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Why enhancing customer experience starts with your employees
August 20, 2021
Patti Alderman, AVP digital experience, reflects on how to provide exemplary employee experiences as we reopen our offices and embrace new ways of working.
Reflecting on the past 18 months, the average work week of many employees is vastly different to before the pandemic hit. Now, we are living in a time where many employees are working flexibly, splitting their time between working from home and from the office.
As a result, expectations have shifted.
Millions of employees now expect a seamless experience in how they work, even when working from home - and when they choose to go back into the office. We recently commissioned a Forrester study: ‘Activate A Holistic Customer Experience Ecosystem To Become A Market Leader’ which found that the efficiencies created through enhanced employee experience (EX), allows staff to focus their energies on better serving customers, with 64% realising or expecting better revenue.
EX is a reflection of your business
Employee experience is frequently front of mind for consumers - if they know that you’re a business that treats its staff well and really cares about its workforce, there’s great value in building and maintaining this reputation. After a period of such uncertainty throughout the pandemic, being known as a company that really cares and supports its staff can never be a bad thing.
Furthermore, implementing a positive work culture, where employees feel equipped and empowered to do their jobs effectively ensures staff retention, the effect of which trickles down to the customer.
Importantly, businesses need to provide the right tools and technology for workers to get their jobs done, in fact, doing so is a physical demonstration of the value you place in their work. But, as we reopen our offices and embrace the new ways of working in hybrid models, we are falling short on the delivering that experience in behaviours and technology.
Team communication is also a vital element. Language choice and tone of voice directly impacts staff engagement, and it’s important to be consistent, as teams that aren’t informed and engaged, simply won’t be able to offer the same level of service as those that are.
The bottom line is, if you want to be customer-centric, you must first be employee-centric.
Investment leads to opportunity
Our Forrester study found that just 29% of businesses completely agree that their company’s vision for improving CX includes improving employee enablement, illustrating how there’s still a large group of businesses who aren’t aligning EX with the end customer journey.
This is despite a staggering 58% of CX managers and executives reporting that their customer experience success is hindered by not investing enough in employee enablement improvement efforts.
Making investments leads to short and long term benefits. If an employee is struggling to do their job effectively due to issues with equipment or support, stepping in to remedy this from the top down immediately results in employees feeling valued, boosting morale and productivity, leading to better service for your customers. As a result, it creates a positive return on investment for the business.
Change is hard
It can be difficult knowing where to start. Implementing change may seem daunting when you’re first trying to understand the scale of the challenge ahead, so the first step is to locate the shortfalls.
Asking questions like ‘is there proper collaboration between senior and junior staff?’ and ‘Are employees able to communicate effectively between teams?’ helps to prevent siloed structures and exposes areas which need investment.
EX and CX go hand in hand and we’re committed to getting the word out. That’s why next month, we’re hosting Employee 360: Why EX is good for business, a roundtable for industry leaders who are creating the experience agenda for their business.
It’s important to recognise the businesses which have already made great strides in this area, and the best of the best will feature in our upcoming EX50 report, celebrating 50 leaders in employee experience.
Stay focused on success
From the offset, the business needs to have a clear vision, aligned with your brand purpose and employer value proposition so that from day one, from top to bottom, everyone is buying into the same strategy and goal.
Implementing the right measures and policies is key to building culture and to enable your workforce to feel like they are able to bring their best self to work every day.
It may sound strange saying that customer experience doesn’t in fact start with the customer, but show your employees how valued they are, and the standard of your customer experience will reap the benefits.