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Why Customer Experience Success Requires A Great Employee Experience

There is an undeniable link between the customer experience (CX) and the employee experience (EX). But don’t just take my word for it:

What causes this powerful synergy between the customer and employee experiences, you ask?

Let’s examine how CX influences EX and vice versa, and share proven ways to align your efforts (and drive lasting success!) in both areas.

Why Employee Experience is Vital to Customer Experience

Human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) teams are incredibly influential in the customer experience. But they don’t always realize it.

Every person at your company plays a role in shaping the customer experience, regardless of whether “customer experience” is in their job description. Even seemingly back-end roles like product development and IT are integral in supporting customer-facing employees and building the systems your customers use.

HR and L&D teams enable employees with the processes, technology, and education they need to thrive. They become champions of CX, too, by connecting day-to-day work to direct customer outcomes and integrating CX into the entire employee journey. (We’ll share strategies for doing that next!)

There is no doubt employees show up best for customers when they are prepared and well taken care of.

Employees deserve training. They deserve resources. And they deserve to feel valued.

HR shines in these areas. And you can partner with HR to reinforce CX at every step of the employee journey.

Burnout Will Hinder Your Customer Experience

Your company needs to keep the right employees in the right places to deliver for the customer. The employee experience plays a major role in this.

Empathy is a finite resource. Your colleagues may experience compassion fatigue, which is the idea that people are often spread too thin and lack the emotional bandwidth to show up at 100% for everyone. Compassion fatigue happens when people are overwhelmed, underappreciated, or burnt out, so it’s great when your HR partners help pay special attention to keeping employees healthy and engaged.

Empowered and engaged employees are more likely to share honest feedback and identify the hurdles making their jobs harder. (And busting up those silos and removing those hurdles is better for employees AND customers!)

Employee turnover often hurts CX metrics including Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) — as well as the organization’s bottom line. It makes sense, considering every new employee needs training to get up to speed (not to mention the potential workload imbalance caused by an empty position).

Issues can quickly spread across an organization if left unchecked — an overwhelmed IT team may fall behind on resolving customer issues, which increases the number of customer help requests, which inundates the customer support team… you get the idea.

How Customer Experience Leaders Can Shape The Employee Experience

CX is a team sport. Each department is a partner to your CX team so you can address the many opportunities to improve the customer experience. You’ll extend your CX reach by rallying everyone behind your Customer Experience Mission , turning every employee into a customer experience change agent. (Go, Team!)

This clear purpose to support customers helps people feel more connected to their jobs and instills a deeper sense of pride in what they do. It’s a healthy cycle that inspires innovation.

My team reached out to several CX change agents to understand their priorities, challenges, and opportunities. One thing kept coming up: When organizations invest in the customer experience, their employees feel more pride around working there. It’s a powerful idea that shouldn’t be understated.

5 Ways to Align CX with EX

Now comes the fun part: blending customer experience with your employee experience.

Based on my work supporting countless organizations with their CX programs, I’ve seen a few strategies work well for integrating CX and EX:

  • Conduct employee journey mapping. Just as CX teams create customer journey maps to refine the customer experience, employee journey mapping helps you improve the employee experience. The process enables you to identify resources and tools to support employees and align their daily actions with the customer experience. You can use our free employee journey mapping template for a step-by-step walkthrough.
  • Optimize the candidate experience. Communicate your CX Mission and values early and often. Job postings should ideally include language about your CX Mission and how each role supports it. Interviews are an opportunity to reinforce your mission and find candidates who will consider the customer experience in everything they do.
  • Incorporate CX in onboarding. When someone joins your organization, provide them with CX materials in their onboarding packets. Show great examples of how employees have championed CX, and encourage them to bring new ideas to the table. It can be effective to pair new hires with CX innovators who can serve as mentors.
  • Prioritize employee feedback. Gather feedback about the customer experience from employees directly. How can your organization improve its customer experience from their perspective? Importantly, show how this feedback is then reflected in your processes. Employees have great ideas! Too often, they’re simply not asked. These are some of my favorite questions to ask:
    • “Based on your role, how we can make our customer’s lives easier?”
    • “If you had a magic wand, what would you do to improve the experience for our customers?”
  • Create a cross-functional CX committee. Build a CX committee with people of all levels from across your organization. This will take some time and investment, so it’s OK to save this strategy for later. The committee should meet consistently, whether that’s monthly or quarterly. Think of each committee member as a CX ambassador who can rally their team behind your goals. During each meeting:
    • Revisit your Customer Experience Mission
    • Celebrate how teams have supported your mission
    • Identify potential CX blockers
    • Invite new ideas to improve your CX

An EX Investment is a CX Investment

Every role has the power to make your customer’s lives easier. It’s just a matter of making that mission clear, starting from Day 1.

Invest in your employee experience and empower everyone to innovate on the customer experience. Build bridges with HR teams and L&D teams to connect the employee experience with the customer experience, and you’re sure to accomplish great things for employees, customers, and your organization overall.

About Jeannie Walters, CCXP, CSP

Jeannie Walters CCXP CSP small square photoJeannie is an award-winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker, and sought-after business coach who is trailblazing the movement from “Reactive Customer Service” to “Proactive Customer and Employee Experience.” More than 500,000 people have learned from her CX courses on LinkedIn Learning, and her insights have been featured in Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and NPR

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