Engaged Employees = Engaged Client Services
Have you ever had a job that you simply couldn’t stand, due to a poor relationship between the decision-makers and the employees responsible for carrying out those decisions?
It feels like no matter how strong an effort you make or how much you like serving the customers despite the poor work environment, it’s hard to perform at your best with so much negativity in the air. As a business owner, apathetic, disengaged employees can spell real disaster for the quality of your customer service, and the data consistently show how disengagement correlates with poor customer service. This is an age-old problem that has always been a hurdle for business.
The positive side is that genuinely engaged employees are more likely to do what’s necessary to provide great service, because they’re empowered to make the necessary decisions and have the support they need to get the job done effectively.
In an article published in LinkedIn about this topic, author Peter Ankerstjerne, the CMO at ISS, a global provider of facility services, talks about the relationship between trust and good customer experience:
“Any good relationship is built on trust and transparency. Based on our research it is clear that these traits are, in fact, key drivers of customer experience and customer retention.”
Ask any employee or a leader with experience in customer service, and you’ll probably have an easy time getting a more detailed list of the most desirable traits that they look for in a healthy relationship with management. Would trust and transparency rank near the top of that list? Of course! No matter what type of relationship you’re talking about, those are some very important traits to identify.
But what about when that trust isn’t there, or it has eroded over time? What if the decisions made by leadership share little consistency, and even less information about why each decision was made? What if even the most basic, quality-of-life issues in the office take forever to resolve, and the “solutions” are completely out of touch with the needs of the people who will be most affected by them?
“Are employees in fact happy and engaged or are they disengaged and disillusioned about management or other aspects of their employment.” Ankerstjerne asks. “This will have a direct effect on the quality provided and thereby their engagement with the end-users on a day-to-day level.”
There are a ton of reasons that employees become disengaged, but the end result tends to look very similar. No matter how much effort your most dedicated employees expend to make the best of a challenging situation, customer service will suffer when employees do not feel connected or denied the tools they need to do the best job they can for the customer. Trust and transparency mean a ton to customers, and just as much to the employees who represent your business to those customers every day.
Giving Employees a Reason to Be Engaged Has Big Benefits for Customer Service
Now, think about a job you really loved, even if your pay-grade, title, and job description were not quite perfect. Perhaps you had a great boss, a strong sense of teamwork among employees, maybe a few extra perks that made you look forward to coming into work each day. No matter the reason, there are huge benefits to a healthy company culture, and a committed group of employees.
Engagement is a two-way street, because active, involved leaders are more likely to have employees who are active and involved. In customer service situations, it’s crucial not just to provide a healthy working environment, but to empoweremployees to make the right decisions based on their training, experience, and read of the situation. It’s all about being transparent in how you want employees to approach customer service, and trusting them to make the right decisions.
Related: Seek Out Moments of Connection
In addition to the benefits for employee engagement, an empowered workforce is also much better equipped to adapt to the unique challenges of customer service because they have the knowledge and authority to tailor solutions to each individual situation. It takes effort to make good customer service happen, and your employees will be much more willing to make that effort when they feel positively connected in the workplace—both with their employer(s) and their peers, given the tools to do the job right, and have a stake in the outcome.
So if you’re on the management side of things and want to improve customer experience, take some time to look objectively at your employment and business policies. Are there bottlenecks or barriers that could be removed to ensure better outcomes? Take a survey of your employees to find out how they’re feeling. Do they feel they have what they need to do a great job, or do they feel some disconnection? What frustrations are they having on a daily basis that contribute to poor customer service?
Taking the temperature of your business in this way, on a regular basis, can help everyone do a better job of keeping your customers happy. Isn’t that why we’re in business in the first place?
This first appeared on Ted Rubin
An Emerging Theme In Thematic Investing
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are popular vehicles for market participants looking to engage in thematic investing. Thematic investing looks to take advantage of future growth trends, including disruptive technologies. Given that forward-looking approach, stock-picking in the thematic universe is equally as hard, if not harder, than in traditional market segments.
Go back to the late 1990s, before the bursting of the Internet/technology bubble. Back then, investors stood an equal chance of selecting E-Toys over Amazon or some no longer in existence networking equipment maker over Cisco.
