Driven by an ever-growing desire for personalized, convenient, seamlessly integrated experiences, customer expectations continue to evolve at breakneck speed. To meet these expectations, organizations must deeply align employee experience with customer experience (EX and CX). But this relationship can be challenging to manage, especially when today’s workforce is moving through its own extraordinary post-pandemic changes.
This is why HR should play a critical role in helping organizations meet customer demands. HR helps hire and develop the right people, and keeps workforce performance on track with feedback and support. What’s more, HR can help build and sustain a customer-focused culture. So although it may be overlooked, HR is able to influence CX by elevating EX.
EX and CX: A Powerful Pair
Successful organizations ensure that EX and CX work in tandem to drive customer satisfaction. That’s because positive employee experiences translate into positive customer experiences. In other words, happy, engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile for customers. In fact, 55% of leaders agree that without a great employee experience, it’s impossible to deliver a great customer experience. Here’s why:
Both EX and CX center on crafting positive experiences by understanding an individual’s unique needs and meeting their expectations. Ideally, as engaged employees forge stronger relationships with customers, they also develop a deeper sense of value, respect, and commitment to their work. Ultimately, this reciprocal process reinforced business loyalty and advocacy among both customers and employees. As a result, organizations that invest in both EX and CX generate 25% higher profits and cultivate a more engaged workforce.
Employers can improve CX by leveraging EX in multiple ways. For example, you can:
- Gather ongoing employee feedback to enhance CX
- Empower employees to swiftly resolve customer issues
- Recognize and reward employees for customer-focused ideas and action
- Align work objectives, processes, and tasks with CX-minded company values
- Encourage employees to maintain work-life balance so they remain energized about their role in CX
Bottom line: With an employee experience that attracts and retains people who are committed to delivering a top-notch customer experience, you can reinforce both EX and CX while creating business value.
Onboarding: Key to Strong EX and CX
For any company that wants to elevate EX and CX, a robust new hire onboarding program is essential. This helps start the employee journey on the right foot and sets the stage for a highly engaged employee network.
A well-structured onboarding program includes a roadmap for the practical aspects of a job and paints a vivid picture of the company’s mission, values, and culture. It also offers opportunities for new employees to connect with peers so they can begin building a sense of camaraderie.
Employee onboarding should also introduce new hires to your organization’s social fabric, including Employee Resource Groups, so they feel welcomed and embraced by your community. Because a sense of belonging is a hallmark of strong EX, invest in other indoctrination activities, such as pairing workers with an onboarding buddy, inviting them to participate in team-building and social events, and providing access to relevant resources and support.
Similarly, the primary objective of customer onboarding is to ensure customers have the resources they need to succeed by providing:
- Crystal-clear guidance on how to get started and successfully use your product or service
- Access to comprehensive customer support resources
- Tailored recommendations
- Training opportunities
- Avenues for sharing valuable feedback and ideas
Fostering Positive, Collaborative Experiences
Creating a harmonious relationship between CX and EX depends on mutual adjustments. After all, the path to positive interactions is a two-way street.
For example, employees can lead the charge by paying attention to customer cues and preferences so they can adapt their communication to customer preferences. In addition, proactively anticipating customer requirements can be a game-changer in providing excellent service.
It’s also important to keep in mind that customers play an important role in this partnership. This includes explicitly communicating their needs and expectations, having patience when issues arise, and conducting themselves respectfully. When employees and customers work together in a positive, productive way, they can develop a mutually beneficial relationship that meets everyone’s needs.
Navigating Employee and Customer Journeys
The employee journey encompasses a staff member’s entire experience, from the first interaction through the exit interview. Similarly, the customer journey includes the sum of a customer’s experiences with a company, from introduction to departure. Recognizing each of the stages within these journeys offers an invaluable vantage point for enhancing EX and CX:
Fueling Employee Engagement
At the core of the employee journey is engagement — a barometer of an individual’s commitment and involvement in their role. Employee engagement is the key to unlocking organizational success. We know engaged employees are more productive, happy, and loyal. This, in turn, leads to multiple positive bottom-line outcomes. In fact, companies with high employee engagement enjoy 21% higher profits and 17% higher productivity, on average, than companies with a disengaged workforce.
But what is the bedrock of engagement? Trust. Fueled by transparent, honest, and equitable leadership, trust nurtures engagement. You can also build trust through multiple communication pathways — including regular employee surveys and dedicated feedback loops. Of course, engagement depends on other factors, too. For instance:
- How well do people understand their roles?
- How clear and achievable are their objectives?
- How effectively do you listen to employees and resolve pain points?
- How do you demonstrate genuine appreciation for their efforts and accomplishments?
- How do you encourage wellbeing by supporting work-life balance and offering meaningful benefits?
Fueling Customer Engagement
Similarly, customer engagement represents the extent of involvement, interaction, success, satisfaction, and loyalty that emerges from a customer’s relationship with a brand. Engagement contributes directly to business performance. For example, more than two-thirds of engaged customers will spend at least twice as much on a brand they favor.
For strong engagement, you’ll want to offer highly accessible, responsive customer support so you can rapidly resolve customer issues. Other communication channels are equally important. Surveys, focus groups, and social media tracking can help you gather broader insights so you can measure satisfaction and continuously improve engagement. By analyzing data from multiple channels, you can better understand customer preferences and empower your team to personalize customer experiences, develop meaningful new products, and enhance customer service.
EX and CX: Connecting the Dots
Every organization must manage EX and CX realities. Both sides of this “experience” coin bring dynamic, complex challenges. But rather than treating EX and CX separately, smart companies recognize that they are interrelated. This is where HR can step in and add value — first by analyzing and interpreting EX and CX metrics more cohesively. And then, by implementing strategies that improve employee engagement in ways that enhance customer relationships.