It goes without saying that most organizations are increasingly focusing on improving employee experience. More often than not, the rationale behind this move is to boost employee performance, reduce absenteeism, among others. An often overlooked connection is the one between employee experience and customer experience. On the face of it, organizations dismiss this thought and suggest that employee experience and customer experience are mutually exclusive. However, research shows a direct connection where companies with excellent customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than others. Let us quickly explore the connection that employee experience and customer experience share and how improving employee experience is a road to boosting customer satisfaction.
A Connection you Cannot Ignore
There is an undeniable connection between employee experience and customer experience that organizations cannot afford to overlook. While there are multiple aspects to this relationship, let’s look at the top three:
- People connect with people- While automation and digital transformation is on the rise, customers always desire human connection. This connection they get from your employees. Your employees are touch points for your organizations and the only human interface they interact with.
- Employees define your brand- An organization not only goes by the quality of its offerings, but also by the attributes of its people. Therefore, it is your employees that have a role to play in defining your brand to your existing and potential customers. By capitalizing on individual employees, organizations can pull together customer interest and boost experience.
- Employees are the ambassadors- An organization can have six figure marketing budgets, but employee reviews like customer reviews have the potential to make or break a brand. Employees define the public image for an organization. Customers generally prefer to engage with organizations that have a non-controversial public image.
On a macro level, employees are the face of any organization in the market. Customers sense the authenticity of an organization in the way its employees communicate and project it to the outer world. Thus, good customer experience directly links to a robust employee experience.
Improving Employee Experience: The Rationale
Let’s now move onto understanding the direct benefits of improving employee experience on customer satisfaction.
- Innovation and creativity- To begin with, when your employees are engaged robustly, they will make sincere efforts to innovate and create new ways of working which add value to the organization. One of the outcomes could be greater innovation in customer acquisition and satisfaction. When an employee feels engaged at work, he or she will go the extra mile to onboard more customers and add a few new tips and tricks to your customer acquisition playbook. Engagement can also act as a motivator to help the employee come up with newer strategies and techniques to keep the customer satisfied. At the same time, engagement in the form of personal and professional learning and development leads to better customer service.
- Building trust and credibility- One of the top ways to ensure repeat customer interaction is by building trust and credibility. While the quality of your offerings will have an impact on this, your employee interaction with the customer has an equal footing. Trust and credibility builds and breeds on relationships which are based on human connections. Only when your employees are engaged enough to enthusiastically perform their responsibilities will they make an effort to build that relationship of trust and credibility with the customers.
For instance, Starbucks has reinvented its employee engagement strategy in a way that links incentives and rewards to customer experience. This gives all employees a reason and motivation to welcome customers with a hearty smile and make their experience pleasant. This invariably leads to greater trust and credibility towards the brand as the customer sees a relationship building.
- Customer loyalty with human connect- Finally, customer loyalty and the fact that they will not go to a competitor brand entirely rests on the potential of your employees to convince them. It goes without saying that only when employees themselves feel connected and valued with the organization, will they attempt to create a similar experience for the customer. If your employees are themselves on the lookout for the next opportunity, which most disengaged employees are, there is no way they can breed customer loyalty. Put simply, when employees are themselves entrenched in the organization, their ways of servicing the customers ensures success. Thus, engaged and loyal employees would go the extra mile to meet and exceed customer expectations leading to higher loyalty.
For instance, Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, is known for its exemplary customer service and the customer first culture. It is the effort of every employee that their customer first culture has been able to thrive. The reason behind such sustained employee efforts is their deep engagement and appreciation by the organization where they feel valued and connected.
Improving Employee Experience: An Organizational Imperative
To put it in a nutshell, it is vital for organizations to put in similar efforts in improving employee experience as they do for customer experience. With more and more workforce going remote, customers feel the need for a human connection when they interact with a brand. Only when an organization’s employee experience is through the roof can it expect its employees to leverage the customer need and turn it into customer success. Rather than being two ends of a spectrum, employee experience and customer experience are interdependent. As the former gains momentum, so does the latter. Forward looking organizations that have been able to identify this trend are capitalizing on it to tread the path of success with happy employees and happy customers.