Updated: Mar 5, 2020
A couple months ago, I published an article that explored the link between customer experience and employee experience. In response, one reader commented that “there is nothing new whatsoever about the recognition of the connection between employees and customers.” The only thing left to explore, this person argued, is how to strengthen it.
I couldn’t agree more. The link between CX and EX is clear and unquestioned. So, what now?
Understanding the importance of this connection isn’t enough. Organizations need to begin seamlessly merging their CX and EX efforts. What does this practically look like, what roadblocks should be anticipated, and how should this key business strategy be managed to measure results?
Here are three ways organizations across every industry can begin connecting, and realizing value from, CX and EX:
1. Clearly define and promote your organization’s purpose
Meaning is derived from purpose. Issues will abound if an organization hasn’t clearly defined or communicated its own (either internally to employees, externally to customers or both). Customers will fail to connect. Employees will lack direction and motivation. The need for purpose is a strong bond that employees and customers share. Naturally, their relationship will strengthen when there’s a genuine belief in, and shared pursuit of, the same purpose.
A good organizational purpose incites motivation and excitement. There should be a component of difficulty that unites (not overwhelms) employees and customers to work together in line with an organization’s mission, vision and values. Ultimately, it should answer the customer’s question of “why should I care?” and the employee’s question of “why am I here?” Learn more with these awesome examples of company purpose statements aggregated by HubSpot.
2. Ignite CX/EX alignment through leadership
Customer experience is an evolved and understood concept proven to drive loyalty and profitability. The concept of employee experience, on the other hand, is not widely understood. Having said that, change rarely happens without it being from the top down. The fastest and most effective way to push the CX/EX agenda is to empower and educate leadership; to make those who are capable of change willing and ready to do so with new goals and accountability.
This could be something bold like creating a new title within the organization (i.e. Chief Experience Officer or VP of Customer and Employee Experience). Or, something easier like leveraging your current organizational priorities to advance CX and EX alignment. This can even be something as simple as having CX leaders get more involved with employee engagement surveys. The bottom line is that CX/EX alignment needs greater priority within organizations, and leadership is on the frontlines.
3. Give employees the tools they want/need to get the job done
Another bond employees and customers share is the desire for seamless, connected, and personalized communication and collaboration experiences. Customers, for example, want a variety of communication channels for interacting with brands, with the right information available to them at the right time over any device (smartphone, tablet, etc.). Employees are no different. They want to use their preferred communication and collaboration apps to get the job done, versus being forced to use company-owned or created software.
It’s not about giving employees unlimited choices but rather giving them a set of options that will help them achieve their full potential and drive business value. This warrants a much larger discussion around the digital transformation of your organization, but I’ll leave you with this: 59% of employees say they experience challenges while using collaboration tools. You can’t expect a disjointed workforce to develop meaningful connections with customers.
Digging a bit deeper, here are two ways to begin managing the performance of these CX/EX strategies:
An employee engagement platform that generates an overall engagement score for each employee as well as different key areas of the employee experience. Get actionable insight into the hearts and minds of your employees with real-time data. There are plenty of platforms out there, some free of cost!
Establish new metrics that demonstrate the impact of initiatives on both CX and EX. For example, if you invest in a new integrated knowledge management dashboard for employees, see how that affects EX measures like after-call work and the results of customer satisfaction scores.
Research from Accenture shows that companies that get CX right increase profitability by 11%, yet those who also get EX right see an increase of 21%. The data is there. The results are proven. Start making the connection between CX and EX to create real business value.