee behavior or what is driving employee behavior. Further, "hard data" measurements do not gather employee perceptions, opinions, feelings and suggestions.
Could the following comment have come from an employee in your organization? It actually came from a sales person that sells sophisticated equipment, working at a large company that designs, builds, sells and services the equipment in North America, Europe and Asia.
During the deep recession, many companies have laid off significant numbers of employees, reduced or eliminated salary increases and bonuses and matching contributions to retirement plans, and they have cut back on employee benefits, including medical insurance. Companies have also been reducing expenditures on marketing, IT hardware and software and other things that bring in business and make the organization more efficient. Many employees are in fear of being laid off and they resent the cutbacks in compensation, benefits and business expenditures.
Management Ability to Effectively Lead
"I joined _________ a little over a year ago from one of our main competitors, and I believe this is a company adrift. Certainly in tough economic times we need to be prudent, but we also need to be thinking towards the future. I have seen locations, people, and resources cut at the same time we talk about how to grow our market position. A company needs to have balance, you cannot do more with less and cannot increase market share without adequate resources. The difference between a company poised for growth and a company in decline is that a growth company adds resources and people during tough times to be in better position down the road, not contracting as an over-reaction to market conditions."
"We employees should have a BETTER long-term feel for where the company is going. This has not been communicated well from management. It seems more like the company's top management is "blowing in the wind" capturing the idea of the moment more than in structuring appropriately for the long-term future."
"We are a ship without a rudder"
"I don't believe the management at the national or global level, understand our customers. They are forcing their global beliefs onto every part of the world, country and region. Each country and region within the country is different. We need to listen to the customer. The customer is always right, and we need to take care of the customer."
"I see decisions that seem to be made regarding how they affect the stock price, not necessarily the long term benefit of the company as a whole. Closing the ________ Tech Center doesn't make sense in my world, but it may save a few bucks in management's world."
"It takes more steps to get an answer or approval. In the past my manager seemed to have more control of his operation and did not have to wait or get someone else involved for what now seems to require multiple inputs."
"I believe that senior management is not aware of what drives customers to / from our company. Senior management's lack of awareness has created a structure / culture that is not customer focused on the customer's overall satisfaction."
"It appears to me that they have no clue. Drastic changes are made that significantly impact customer relations and our ability to keep the focus on customers"
"There is an unwillingness to spend money on effective marketing, R&D, quality, and sales compensation incentive. Saving on expense is fine for the short term, but a disaster for the long term."
"We spend too much time looking at our self and too little looking at our customers. Customers want to know whether we are developing faster, more sensitive, more reliable, easier to use instrumentation. They are rarely if ever interested in our logo, etc, etc."
"We have become too top heavy with upper management. Every other week we have a new VP appointed. We have too few people to do the basic jobs in order to be successful long term. Management expects continued double digit growth in a mature market. This year's sales plan was an example of mismanagement. We hired an outside consulting group to come up with the most ridiculous and unfair plan that could be possibly conceived."
Senior Management Communicates Clear Direction
"It appears that certain business practices and structure themes that have been tried before and failed, have been renewed."
"There is very little communication letting us know what is happening. We only see the results, such as the recent layoffs and the closing of a tech center with no explanation from upper management. I think there is a huge disconnect with our top managers being located in another country. I am aware we are a global company so communication needs to be global."
"There is very little direct communication from senior management."
"We reorganize territories and people constantly without any clear reason our apparent strategy."
"Field personnel are in the dark."
Clear/Effective Communication Between Departments
"Sales/Service/Marketing seem to have conflicting goals and strategies."
"Company should better align the goal of sales and service which is to provide great customer satisfaction and service rather than competing for consumables/service parts sales to same customer base."
"Sales, Service and Product Specialists have split into their own managed groups, each with their own agenda. Communication largely is now isolated to within these groups."
"We (sales, product specialists, service) were once a team. We are now separate entities. Customers also perceive us as separate."
"We continue to have issues between sales and service which management seems keen to sweep under the carpet."
"The communication between Sales and Services department are not good. The customer perspective is that we have two different companies in one."
