For as long as I can remember, I’ve been on a quest to understand what makes people happy at work. As a child, I was pretty happy, but it seemed like all the adults around me were not fulfilled by their jobs. I thought being an adult meant you had to accept that you’d spend the majority of your time doing something you, at best, didn’t really enjoy, at worst, downright hated. I decided that future wasn’t for me. And that’s what brought me to starting Front. I wanted to create a place where people would be happy and engaged at work, and I wanted to work on a product that truly changed how people work.
Working on Front has also allowed me to continue my quest. Over the past year, we spoke with real employees across the US, in all sorts of industries, about what makes them engaged and happy at work.
At first, people were quick to mention “productivity” as a reason for being happy or unhappy at their job. But when we dug deeper, we realized they weren’t talking about doing more work or checking off their to do lists. They were talking about being helpful, making a difference for their team or customers, and working on what matters to them.
What we discovered, above all, is that people wanted to make an impact.
But in our productivity-obsessed culture, how do you reorient yourself and your team around having an impact? I believe it all comes down to your mission. Having something meaningful that you’re working for, mobilizing your team around that mission, and making your customers successful so everyone can get closer to making their missions possible.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Making sure your team feels connected to their jobs, and making sure that each customer is happy with the experience your company provides are two major problems companies face today.
Lack of employee engagement:
Only 53% of employees around the globe are engaged in their work.
Looking specifically at millennials, the largest generation in the US workforce today (~38%), 55% are actively NOT engaged at work. Millennials’ lack of engagement costs the U.S. economy $284 to $469 billion annually in lost productivity.
Poor customer loyalty:
51% of customers say most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences .
1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience.
While some see these as separate problems, to be solved separately, I see an opportunity to tackle them together. Every interaction between your customers and your team is an opportunity to create impact. When they interact, that’s when your team gets a chance to know for sure what they should be working on, straight from the customer’s mouth; that’s when they can see the effect of their work on a customer’s life. And for your customers, none of the work you do matters until they finally get to know and experience it.
We call these interactions, when your teams and your customers connect, “the heart of your business.”
Front has always been powering the heart of business.
We first launched Front as a shared inbox to make it easy for teams to work together to help customers. Over the past 6 years, we’ve added more capabilities for working together to reply to customers faster, automating busywork, providing visibility, and gaining a single source of truth across communication channels and apps.
Today, Front is not just a shared inbox, it’s a customer communication platform. We meaningfully connect more than 6,000 customer-facing teams with their customers and help scale the natural, human conversations that create customers for life.
But one of the most profound learnings we’ve uncovered over the years of building Front is that no matter how well-equipped one team is, on their own, they’re never going to be "enough" to offer the best customer experience. Almost always, different teams need to lean on each other: the sales team needs finance to help with a contract; the success team needs an answer from the product team regarding the roadmap; the customer service team needs to talk to engineering; and so on.
But this kind of collaboration is extremely challenging. All these teams use different tools to do their job: the support team has a helpdesk, the sales team has a CRM and Gmail or Outlook, finance and operations have an ERP, etc. As time passes, these systems get more complex and grow apart. Unfortunately, your customers will suffer from it.
This is why we’ve built Front to have the familiar interface of the email client: this is how we guarantee that members of all teams can use the product easily AND will actually want to use it, so that as many people as possible are available to help each other.
Our plan for the next 18 months is to build on this foundation and offer so much more. We want to make sure that our Customer Communication Platform works with all types of customer communication, whether it’s written or spoken or in video, whether it’s asynchronous like an email is, or synchronous like a chat conversation should be.
The goal is simple: to help companies build the strongest relationships with the most loyal customers, at a scale they never thought possible. All while ensuring individuals across organizations are aware of the needs and challenges faced by their customers, so that everyone can better understand the meaning of their work.
Written by Mathilde Collin
Originally Published: 10 August 2020