Employee Expectation Management in E-Commerce

Author: Magdalena Jetzinger

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Digital transformation is continuing apace in the world of e-commerce. Even so, a successful digitalisation strategy is reliant on more than simply providing a consistent customer journey. Employee engagement is also essential to this process. In fact, there is a direct correlation between a company’s internal and external audiences: If employees fully understand and support the digitalisation strategy, they will pass this satisfaction on across all touch points with customers. The result is a more engaged team, a loyal customer base and a healthier bottom line.

In today’s world of e-commerce, customers expect a personalised approach, ever-faster delivery times, top quality, more purchasing options and a seamless all-round experience that resolves any customer pain points almost as quickly as they arise. This is what is driving the wider digital transformation in online commerce, and most digitalisation strategies make sure to take this into account.

But as integral as the customer may be, is that truly all there is to the customer journey? Not at all. In fact, keeping an external client base happy is only half the battle. Just as important for e-commerce companies is to ensure that their own employees — or “internal stakeholders” as they are also known — remain fully committed to the goals of the digital transformation.

Engage with internal stakeholders for invaluable insights

To assess if employees are committed to the digitalisation process, it is first necessary to identify which employees will actually be involved in or affected by it in day-to-day operations. This means taking a close look at internal processes to determine who has contact with the customers, who will be working with the systems to be implemented, and who will be affected by or responsible for any new touch points with clients.

Once these employees have been identified, they can be brought into the digital transformation process by way of simple talk and active listening to create a safe atmosphere of mutual trust. After briefly explaining the importance of the digital transformation, each employee can be asked a series of simple but effective questions aimed at gathering insights about how they view their current situation — both their pain points and what they think works well — and what hopes or expectations they may have for the changes to come. All of these insights can then be turned into actions to be taken to ensure the success of the digitalisation strategy.

Empowering your team: The benefits of involving internal stakeholders in your design process

Using the design process of a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) as an example, involving internal stakeholders can bring significant benefits. Initially, stakeholders such as employees, managers, and designers can obtain valuable insights into their requirements and preferences. Consequently, better decision-making and more efficiency can be achieved. Integrating internal stakeholders can reduce the probability of rework and ensure that the final DXP product or service meets the needs of the organisation, including internal stakeholders. Additionally, involving stakeholders can promote a more transparent workflow, where all team members comprehend their role in the project and their contributions to the overall success of the e-commerce platform. Empowering your team in each design process can boost operational efficiency, increase employee engagement and satisfaction, and deliver better customer outcomes.

Employee expectation management: the gateway to engagement

Employees who feel empowered, respected, and trusted in their roles are also more likely to deliver strong service across all touch points with customers. In turn, this leads to a quicker resolution of customer pain points, reduced customer churn, higher loyalty and a better all-round reputation for the company. This empowerment is facilitated through expectation management, which involves establishing a process of communication through which expectations are aligned with both employees and the external client base. If all parties know what to expect, they can act in pursuit of shared goals from the outset.

Managing expectations is not something that can be accomplished overnight, it requires a series of steps. It’s crucial to establish the company’s expectations for its employees and integrate them into team-specific instructions that provide clear examples of what’s expected. The expectations typically take the form of a “North Star” that defines the company’s digitalization goals. By having this goal in place, employees will have a better understanding of what they should aim for, which makes it easier to come to a mutual understanding about what specific objectives are feasible and attainable.

Within this process, it is also important to always keep customer experience management in mind — after all, the goal of employee engagement is to ensure this satisfaction is passed on to the customer. When the expectations of both the internal stakeholder and the firm are adequately managed, a strong basis is created from which to build employee engagement, thereby ushering in the smooth roll-out of various digitalisation strategies in the e-commerce arena.

Keeping the digital transformation on track

For all the focus on creating a customer journey that appeals to external users, the simple fact is that the success of a digital transformation strategy in the field of e-commerce rests equally on actively involving internal stakeholders in the journey. In short, employee expectation management feeds into customer experience management and vice versa, and it is critical for e-commerce companies to stay on top of both aspects to remain future-proof, competitive and attractive as an employer in the long term.

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