There is a lot being written on the topic of customer experience these days. And why not? After all, customers are the very reason why many of us continue to be in business. So, what could be more important than the customer experience?
Many would agree that it has never been more critical for companies to understand the need to enhance their end customer experience, increase customer loyalty, increase revenue per customer and acquire new customers.
The millennial era has introduced massive technology change driven by the advent of mobility, social networking, cloud computing and big data, forcing companies to abandon Business As Usual (BAU) thinking. Companies need to re-think their business growth strategy, how they optimize their core business processes and how they improve the engagement and experience of their end customers and employees.
Look to Your Employees First
But if the customer experience is so obvious and critically important, then why are so many companies getting it wrong?
Maybe it’s because they start in the wrong the place. Many companies embark on this journey by first starting at the periphery — at the end customer — which seems logical enough. However, our belief is that to offer really compelling end customer experiences, it has to involve more than just a few people who interact with the end customer.
All employees must play a role in improving the end customer experience. It is critical to create a client centric organization at all levels. So instead of first starting to measure the loyalty metrics of your end customer, maybe you should start by first measuring loyalty, delight and experience at the employee level.
The Path from Employee Experience to Customer Experience
Over the past several months we have been heavily focused on identifying the key trends in Customer Experience Management (CXM) from both an internal (employee) perspective and an external (end customer). Our goal was to begin to link these initiatives more tightly since we have historically not seen convergence.
While on the surface these might seem like disconnected initiatives, there are a lot of parallels in the changing demographic of both the end customer and employee, making it logical for companies to look at these experiences in concert with each other. Changing the end customer experience very much starts with changing the employee experience.
In this first of two articles, we will look at improving the customer experience from an internal perspective, through better employee engagement, and in part two we’ll look at it from an external perspective (through better end-user/customer engagement).
Focusing on CXM from an internal perspective, in other words, the employee experience, we have come up with a few key observations and pieces of advice for those looking to improve their strategy (or come up with one altogether).
First things first: it’s important to know how to best choose the right platform and approach for improving employee engagement.
Employee Engagement Today Makes New Demands
Paramount to instituting a massive change in customer experience is to start from within and improve employee engagement. It is now more crucial than ever that employees are tightly engaged with their employers. It is critical that they are aligned to the corporate vision and strategy and feel empowered and motivated to influence change and key business outcomes.
As we enter this new era where millions of millennial workers will now begin to enter the workforce, the methods that companies have historically used to engage their workers will need to drastically change. So how do companies engage these workers for the long haul? How do companies get employees to accelerate their innovation, create new business models, better engage end consumers and be more agile and responsive?
Workforce personas are rapidly changing from the highly mobile professional to the deskbound contributor and companies will need to meet the wide spectrum of applications and access that is expected by today’s millennial workers.
It is important that companies understand the various roles within their organization and adapt tools and technologies accordingly to ensure maximum effectiveness and productivity. And it is also important to recognize how these personas need to adapt over time as end users’ needs become more sophisticated. It is no longer acceptable to employees to have more access, technology and tools outside of work than within the walls of the enterprise.
The future of work is a world in which work is something you do, not a place you go. Gone are the days of the traditional office and cubicle environments. Office spaces today need to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing and not be closed door communities. Current enterprise infrastructures, policies and application stacks need to drastically change to meet these new demands and paradigms.