Culture of Co-operation/Teamwork
"There is a culture of "passing the buck" at this company. Perhaps it is because we have limited resources or perhaps it is just general work "avoidance". More often than not, I see that there are certain people who seem to take on every task and others that never seem to do any."
"We are too fragmented, service acts like a separate company. The causes internal friction"
"_____________ has fragmenting itself into many pieces and departments. "vertical" orientation of product lines tends to have separate and segment communication and efforts of sales people. ___________ is also fragmenting the sales process from start to finish. Having sales, service, and now product specialists reporting to different management teams, truly disrupts the sale cycle."
"We need more communications with the sales force concerning promotions prior to their introduction need to be done."
"Each department has their own agenda and is accountable for certain things. This accountability conflicts with other departments, so each department is not concerned about another department's accountability. An example, when there is a problem with an instrument at a customer site, Service does not want the expense so they will avoid the expense at all cost, Sales does not want the expense, because service should be responsible for the cost. A problem could be a quality problem with the design or manufacturing of the instrument, but Service gets the cost. There is no accountability to the customer. That should be the main focus of our company."
"It would be nice to see the BU's working together more rather than against one another, specifically when the philosophies of sales and service seem to be pitted against each other as far as revenue. The unfortunate thing is that our customers often get caught in the middle."
"NO WAY. The compensation plan in place has created an atmosphere where each group is out for their own self. There are too many employees who have goals / incentive plans that drive short term gains for the employees but create issues in the long term. The angst in the field between service and sales is a prime example of this."
"All departments seem to be concerned strictly with the bottom line. This causes different agenda's and often puts the customer in the middle."
"This is changing for the worse because we now formed three independent profit-driven organizations (Sales, Service, Product Specialist), when there is a customer problem, the first question asked is "who is going to pay for this?"."
"Not anymore. Product specialists want to work with sales guys; we no longer have the freedom to do that. We have to request permission from management, which is hugely inefficient and creates an adversarial atmosphere."
Conflicts Within Groups Resolved Quickly/Effectively
"I don't see anybody who really can make decisions. The consequence is: No good idea is heard, nothing happens, we lose a lot of business"
"Conflicts are usually slow to be resolved"
"The gap between Sales and Service is unacceptable. Making service a profit center creates a conflict of interest that affects customers."
"Service is the golden haired boy and they are totally unwilling to bend to assist any other group whether it be business unit or sales in nature seriously compromising customer satisfaction"
"We are often put "in the middle""
"Sales and Service are quite often in conflicts. Sales tries to keep the customer happy, service is firstly keen on the customer's money. The long term effect is not considered."
Encouraged to Come Up with Innovative Ideas
"Not if it disagrees with my immediate manager."
"typically to support others who are not performing"
"There is encouragement, but a lack of time and support from the business unit to help develop the idea."
"Encouraged Yes but once you want to move to execution it can take very long time to get approvals"
"Yes, but with no real reward."
"As long as they are politically correct"
"I am encouraged but the work is not recognized"
"I'm often asked to be innovative but in areas of my job that have never been important or related to what I've always done."
Ideas/Suggestions Given Serious Consideration
"Consideration, but not implementation"
"Many of my ideas or suggestions are acted upon but I don't feel as if there is much credit given."
"I can see the same daily problems over the years and nobody does anything to solve them."
"If you disagree with the prime directive, your comments are not welcomed, even if you have experience in a particular area"
"On having put forward ideas previously, no feedback has ever been given"
"No forum exists for me to share my ideas or suggestions and there is no interaction with management"
"Sometimes, ideas seem to interest people, but nothing happens"
"Only if they are in line with management's agenda. There is less room for dissenting views now than in years past."
Empowered to Make Decisions
"The flexibility required to advance a sales territory have disappeared."
"We are pretty tightly bound by company policies. If we are professionals, give us the authority to act as professionals."
"No, I have to ask permission prior to taking any action outside the norm"
"Unclear what levels of decision making I can make."
"There now are more checks and balances in place that makes autonomy a little more difficult"
"decisions are not made without the advice and consent of Field Management"
"Although we are encouraged by senior management to be "entrepreneurial", we are reprimanded by our immediate managers when we make decisions that might conflict with their opinion. We fear being fired."
