How to bring customer experience and employee experience closer together

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If you take care of the employee experience, your employees will take care of your customer experience. 

Some things really do just belong together. Think fish and chips, Mickey and Minnie, Kim and Kanye. There’s plenty of research to show that employee happiness depends not simply on what the company says, but what it does, with a direct impact on both customer experience (CX) and business performance.

CX and employee experience (EX) professionals might not yet be thinking of customer and employee experience as a double act but, with inspiration taken from leaders in the field, here are some tips on how you can drive effective engagement across your organisation…

Have you considered turning ‘top-down’ on its head?

Your frontline is where CX can be built up or broken down. They are the people driving sales and retaining customer goodwill, so start treating your frontline staff as the ‘top management’ of your organisation - they truly can affect change.

The role of the C-Suite isn’t to dream up policies and procedures, but to listen to the needs of their ‘heroes on the frontline’, after all, those who are typically happy and appreciated are significantly more engaged employees.

Making sure employees have the autonomy to do the right thing by the customer, whilst also having training and resources accessible to them, are all important factors of engagement.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon

How to look beyond the data

Rather than simply relying on your data, go out and ask your colleagues how they really feel and what changes they think the business should make. Giving your employees this autonomy will enable you to determine the right experience elements to deliver. But to truly drive change in your culture, you not only have to listen, but also be willing to act.

“Everything that’s important to our customers is just as important to our colleagues. Our colleagues’ needs are vital as they interact with our brand every day.” Wayne Hall Senior Manager: Reward & Engagement, Dunelm

How will employee engagement help your business?

Every level of a business must be bought into a customer-centric culture in order to create successful engagement. Whether it be in the boardroom or on the frontline, an engaged employee will help to reduce churn rates, as they help customers feel truly valued.

Wider engagement results in increased business output, as everyone is working towards a shared goal. In fact, companies with engaged employees benefit from 22% higher productivity, 38% higher customer satisfaction, and up to 19% higher profits.

“All too often CX is stuck in the ivory tower. You need to give power to the people on your frontline, to those people who can really make a difference.” Phil Evans Chief Raving Officer, Rant & Rave

Connect the dots between employee and customer feedback

Connecting employee and customer feedback will allow you to take a pulse of your business in real-time, providing valuable insight into what is happening across the organisation.

This insight enables you to truly get under the surface of customer and employee interactions, highlighting recurring problems and pinpointing any resource constraints.

“I’m a real believer in positivity and in being in charge of yourself. You can choose to have a great day and you can choose to deliver great service.” John Patterson, VP of Customer Experience, Sage

What impact will a performance-led culture have?

Although 83% of US consumers prefer to deal with human beings over digital channels, the consistent driver for customer engagement and experience is people performance.

Those employees who are on a journey of self-development will have a positive, upbeat and receptive-to-change attitude, and this energy will transfer across to customers in those critical person-to-person interactions.

Truly invested frontline employees will feel empowered to go the distance for customers. Along with a shared customer-centric culture, they will build successful and meaningful relationships and, ultimately, will succeed in keeping more customers engaged.

“Ultimately, happy employees lead to happy customers - they’re two sides of the same coin.” Professor Moira Clark, Henley Centre for Customer Management

Why is closing the loop so critical?

Closing the loop has never been so critical, and this is reflective of ever increasing customer expectations. Ensuring that your customer and employee issues are always followed up will help to reduce churn and improve engagement, whether that’s by calling, emailing or using another proactive form of communication.

Closing the loop also works to increase NPS scores, as in 65% of cases, customers score higher when a company has closed the loop with them during a previous interaction.

If you’re wondering what impact that could have, it not only improves the brand experience for your customers, but also increases retention rates for your business.

“It’s time to design experiences you want people to have, remember, and share. Customer experience is the new marketing and customers’ experiences become the ‘BX’ - brand experience.” Brian Solis Digital Analyst, Speaker & Author

How can feedback drive your strategy?

When it comes to engaging your customers and employees, claiming to reach out to them is no longer enough - you need to go beyond this.

Effective engagement is more than simply asking a question, it’s all about creating a meaningful dialogue between your company, your employees and your customers. Start by asking the questions and then use the feedback you receive to begin shaping your strategy, to move your business forwards.

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

Want to read more on the topic? Find out why HR has moved from talking about employee engagement to employee experience.

 

About Chris Allen

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