an employee helping out a customer
PHOTO: Blake Wisz | unsplash

Digital employee experience (DEX) has typically been linked to the employee lifecycle. With this approach, companies invest in improving the experience of performing processes such as training requests, timesheets, time-off or IT service requests. This is often accomplished by integrating some of these functionalities into the intranet user interface (UI). 

IT and HR's traditional involvement in intranet developments also had a hand in this particular focus. Yet I would argue DEX has a much more important opportunity: a focus on improving the customer experience.

Example: DEX Helping With a Customer Complaint

Let’s take a simple yet common example: handling a customer complaint. A digital workplace can let the employee figure out on their own how to deal with the issue. Or it can provide a much higher level of support for the process.

To design DEX for the latter, I use an extension of the Why, How, What model.  

Managing the 'Why' Side

A well-designed 'why' can inspire the employee to provide better service to his customer. In this case, the why could be: Each complaint is an opportunity for a company to improve its services. It is also an opportunity to fix the customer problem and retain them for years of repeat business.

Integrating these statements into a prominent spot in the DEX will put the employee in the right mindset when interacting with a complaining customer. The example pictured below shows placement of a 'why' statement on the front page of an HR portal. 

Related Article: 4 Steps to Start Connecting Customer Experience and Employee Experience Insights

handling customer complaints

Managing the 'How' Side

The 'How' covers the information an employee needs related to the task at hand, as well as any necessary training resources (which structure the task and related information in a form that is easier to consume), support resources and feedback.

All too often company management assume that simply because people went to an induction training, they will know how to perform their duties. Two factors make the need to supplement this initial training on an ongoing basis clear:

  1. People forget most of the initial training they receive immediately after leaving the training room. Therefore, making procedures, forms or training resources easily available improves the quality of the services delivered by the employees. Especially in the case of direct interactions, the employee is under a significant time constraints, so reducing the time to access procedures or training resources or having already compiled FAQs increases the chances of delivering better service to customers.
  2. Things change over time, so it is important to highlight news and changes at the moment the employee performs the tasks, as this increases compliance to the latest updates.

Complaining customers are usually unhappy and potentially angry. Having the right skills will allow the company representative not only to defuse the anger, but also to manage it internally so the negative energy does not affect him psychologically. Having a digital workplace that surfaces this kind of training information together with the other information and tools related with this topic will likely improve both the employee performance and well-being.

Locating the right person to support with a certain task is a challenge in most organizations. A well-organized digital workspace will provide all the necessary support contacts for the topic at hand.

My phone went into service four times in the last 6 months, the issue was never fixed and every time the reaction of the seller company was the same. In this case it was a combination of the mindset of the person working in the warranty department, their internal process and the service company. Simply going through the same process once again is likely to deliver the same results, so, in order to avoid other similar cases, the digital workplace should be able to send feedback to a higher level of management.

Related Article: Reinventing Work: How Your Hybrid Workplace Can Deliver on CX and EX

Managing the 'What' Side

Having a mechanism that aggregates tasks and notifications from all the corporate workflow management systems will likely improve the responsiveness to customer requests.

Also, the technology landscape of larger companies includes dozens of applications, most of them with non-descriptive names and multiple modules. Especially when it comes to infrequently performed tasks, providing a direct link to the exact form to enter a customer complaint improves both employee productivity and responsiveness to a customer query.

Where Does Your DEX Focus?

A good digital workplace is one that fully supports the Why, How and What for each relevant customer interaction — which leads to a DEX that delivers satisfaction for both the customer and the employee.

I expect the business impact of focusing DEX on improving customer experience is at least an order of magnitude larger than the impact of focusing on employee lifecycle alone. And because an employee might be facing a few customer complaints daily as opposed to a few training, or time-off requests yearly, the positive impact to the employees is significantly higher as well.