"One cannot do anything here without approval"
"A year ago I felt more empowered to make my own decisions, but at this time more of my decisions are questioned. The result is that I still make decisions but do not communicate as many of them to my manager."
Recommendation to Reduce Unproductive Time
"Quality control of products is low, requiring very much post sales time to make products work to customer satisfaction"
"There is no formal customer training program. Each sales and product specialist has their own idea of proper training and it varies nationally. Some of the product specialists spend too much time on post-sales training and support for low-end equipment."
"Less time spent on Sales Force Dot Com and more time in the field with customers"
"Competitive bids, which are not on our specs, take a huge amount of time to respond with the appropriate verbiage as to why our alternate design approaches, exceeds the analytical needs of the requestor. As these competitive specifications appear over and over, a repository of canned responses would be useful."
"Having to deal with customer queries that would be better handled with an efficient Customer Support team."
"Sales works hard to get the first sale. Subsequent sales are supposed to be easy. However, product problems and shortfalls make the second sale much more difficult."
"Quality with a HUGE Q. We spend too much time resolving problems and calming down customers."
"we waste up to 5 working days waiting to get an SAP offer from CC."
"The qualification of the account takes the most time. Better pre-qualification by the web site questions or the person taking the phone call."
"When changing a lead to an opportunity in SFDC, you need to change company names, etc. to get them to match the contacts already there. This is the single biggest time waster. Find a better way of implementing this."
"SFDC takes so much time because it HAS to be done through a web browser and it seems to be slowing down as time goes by. It takes forever, if only it has an off line version you could work with and then synch once or twice a day it would more productive and efficient. I have upgraded my internet connections and it still takes forever to populate it with relevant information."
"SalesForce is a good tool, but our database is a mess, so many duplicates, so many old and non-existing contacts, etc... Somebody in each country should dedicate all their time to put the database up to date!"
"The whole process is too rigid and takes way too much time. This goes for all steps in the sales process from entering a customer to register a won or lost sale. To extract the information you need, you have to make reports (which is not that easy). Finding the correct account might take a very long time due to duplications, deleted accounts which are not removed and so on. The whole process steals so much time that you tend to wait for as long as possible before you do anything on SFDC."
"They need to streamline creating opportunities and remove all of the non-top line product numbers from the system. I shouldn't have to spend 20 minutes finding a product to associate to the opportunity."
"provide quotes that are honored for three months"
"End this ridiculous differentiation between post sale and pre-sale"
"Support from Customer Care: build up a professional local customer care team"
"definitely too many stages in Sales Force D.C."
"A if the data base was clean and duplicates were minimized it would save a lot of time."
"THE ABOVE CATAGORIES ARE THE PROBLEM NO ONE SHOULD TAKE THE TIME TO CHANGE AN OPP FROM B TO G. YOU WOULD SPEND ALL DAY UPDATING SALESFORCE. SALESFORCE IS SOMEWHAT AWKWARD AS A FIELD TOOL. EVEN WITH AN AIR CARD, IT IS NOT EASY TO USE WHEN ON THE ROAD/ IN THE CAR. BUILDING THE OPP IS PAINFULLY SLOW"
"Improve communications between departments (sales - service - customer care - finance)"
"After the order is won, too much time begging service to perform the required tasks is a time vacuum"
"All steps the in sfdc waste time. It takes ~10 seconds every time you click on a filed / selection before the field is updated. Multiply 10 seconds by every click you have to make and I waste hours just waiting for the PC to update, etc. This is a common complaint and from the variety of answers given there is no solution."
"Prior to creation of an opportunity: Names of companies and contacts in generated leads are wrong, this starts the search for the right contact in SFDC and makes the conversion of an opportunity more difficult. Lead currency is always USD, this has to be changed before adding an product to the opportunity, otherwise you end up with the wrong price book"
"Create a database!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With useful information/data from Service!!!! We need Quick creating of quotes inside SFDCOM - At this time we use 4 Databases for collecting information."
"SFDC must be faster to minimize the time wasted"
"We need to be able to sync the SFDC database when visiting customer, VERY IMPORTANT"
"PAPER WORK AFTER SALE IS TOO CUMBERSOME"
"Sale engineers spend a huge amount of time once the order is won making it correct."