“History is littered with examples of prospering industries with no indication of which company will come to dominate the industry,” according to Nasdaq. “This suggests that successful thematic investing is more about selecting baskets of investments rather than single securities.”1
The ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF (DTEC) provides basket exposure to a broad swath of thematic investments. DTEC features exposure to not just one or two emerging technologies, but 10 such themes on an equal-weight basis.
The 10 themes represented in DTEC are as follows: 3D printing, clean energy, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data and analytics, fintech, healthcare innovation, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile payments and robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).
Generally speaking, fund issuers have been quick to respond to disruptive and transformative technologies, bringing products to market to tap these themes. Prior to DTEC coming to market late last year, there were ETFs devoted exclusively to cloud computing, cybersecurity, robotics and other themes featured in DTEC. However, few use the basket approach to themes employed by DTEC.
February, a rough month for U.S. stocks, highlighted the advantages of DTEC's multi-theme methodology. Seven of the 10 themes found in the fund finished the month lower, but DTEC was able to outperform the S&P 500 on a monthly basis.
Focusing on individual themes can be rewarding over the long-term, but not all investors have the risk tolerance for such a strategy. Consider this: the Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index jumped more than 48% in 2017. That type of performance is enough to seduce many investors, but that same benchmark slipped 7.60% in February, generating monthly volatility of 34.10%.2 Said another way, that robotics and AI index's February slide was more than triple the loss experienced by DTEC during the month.
While it probably is not accurate to call the indexes devoted to individual disruptive themes “old,” many use old school weighting methodologies. For example, the two largest components in the ISE Cloud Computing Index are Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN). Only two members of the S&P 500 have larger market values than Amazon while Netflix currently has a larger market cap than Wal-Mart (WMT) and McDonald's (MCD).
Holdings subject ot change as of 12/31/17
For its part, DTEC not only equally weights its 10 disruptive themes, but its 100 components as well, potentially reducing single stock risk in the process. As the chart below confirms, equally weighting stocks is rewarding across sectors and market capitalization segments.
Past performance does not guarantee future results
Annualized returns for the past 10 years show seven of the 11 S&P 500 sectors, when equally weighted, outperform cap-weighted equivalents, according to S&P. Three of those seven sectors – financial services, healthcare and technology – are prominent parts of DTEC's roster.
1 Source: Nasdaq Dec. 28, 2015 https://www.nasdaq.com/article/what-thematic-investing-is-and-its-strengths-and-risks-cm559209
2 Source: ETF Replay data
An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus which contain this and other information call 866.675.2639 or visit www.alpsfunds.com. Read the prospectus carefully before investing.
An investment in the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF (DTEC) may be subject to substantially greater risk and volatility than investments in larger and more mature technology companies.
There is no assurance that the market developments and sector growth based upon the themes discussed in the article will come to pass.
ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF shares are not individually redeemable. Investors buy and sell shares of the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF on a secondary market. Only market makers or “authorized participants” may trade directly with the Fund, typically in blocks of 50,000 shares.
ALPS Advisors, Inc. (AAI) has engaged IRIS Werks, LLC (IRIS) to produce analysis and commentary on ALPS-advised ETFs. IRIS currently has a compensated business relationship with AAI. AAI is not affiliated with IRIS.
The content and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and not the views and opinions of AAI. In addition, AAI assumes no responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the content written by the author.
There are risks involved with investing in ETFs including the loss of money. Additional information regarding the risks of this investment is available in the prospectus. Past Performance is not indicative of future results.
The fund is new and has limited operating history.
ALPS Portfolio Solutions Distributor, Inc. is the distributor for the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF. AAI is affiliated with ALPS Portfolio Solutions Distributor, Inc.
The author is not an investment professional and this article should not be considered investment advice. While the information and statistical data contained herein are based on sources believed to be reliable, the author takes no responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the content. Additionally, this article should not be relied on or be the basis for an investment decision. Information that is historical is not indicative of future results, and subject to change.
S&P 500®: A capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.
S&P SmallCap 600®: A capitalization-weighted index that measures the small-cap segment of the U.S. equity market.
S&P MidCap 400®: A capitalization-weighted index that measures the mid-cap segment of the U.S. equity market.
Indxx Global Robotics & Artifical Intelligence Thematic Index: The Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index is designed to track the performance of companies listed in developed markets that are expected to benefit from the increased adoption and utilization of robotics and Artificial Intelligence ("AI"), including companies involved in Industrial Robotics and Automation, Non-Industrial Robots, Artificial Intelligence and Unmanned Vehicles.
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