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Data shows that organizations that deliver a considerably above average customer experience, known as CX leaders, outperform CX laggards in the engagement of their employees by more than 32 percentage points (Temkin, 2019). And, in organizations where managers are evaluated based on the engagement level of their employees, CX leaders rank higher than CX laggards by 38 percentage points (Temkin, 2019). But, does this mean that employee experience (EX) is a fundamental enabler of CX or can organizations that have mature CX strategies extend that thinking to influence EX positively?
Why does customer experience matter to organizations more than ever? Simply put, within the ethos of the subscription economy, recurring revenue is sustained through attitudinal loyalty or psychologically positive brand affinity. When organizations fail to create the appropriate customer experience, customers either stay because of sunk costs or they churn, and the organization incurs the cost to acquire a new customer to replace the lost revenue. The same holds when employees leave companies that don't provide the appropriate employee experience - when employers fail to cultivate attitudinal loyalty within their organizations, employees either continue to go through the motions of coming to work with no real commitment to the organization or they leave. And the employer suffers the cost of recruiting and cultivating new talent - and the cycle continues. Customer Experience and Employee Experience are really about loyalty.
There are several other parallels when comparing CX and EX. Both strategies must be grounded in insights. For example, "voice of the customer" programs capture expectations, aversions, and preferences of customers and inform how an organization shapes its products and services. This approach is transferrable to improving and directing EX initiatives.
An additional level of CX insight that is essential in delivering the appropriate customer experience is the exercise of customer journey mapping. Customer journey maps help businesses understand how each touchpoint with customers influences and impacts CX. Customer journey mapping continues to be relevant as organizations orient toward a more customer-centric way of doing business.
Though by no means the sole solution to better customer experiences, journey maps are an essential tool and deliver impressive top and bottom-line value: 350% more revenue from customer referrals and 200% greater employee engagement (Hinshaw, 2017). And the same principle applies to an employee's journey with an organization, understanding how each touchpoint influences the employee's experience can inform how organizations leverage technology, for example, to improve employee interaction across the enterprise.
Speaking of technology, I'll touch on one final point. The consumerization of HR is a trend that is linked directly to CX thinking. Undeniably, consumer technology (B2C) has influenced business to business technology (B2B) for the better. Going, going, gone are the back-office systems that are cumbersome, unfriendly and require millions of dollars to deploy, and weeks of training to master. In are the systems that leverage artificial intelligence, design thinking and intuitive interactions that mimic B2C technology.
For decades in the B2B software industry, customers have been telling vendors that their products are too expensive to deploy and deliver essential yet poor experiences. The subscription economy is freeing businesses from these technology tangles and shifting the power from vendors to customers. And in this shift, companies have become more vocal in their demands for a consumer-grade or Amazon-like experience.
Now we see employees at work demanding their employers deliver consumer-grade experiences across the enterprise such as in the realm of HR. Employees want the organization to provide a frictionless experience when interacting with areas such as benefits, payroll, employee relations, and talent management. And the expectation starts in the recruitment cycle with how candidates expect to interact with applicant tracking systems and onboarding processes. Every employee interaction with your organization's brand creates an evangelist or a detractor, much like actual customers.
So, whether you subscribe to the school of thought that you need your employee experience programs firing on all cylinders to win at customer experience or you believe that CX thinking drives EX frameworks, understanding how every interaction influences the experiences of each will help your organization grow the top and bottom line.
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"The Inextricable Link Between CX & EX," Temkin, 2019
"The Eye-Popping ROI Of Customer Journey Mapping," Hinshaw, 2017
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