"Execution during and after installation of products falls short of customer expectations. Frequent problems out of the box and delays in resolution by service. Often have to have support of product specialist and sales for post installation support and completion of installation."
Optimistic About Long-Term Success of Company
"We need to keep focus on our customer satisfaction and delivery quality products to our customers."
"Upper management seems to have the wrong ideas and they do not want any input from us."
"I believe at times, we are successful in spite of ourselves. We are losing good people and in the past it has been the good people that have made things work, not necessarily the business plan."
"Current management is clueless about the organization and teamwork required to produce satisfied customers. They are trying to separate pre and post sales activities, when they are one and the same."
"Unless we drastically change the current direction, the future doesn't appear too bright."
"Speaking for the area of the company I work in, I do not believe there is enough investment in product development and support to be sustainable in the long term."
Have Clear Understanding of Company's Sales/Business Objectives
"Our growth objectives are clear. The way we intend to achieve those objectives seems to be a moving target."
"I am not sure I agree with the approach. I am a FIRM believer in customer satisfaction! I believe the customer always comes first and the dollars and growth will follow. I have seen this spoken but I do not believe we truly exercise this at all levels of the company. I think the shareholder has become #1 with the customer #2. I think this is a short term way to achieve the mission."
"Not sure where we are going in my product focus area, it seems we keep repeating the exact same mission every year and expecting different results"
"The constant reorganizations and reassignments are demoralizing the sales force, and diluting our strength. We are trying to "pigeonhole" sales assignments to a model which in most cases does not make sense, either because of the demands of the territory or, in regard to the particular strengths of the salesperson"
Believe Company Overall Headed in Right Direction
"I am not sure what direction we are heading in. I have heard that we are spending some money in research within our division which is promising. I feel like our side of the business has been used as a money maker for spending in the research areas of other divisions. I hope we haven't waited too long to start reinvesting in our side of the business."
"I think we have lost our focus (and possibly, our talent) for developing new technology."
"Upper management has set their goals and does not really care what we think of these ideas. They do not seem to understand what it takes to sell instruments. They only want to TELL us what to do and not try to understand what we need from them to make ourselves and therefore, the company successful. They should do more listening than talking!"
"Agree with some reservation. I have concern over the loss of key support personnel in product specialist functions. The remaining specialists are being stretched far too thin in their support of the field representatives and have practically been removed from the support of our customers. Service Engineers do a fine job of supporting the products post-sale, but they do not have the application knowledge."
"The current structure is putting more distance between us and the customer."
"I believe we are heading in too many directions without a clear and articulated vision"
Comments to Make Company More Competitive
"The setting up of OEM arrangements to offer a larger range of relevant products similar to those that our competitors already have in place. Currently we remain uncompetitive in so many areas. Set up working partners as per ___________"
"We should watch competition very closely and check or even imitate their good ideas. At the same time we should protect our unique features or designs by patents. We should not allow 9 years to pass without any new development in any product line."
"Increase the support to the customers."
"Our pricing structure should be more realistic with our competitors especially due to current economic conditions. I know we need to be profitable so if the cost of manufacturing could be reduced this might serve both needs."
"Get back to the way we were: customer focused!!!!!!!!!!!"
"Build a quality a product and everything else will take care of itself."
"Better & more R&D, marketing, and sales incentives."
"work more on product quality and marketing"
"Provide 5 year ownership package with instrument sale: hardware, service plan and spares.... thus today's purchase allows future use independent of economic developments;provide 24/7 application/service support: have automatic email coverage around the clock as time zones change;"
"More focus on the complete package you get from ____________. You don't only buy the product, but quality, support and good service as well"
"Look at what our competitors are doing. Look at what our customers truly want from us. Stop wasting time, money and effort on image image image!!!"
"Better training and accountability of the technical expertise of the sales force"
"More customer surveys to obtain feedback"
"I have heard a number of negative comments from customers concerning the difficulty of navigating our Website. Difficult to find information and there is a fair amount of obsolete products still contained therein."
"Stop using the service department as the #1 product group in the company. We are losing customers daily because they feel we are no longer concerned with helping them but only making money off them."