- People & Culture
How customer service significantly improves with diversity in the workplace
Technology is often the great equalizer when it comes to a company’s ability to readily emulate a competitor’s products, prices or services. But what it can’t do is replicate an authentic and caring corporate culture that prioritizes employees. This takes years to build. Diversity is an essential component of a people-first culture that fosters acceptance and inclusiveness and enables frontline agents to act as the best possible ambassadors of your brand.
At TELUS International, team member diversity serves as a significant competitive advantage. “In order to be a company that wins in the market through differentiation, innovation, and teamwork—it’s critical to build a team that is a genuine reflection of its customers and community,” said, Marilyn Tyfting, chief corporate officer at TELUS International. “Supporting our team members’ right to bring their whole self to work facilitates a broader and more creative exchange of ideas, promotes better talent acquisition and retention, and inspires innovation to help better understand, support and serve customers”
Implementing an effective corporate diversity and inclusion program — one that recognizes individual differences, such as race, gender or sexual orientation and values a multitude of unique perspectives and thoughts — will continue to be key for companies as their customer bases expand around the world. Here are just a few of the reasons why companies should consider diversity as a strategic tactic in realizing their business goals and outcomes.
Pick me! Diversity creates a caring culture where people want to work
When it comes to customer care and service delivery, recruiting, retaining and engaging the best people is what will consistently drive exceptional customer experiences. And, you attract ‘the best’ by creating a culture that is welcoming, respectful and that values the contribution and worth of each and every employee. Diversity can only be harnessed if the different voices are included in decision-making — there must be an authentic readiness to unreservedly hear, listen and engage those thoughts.
A strong leadership team that’s invested in your diversity goals is also critical. They set the tone for the company, modeling how to seek, understand and evaluate other people’s perspectives rather than focusing solely on their own individual agendas. In fact, a Forbes Insights survey found that when it comes to the strategy and implementation of a diversity program, seven out of ten companies reported that the buck stops at the C-level and their board of directors, and 35% feel ultimate accountability lies directly with the CEO.
Why didn’t I think of that? Diversity fosters creativity and innovation
It just makes sense. People with different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures and upbringings will have different perspectives. Layer onto that age, gender, ability and sexuality, and you have a plethora of opinions, skills and ways to approach challenges that will come to life for the benefit of your customers and your business. Particularly in customer service settings, where unique challenges constantly arise, it’s beneficial to have diverse teams that can share ideas and best practices and collaborate during team huddles.
Diversity is especially important when innovating with artificial intelligence (AI). While your customer service stands to benefit from leveraging AI — through chatbots, for example — there is also risk of introducing underlying human biases. Establishing a diverse team to control for data bias can result in a better, more inclusive solution or product.
Dr. Linus Pauling, a Nobel laureate said, “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” This supports the premise that the greater the number of people in an organization who have different lived experiences, the greater the number and quality of different ideas and solutions that will be generated.
Show me the money! Diversity leads to better customer experience and financial performance
Building a diverse team that is a genuine reflection of the customers you serve supports a deeper understanding of their needs and increases the opportunities to form those all-important human and more personalized connections that customers seek and value. These exceptional customer experiences in turn produce a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.
Harvard Business Review found that more diverse companies had both 19% points higher innovation revenues and 9% points higher EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margins, on average. In another study, they found that diverse companies are more likely to capture new markets, which also has a positive effect on financial performance.
At the end of the day, celebrating diversity and striving to integrate people from all walks of life and with different abilities into the workforce is the right thing to do. The Inclusion Program for the Hearing Impaired is one of the many ways we are making a thoughtful effort to advance diversity at TELUS International. Launching and supporting team member resource groups, such as Connections for women and Spectrum for the LGBT2QA community, are another way we attract and retain top talent.
By actively recruiting for and hiring diverse candidates, TELUS International has built and is fostering a “collective intelligence” that enables our team to better connect with our clients’ customers, leading to enhanced loyalty, increased wallet share and top-line growth.