A person unlocking a piece from a chess set with a skeleton key. Unlocking the potential power of employee experience concept
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As your organization concentrates its attention on the continual improvement of customer experience, there’s a risk of overlooking the needs of the community which directly interfaces with those customers – your employees. Rethinking your employee experience is every bit as important as reimagining customer experience.

This is particularly true when your organization is aiming at what we can call “customer experience 2.0.” This CX 2.0 approach takes the insights you derive from mining customer data and applying machine learning to that information to create personalized experiences which will best match or exceed the expectations of individual customers.

Several recent studies have referenced the strong connection between customer experience and employee experience as well as the positive impact highly engaged employees will have on their organization’s success due to their increased productivity.

Fully Address Employee Feedback, Engagement, and Experience

When embarking on a CX 2.0 strategy, we’ve already stressed the importance of treating customer experience as an integral part of your organization’s overall digital transformation initiative. We’ve also noted that a successful reframing of customer experience needs to overhaul not only customer-facing front-end processes, but also back-end processes such as order management and inventory management. The other key piece of the DT and CX puzzle is employee experience, engagement, and feedback.

Any CX is dependent on your organization having the right combination of people, processes, and technology in place to ensure every engagement is easy, simple, effortless, and consistent. It’s often the people piece that organizations fail to address fully, with not enough attention being paid to the feedback, engagement, and experience of employees.

Today’s customers tend to do more and more self-service in terms of educating themselves on products and services they’re planning to purchase. By the time they reach out to your organization with a question, obtaining a rapid and accurate response to that query may be the only obstacle standing in the way of them completing their purchase.

Related Article: Why You Need to Combine Digital Transformation and Customer Experience

Enable Employees to Match or Exceed Customer Expectations

If your employees are unable to address and satisfactorily resolve the customer’s inquiry, you may not only lose that sale but you might also have forfeited any future opportunity to engage with that customer. It’s also possible that the frustrated customer will then share their poor experience with your organization with others – whether their immediate circle of family, friends, and coworkers, or potentially a much broader audience via social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

You therefore want and need your employees to have instant access to all the latest and most pertinent information across your organization — regarding an individual customer’s account, order status, delivery window, repair or service updates, etc. In that way, your employees can confidently handle customer inquiries. This is particularly important when dealing with existing customers who have the expectation that your employees will make use of the information collected on the customer’s prior engagements with your organization.

In a recent survey of 326 executives, “The State of Digital Customer Experience – 2020” — CMSWire asked respondents where they see employee experience having the biggest direct impact on their customers’ experiences. Multiple responses to the question were accepted.

Among those polled, the top response to employee experience’s direct impact on CX was ‘Easy access to information on customers’ (58%); followed by ‘Collaboration tools — allowing us to be agile and responsive’ (53%); then, ‘Easy access to information on products and services’ (45%); ‘Digital tools that help drive a culture of innovation and great service’ (42%); and ‘Ideation and innovation platforms — ideas to improve customer service’ (41%).

Employees Are Your Brand Ambassadors

In a world where customer brand loyalty can be particularly fickle, your employees are your marketers not only during office hours, where they will be the first human touchpoint your organization has with a customer, but also outside of the workplace. Effectively, your employees occupy an important a role as your brand ambassadors, as do your customers.

If your employees are dissatisfied in their work, due to inefficient processes, poorly integrated and hard-to-use technologies, lack of access to required data, and an inability to remedy customers’ issues, they are unlikely to speak well of either your organization or its products.

However, if your employees are able to meet or exceed customer expectations and therefore enhance your customer experience, your employees will feel job satisfaction and a greater sense of loyalty to your organization.

Increasingly, employees also want to feel good about the organization they’re working for and its values. So, along with carefully monitoring employee sentiment, you need to keep employees informed as to how your company is a force for good in the local and international community. Employees are likely to communicate this kind of information to your customers, who also may be developing a stronger social conscience about brands.

Employees Are Your Customers Too!

In paying as much attention to rethinking employee experience as you do to reimagining customer experience, you’re realizing a key truth: Your employees are also your customers. In the same way that a simple, fast, and highly personalized customer experience helps drive customer loyalty, the end result of an optimal employee experience is employee retention.

As you transform employee experience, you want to ensure that you involve employees from the start of that project and capture their input into what’s working well and what may be problematic or broken in their current experience. Use those insights to rethink employee experience and to help improve employee engagement by showing that you have recognized and then addressed the problems they’ve been struggling with.

Then, also poll your employees for their feedback on the current customer experience — both the problems on their side as well as the frustrations they hear being regularly voiced by your customers. Where are the current bottlenecks in access to information and in communication? For example, there may be issues around an incomplete customer profile or multiple, conflicting profiles of a single customer.

Alternatively, your employees may lack insight into your inventory levels, meaning they are unable to recommend alternatives to customers such as a similar product to the one that may be currently out of stock. Your employees want to be able to react to a customer’s sense of urgency and then to match that need. For instance, having the ability to provide a variety of options for the speedy delivery and safe receipt of an urgently required item.

Use Emerging Technologies to Enhance Employee Experience

As you make use of AI, chatbots, and machine learning, you want those emerging digital technologies to help complement your human staff through the automated provision of specific product or service recommendations, relevant offers, and other advice. Those technologies should assist your employees in making informed, on-the-fly decisions to help customers in real-time, for instance, in showing a new banking customer the most appropriate options for loan offers.

Over time, there’s the potential to use these technologies to take on the more run-of-the-mill transactional aspects of customer experience, freeing up your employees to concentrate on the complexities of maintaining ongoing customer relationships. For example, think in terms of the shift for an employee in a customer-focused role from a transaction-driven bank teller to a financial advisor.

The overall goal in bringing customer experience and employee experience closer together is that both communities gain more transparency and insight across every stage of the customer journey. At the same time, the aim is to facilitate engagement between customer and employee which is bi-directional to allow either or both individuals to pinpoint, alert, and successfully resolve any issues along that journey as soon as possible.

Happy Employees Equals Happy Customers

So, the primary takeaway here is the vital, ongoing role that employee experience plays in enabling your organization to deliver optimal customer experiences both now and into the future. Once you adopt a Customer Experience (CX) 2.0 strategy, you’ll realize the beneficial impacts your happy employees will have on boosting customer satisfaction.

If you put as much effort into rethinking employee experience as you do into transforming customer experience, you will have built the best foundation on which to grow both customer and employee long-term loyalty which, in turn, will help to boost your revenue.