I would hope that everyone knows the difference between CSI and ESI, and how the two are very much connected to one and another, but if you don’t, let me explain. CSI is as we know customer satisfaction index, and ESI is employee satisfaction index. So how are the connected?
Let me first tell you why I’m writing about this. I have been in several dealers where an interview with employees has taken place, and just recently I was working in a store where the manager stated that the reason a process had broken down was because of the technicians having struggles with the process. He stated that I should talk with the techs, and find out what their issues were, and see how I could help. So, I broke the techs down into groups, and we met in a conference room without the manager to see what the concerns were.
Of course everyone had something to say about the process; some positive some negative, and I expected that before I even started. What was interesting about the meetings was that only a few people had issues with the process itself, and most saw the value of the process and what it could do for their paychecks. What I was completely surprised by is that in their minds there were many other unrelated issues that had nothing to do with the process that the techs felt that made process very cumbersome. In fact some issues had nothing to do with the process at all. So, I noted everything and started preparing the information gathered to bring to the Service Manager and General Manager.
Our meeting begins and the managers asked “so what did they say”. I proceeded to explain that for the most part they felt the process had value, but there were other extenuating circumstances that made the process very difficult to do consistently. So, what happened next you might ask? Well the managers became very defensive, and began to question what I was presenting. I stated that you had asked me to ask the techs what they were having issues with, and this in the techs minds was what they felt were the reasons why they could not do the process. Now I’m not going to go into details of the issues, but remember a person’s perception is their reality even if does not make any sense to us.
That’s just one instance and believe me there have been others. Some of the most consistent issues that come up in these interviews I have done are the feelings that management does not care about us. That management doesn’t understand what my job requires me to do. When management makes changes how will it affect my home life, and most frequently, why did they not ask us about the changes from our perspective, and ask our ideas when the changes were decided on. I would have to say this is most common when remodeling or construction is done.
So, let’s talk about that last point. We all know that most manufacturers want the most modern up to date facilities for their customers, and many are giving dealers millions of dollars to get these updates completed. It is also costing the dealers millions to complete the (in many cases) much needed updates. However, in many instances the people that we require to take care of our customers have little or no input in the design of these improvements. Obviously, there can be ideas that people have for the improvements that are just not practical or even doable. There also can be some ideas that are just financially unacceptable. I believe if we expect someone to work in a department, their input can be invaluable. This can be especially important where customer contact is common. Think about the shop, are the changes being made possibly counterproductive? Will these changes add steps to a process, or even make it more difficult for a tech to navigate through the shop, be it with a car, or get tools, or parts. We all know how time is the only commodity a tech has to sell.
Now you might be asking what my point is. My point is and question is do you conduct ESI surveys with your employees, and if not why not? Can we expect our employees to give world class service if they are not happy? Do we know what would make them happy? Is it something simple that has minimal cost or even no cost at all? We cannot answer the question if we don’t ask the questions that give an employee an anonymous format where they can speak their minds. Some requests will not be practical, but some could be very easily done and have enormous effects on their performance.
So, how do you do an employee survey, and when? I recommend them at least annually. All that is needed is a questionnaire attached to their paychecks and a receptacle to collect them into. The receptacle should not be clear thus allowing the privacy of the survey to continue. The surveys should also be departmentalized. I also like rating the questions between one and five. One being the lowest and five the highest. If you go from one to ten, you most likely will get a lot of fives which really doesn’t help effect change.
What questions do I ask? Here are some examples:
- How would you rate your direct supervisor
- How would rate the executive management
- How would you rate your working area
- How would you rate the support given to you
- How would rate the training offered
- How would rate the atmosphere of you work environment
- How would you rate the equipment you use
I would also recommend a section or two for employees to voice their opinions. This can also be associated with a question for instance:
- If you could what would you change to improve the working conditions
- If you could what would you do to improve morale of the dealer
- If you could what would you do if you were the manager of your department
I would keep the questions to a minimum like four or five questions. This is really all you will need to get a feel of the employees concerns, and issues that can affect their performance. It also won’t seem like a burden to them to fill out. Remember, we as managers are tasked with continual improvement on a daily basis. It is the only way we can adapt to the ever changing conditions of the car business. If you think you have all of the answers, and your employees don’t have any valuable ideas, you could be holding them back from being the employees you may want. Remember, when people have buy in to the way you do business, it is much easier to hold them accountable for what you are trying to accomplish.
Ok, one final thought and this should be apparent. If your employees are happy, it is much easier for them to make your customers happy. So, please don’t just ask someone what they think about changes that are going to be made. Ask everyone in your store what they think. You might be surprised of what they have to say, and how simple and easy some of these issues being resolved can improve your customer’s satisfaction.