How customer and employee experience work together
Many companies embrace the value of the customer experience (CX) and have set up comprehensive programs within their organizations to make it a focus. However, those efforts can be lost if you don’t ensure that the final interaction is a great one. First impressions are definitely important, but it’s the final impression, or the last mile, that lasts.
While the concept of the last mile generally focuses only on the delivery of goods or services, one of its critical elements is ensuring that your employees deliver exceptional customer experience. CX and employee experience (EX) need to be aligned, so that one augments the other.
An engaged and empowered workforce, where each employee understands how their role impacts the overall CX and company growth, is critical – even more so in this changing post-COVID environment.
Another benefit of a great EX plan is that it helps to attract and retain employees – something desirable for all businesses in this time of the “Great Resignation” – and empowers them to maximize their potential.
Accenture research from a few years ago stated that with a great CX program, profitability increased by 11 per cent, and when a well-executed EX program was added, it increased to 21 per cent.
Delivering a well-executed EX program involves three factors:
- Make sure that your company’s purpose is clearly defined and communicated regularly
- Ensure leadership is aligned and excited about CX and EX initiatives
- Give employees the tools they want and need to deliver exceptional experience
COVID-19 has changed the way consumers interact with organizations and has also raised customer expectations. For example, with increased online activity, consumers expect that in return for signing up for an account and providing personal data, companies will use that data to provide quick or customized experiences. It is critical to ensure that your front lines have access to the customer data that will help them deliver personalized service.
For in-person experiences, your staff can have a significant impact on a customer’s day. Simple graces such as welcoming the customer as they enter a store and thanking them as they check out are easy tasks. Out of stock items can be a source of frustration, but technology can help to alert customers and notify them of when items will be made available for purchase. While this sounds easy, consider how many companies are actually always doing this.
The importance of CX
A member of our Council details a recent personal experience below involving a bank, which showcases when things do not go well.
Booking the appointment online was very easy: I selected that I was interested in opening an estate account. When I arrived at the bank, they had booked me with someone who had never done this. It took over two hours to open the account, and I had to watch the bank employee read the instruction manual line by line. I left very frustrated and without confidence that the account was set up correctly. I wondered why the booking tool didn’t match me with someone who knew how to complete my request in an efficient and timely manner. In the follow-up satisfaction survey about my experience, I expressed my dissatisfaction. Several weeks later, I still have yet to hear from them in response. That experience left a negative impression.
On the flip side, I also recently dealt with Furniture Bank, a registered charity in Toronto, as I had a large quantity of furniture that I wanted to donate. Every interaction was positive: Phone calls, timely email responses, pickup, driver communication and the follow-up thank you email. They left a great lasting impression, and I will certainly use them again and recommend them to others.
It’s clear that the last mile can either elevate the customer’s whole experience or crush all of the good work that led up to the final transaction. Giving your employees access to the data and tools to deliver exceptional service sets everyone up for success.
Stay tuned for two more blogs in this series on the last mile. Coming up next is an article on the role of employee experience and how it impacts the delivery of quality customer experience.
Joanne Cheevers, Director of Partner Marketing, Introhive
Geoff Day, Director, Loyalty Marketing, Sobeys
Lori Steiner, Marketing Director, Membership, Automotive & GCR, CAA Club Group