Who is responsible for creating a great customer experience (CX)?
While your organization might have a dedicated CX team, the true answer to this question is that every employee has at least some connection to delivering value to the customer relationship, regardless of their job title, seniority level, or the department they work within.
Because of this, it is important that employees have the right tools, supportive processes, and work methods in place, as well as a proper understanding of their role in delivering customer value. This understanding helps employees become more motivated to help customers, and anticipate new potential challenges for customers.
Every Employee Affects Customer Experience
Internal training can help connect each employee’s role within the company to the overall quality of their service. However, leadership and management bear the responsibility to ensure every employee understands how their job has an impact on the customer experience - whether they are a front-line employee or don’t directly interact with customers. A major consideration here is how employees collaborate to achieve a high standard of service.
Empowering employees’ ability to collaborate and make decisions in real-time has become challenging compared to previous norms. This is because businesses must continually adapt to remote and hybrid work environments. Employees that were previously used to in-person, real-time interactions have sometimes had a hard time adjusting to remote or hybrid collaboration. When customers are waiting to have their problems or challenges solved, this additional hurdle to internal teams connecting means the solutions proposed and, by extension, the CX, can suffer.
In this article, I’m going to explore some of the reasons why a positive employee experience translates to a great customer experience, as well as some of the things you can do to improve this connection.
Customers are Happier When Employees are Happier
Measuring customer satisfaction (using the CSAT score) or a customer’s willingness to recommend a product or service (using the Net Promoter Score) are just some of the methods that companies use to evaluate their success. There is a very good reason to measure this, as evidenced by the statistic that 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer an excellent customer experience:
Satisfied customers buy more, buy more often, and refer others. This means that happy customers have a direct relationship to the financial success of your business.
Anyone who has managed customer-facing employees will tell you that happier and more engaged employees consistently deliver better customer service. This is true whether they are front-line employees who have face-to-face contact with customers in a brick-and-mortar location, behind the scenes, or anywhere in between.
For those wondering what customer experience has to do with employees working behind the scenes, consider this example: Think of a software engineer responsible for writing code for a company’s customer-facing applications. If that engineer doesn’t understand the customer they are writing code to support, they don’t stand to be nearly as successful in their goal. This is true even if they never have a single conversation with a customer in real-time.
Setting the Scene for a Collaborative Workforce
Technology and the platforms that an employer provides play a key role in employee satisfaction and engagement with one another.
Successful collaboration includes having the ability to share knowledge among employees to solve customer challenges quickly and effectively. One aspect of creating collaboration is the means to be collaborative. This means providing your workforce with the right software and hardware they need to communicate well. It can include everything from video conferencing software, to document collaboration, project and task management, employee engagement tools, and more.
The ability to easily engage with colleagues keeps employees able to focus on solving problems, while seamlessly serving the brand’s customers.
Innovative Companies Have Higher Employee Engagement
Who do you want in charge of designing a customer onboarding process — an unengaged employee that is going to simply “check boxes” to make sure tasks are completed, or a fully engaged team member that is excited to find new ways to delight customers and make them long-term advocates for the brand?
Employees who are more engaged are more often willing to share ideas that can help the company improve its products, services, and processes. This is because they don’t see sharing more, or contributing more, as a burden. Instead, these efforts are considered an opportunity to support the team and their common goals.
Additionally, since it is difficult to create innovative new concepts to improve customer service in a silo, these ideas and concepts require communication and collaboration. We’ve discussed the tools required for collaboration, but interpersonal skills among staff members are also key to making it work. This is where managers, project leads, and leaders need to work to build the skills in their team and help them feel more comfortable sharing, brainstorming, and working together to solve challenges.
In addition, working together successfully increases employee happiness. Employees that have an overall good experience are more likely to contribute better ideas and want to assist in the growth of the company, including contributing to greater profitability. This positive experience can stem from receiving proper training, understanding their potential for advancement in the organization, and having good professional relationships with colleagues. Creating a clear career path for them within the company is key in making their unique contribution and personal success a key part of how they approach tasks.
Retained Employees are Able to Share Institutional Knowledge with New Ones
Has your customer experience with a brand ever fluctuated, depending on the individual you happen to be dealing with at the time, rather than having a consistently good one? This can often be a sign that knowledge is not shared within an organization, which can be the result of high turnover, ineffective training, poor collaboration, or many other causes.
As an example, a new employee at a company, which doesn’t have a consistent or effective onboarding process or collaboration tools, will be unable to deliver the same customer service quality as a knowledgeable, well-trained employee. Providing a strong onboarding program, effective training, frequent feedback and reviews, continual support, and effective communication tools to new hires from the outset allows them to hit the ground running. This means they gain confidence and make a contribution to the team early on. Effective onboarding programs alone improve the retention of new hires by as much as 82%. And, as we’ve seen, loyalty to the company creates a desire to share knowledge with newer team members, and find even better ways to document and share valuable insights.
As you can see, when employee experience is optimal, customers benefit as well. This employee-customer experience connection is a win-win for employers who make the necessary investments in their people, processes, and platforms.