Today’s customers want more than just products and services. They demand memorable experiences that go beyond simple transactions.
Therefore, to meet increasing customer expectations, businesses are investing in strategies that boost the customer experience (CX).
The CX movement has broadened its scope from measuring individual touchpoints to holistically integrating them via a unified experience strategy.
Now, businesses understand the importance of aligning employee experiences (EXs) with company goals. But why should we consider their experiences? Because they directly impact a company’s performance. If your employees are not happy, it will reflect on your customers and their buying experience.
An employee’s experience influences how they view your company, their day-to-day tasks, and their working environment. Good EXs can also help retain top talent – which is especially important in today's tight labor market.
Here are several reasons why investing in the EX is as important as investing in the CX.
Employees have the power to influence your customers.
Customers are likely to share their experiences – both positive and negative – with others.
If they have a poor experience, they are more likely to share it. In fact, 91% of consumers aged 18 to 34 (Qualtrics) trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This makes it critical for businesses to ensure happy customers are having positive experiences.
In contrast, unhappy customers are more likely to share their negative experiences. This can have a detrimental effect on your CX, your brand, and your bottom line. 80% of consumers report that they have stopped doing business with companies based on negative experiences (Qualtrics).
Good employee experiences can increase the likelihood of retaining top talent.
Companies need to focus on safeguarding existing talent and recruiting new talent.
To do this, organizations must be able to demonstrate their CX advantages over the competition.
Bottom line: frontline agents want to be...more solution-driven...
In fact, 87% of senior leaders believe CX is the key to retention (MIT Technology Review). If your organization’s employee retention rates are low, it could be due to your employees not feeling engaged.
To boost employee engagement levels, you must focus on their experiences. This can help you retain top talent, improve productivity, and reduce turnover.
The good news is that there are tools available in the market that can leverage employee sentiment of customer interactions.
By leveraging the frontline insights on customer interactions, your agents will feel less transactional and more valued in that they are able to make a difference in every customer engagement opportunity.
Bottom line: frontline agents want to be less transactional and more solution-driven where they can be recognized for problems being solved and not the numbers on a “wallboard.”
An unhappy employee is an unhappy customer.
An unhappy employee can negatively impact your customers. This is because they are more likely to transfer their frustrations to your customers.
Employee satisfaction is a key indicator of customer satisfaction. Surprisingly, a lack of engagement is likely to have a bigger impact on employee behavior than motivation.
Employees who are not engaged in their work are less likely to have positive interactions with your customers. This can lead to unhappy customers and decreased revenues. In fact, employee engagement has been identified as one of the top drivers of engagement for customers.
A few years back, I had the privilege of leading a team for a new business unit. We created a solution-driven culture that was not focused on metrics like AHT, or the number of calls answered, but rather on how effectively we were positively impacting our customers.
In order to do this, we needed to understand what tools our frontline agents needed, and how effectively those tools were working for them. If there was friction for the employee, there would be friction for the customer, so we eliminated what was causing employee friction as much as possible.
Through listening to our agents, we were also able to understand what services were needed for our customers. Voice of the Employee conversations are so critical as they bring light to the often-hidden dark corners of what customers are truly needing.
Giving your agents a voice is part of the solution, providing full-circle feedback on what is being done with their feedback takes engagement to the next level.
Why is the EX important?
Businesses are more focused on the CX than ever before. There has been a shift in strategy from a single interaction to a holistic, seamless experience.
Now, that strategy has also been applied to employees: leaders are focused on the EX. The EX movement has expanded its scope from measuring individual touchpoints to broadly integrating them via a unified approach.
Now, businesses understand that a happy employee is a committed employee. If your employees are not happy, it will reflect on your customers and their buying experience.
An employee’s experience influences how they view your company, their day-to-day tasks, and their working environment. Good EXs can also help retain top talent – which is especially important in today’s tight labor market.
When I first started my leadership journey there was a certification program I was required to take.
One of the first questions asked at the beginning of the program was to understand who our customers were. As new leaders, many of us forgot at that time that our most important internal customers were our frontline agents that we were leading.
Organizations that pride themselves on all the bells and whistles that technology today offers, but forget to support their agents as valued humans, will continue to see high attrition numbers in the future. Never forget the value that a well-supported, tenured frontline team can be as a CX differentiator.
Customer behavior has changed.
Customers have come to expect seamless, consistent experiences across the board. This means businesses should be focused on providing a seamless experience for their employees.
Let’s look at how customer behavior has changed to show why investing in the EX is as important as the CX. While the numbers may vary depending on the statistical reports you see, it is evident that a large percentage of consumers are willing to pay more for better service. While customers are willing to pay more, they are also expecting to receive more.
As consumers gain more purchasing power, they are also becoming more demanding. HubSpot (citing Microsoft) reports that “90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.”
Customers today are not focused on the experience your organization is able to provide, but instead are comparing your CX that’s provided against all other experiences across all companies they interact with.
Your company may not have the analytical tools, but you have talented brand ambassadors interacting with your customers every day. Provide them with the agility to meet the customer where they are at, with minimal friction, and you will be on your way to providing top-tier experiences!
Investing in employees is as important as your bottom line.
It is important to note that these changes are not only coming from customers. Today’s leaders are also demanding more from their employees. This means that businesses have to ensure their employees are receiving a good experience.
In fact, a recent survey showed that almost half of HR and business leaders believe that their EXs is more critical to driving business success than their CXs.
When it comes to the bottom line, businesses understand that investing in employees is an important part of the business strategy. In fact, 80% of executives (Deloitte, 2017) believe that EX is critical to the success of their business.
Oftentimes organizations believe that focusing on EX means to focus and support the agent level. Who is supporting your frontline supervisor? Are you developing managers or leaders?
Consider investing in your frontline agents and supervisors by creating an employee journey map for their career progression. Have authentic “stay interviews” with employees to understand why they continue to stay and what pain points they are feeling. Organizations survey external customers every day. Investing in creating an interpersonal experience with employees will go a long way to improving attrition and ultimately your bottom line.
CX has become a strategic priority for marketers, leaders, business owners.
This means that organizations are prioritizing strategies that make the CX better.
Now, businesses are investing in strategies that boost the CX. This is because customers are more willing to pay for better service. Customers are also demanding more than just products and services. They expect a seamless, consistent experience across the board.
These factors mean that businesses must focus on safeguarding existing talent and recruiting new talent. This also means that businesses must invest in employees is as important as their bottom line.
Organizations must focus on three key aspects of the CX, including the physical experience, the digital experience, and the human experience. This means that businesses must invest in strategies that boost the CX.
Create the experience that you expect as a customer.
It is important as organizations continue to evaluate their CX strategy it is done in alignment with their EX strategy.
Regardless of whether your contact center is fully remote, hybrid, or fully on-site, creating seamless experiences and support for your frontline agents is mission-critical.
Understanding what your frontline agents need is good. Understanding what your frontline supervisors need is better. Listening to and delivering for your frontline agents and supervisors is optimal.
Doing so will improve your EX by increasing tenure and having more knowledgeable agents acting as your brand ambassadors to provide those ultimate CXs.