The elevated role of employee experience
Most people are familiar with phrases like “the customer is always right.” They’ve been around for decades – and for good reason. Happy and loyal customers remain the lifeblood of most successful businesses. Advances in digital technology have seen customer relationship management (CRM) evolving into a discipline in its own right, and there are countless CRM platforms and tools available on the market today.
In our enthusiasm to optimize our levels of CRM, we shouldn’t forget that superior customer experience (CX) starts with superior employee experience (EX). In simpler terms: happy employees translate into happy customers, while unhappy employees often lead to happy competitors.
Organizations should work harder to align management to the importance of EX
As consumers, we can often instinctively sense when a company isn’t looking after its employees. We quickly pick up on the frustration and apathy of the people we deal with, whether those be frontline staff, call centre agents or salespeople.
Having disengaged company representatives inevitably translates into poor service quality including surly faces rather than friendly smiles, long wait or response times and unresolved issues.
As we navigate a tight labour market in which finding and retaining good people is harder than ever, EX should take its rightful place at the top of the boardroom agenda.
A new study released by Salesforce highlights the link between great EX and CX. According to one of the study’s key contributors, “employees are now the most important stakeholder to long-term success and expect the same level of ease and convenience in their experiences as customers do. New data shows that a unified customer and employee experience is a winning growth strategy that can increase revenue by up to 50 per cent.”
The Salesforce study also suggests that there is still work to be done to strike the right balance between CX and EX when it comes to prioritization and internal alignment:
- Roughly six in 10 employees (63 per cent) and C-suite members (57 per cent) believe CX is more important to business success than EX.
- Seven in 10 C-suite leaders (71 per cent) report their employees feel engaged with their work when in reality, only 51 per cent of employees say that’s the case.
Too often, outdated technology and siloed data strategies contribute to misalignment between employees and the C-suite, according to another recent study by Mendix.
- More than half of C-suite members (52 per cent) believe their corporate technology is working effectively, compared to just 32 per cent of employees (Salesforce).
To close the gap, IT and HR teams need to come together to ensure that the organization’s hardware and software interoperate seamlessly, promote real-time collaboration between individuals and teams, and reduce the level of effort involved in completing basic tasks.
Organizations should also recognize that data can be a powerful ally. A connected EX data strategy will bring to the surface critical information regarding levels of employee engagement, sentiment and overall wellbeing. However, tactics such as running employee surveys and tracking employees’ use of and satisfaction with systems don’t necessarily provide a multi-dimensional and real-time view of EX.
Data is only valuable if you understand the sentiment behind it and have a structured process in place for regularly reviewing it and acting on feedback.
Closing the gap between insight and action
Utilizing workplace analytics technology provides the ability to gather rich and more meaningful data about your people and how and when they’re working, and cross-examine it more deeply than ever before.
For example, it can help you understand how much time teams are spending in meetings, the volume of chat exchanges and emails, who might be working overtime, late into the evening or on weekends, and even provide insights into the nature and frequency of people’s interactions with their line managers.
These insights can be used by HR and IT teams to identify areas for improvement and investment. Since the process of data-gathering and analysis is continuous, you can reassess your workplace every few months and establish a cycle of ongoing improvement.
As we move through the second half of 2022, it’s clear that the businesses that succeed in winning the hearts and minds of their customers – and securing their share of wallet – will be the ones that recognize that the employee is stakeholder number one.
So long as you do right by your employees, they’ll do right by your customers and serve as valuable advocates for your brand.
Coming up next in this blog series on the last mile: an article on designing your organization to prioritize EX. Stay tuned!
Joanne Cheevers, Director of Partner Marketing, Introhive
Geoff Day, Director, Loyalty Marketing, Sobeys
Lori Steiner, Marketing Director, Membership, Automotive & GCR, CAA Club Group