Employee Experience: The Road to Customer Experience (CX)

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We all have been talking about customer experience (CX) for a long time now. We have given it so much importance that sometimes while having an outward look, we tend to miss out on what is happening in your own home i.e your organization. But, it’s better than never. It seems that finally, the C-suite have started to talk about, if not accept completely about their employees and the experience they have with your company.

Probably this is the best time to talk about employee experience (EX). We already have a buy-in for Customer Experience and now just needs to establish a correlation between the CX and EX. This can be successful only when the top management is sold on the idea. So, let’s get started and sell the idea of transforming customer experience by achieving employee experience milestones.

The First Customers
Customers are God. Customers are the ones who pay your wages. A customer can fire anyone from CEO to the bottom-most level. We have all heard or read these strong customer-centric quotes. But, have we ever stopped to think, who are our first customers? Well, the answer is staring you right in the face. Your first customers are your Employees. They are the face of your brand. They are your living and breathing brand ambassadors who have the potential to make or break your company. You can spend thousands on advertisements but if even a handful of your employees talk about their negative experiences of working with your company, your whole reputation goes for a toss (especially in the era of digitization and social media). So, the bottom line is, acknowledge and value your internal customers first, before thinking about the external ones because, like the saying goes, if you cannot take care of your own, how will you take care of an outsider.

Culture
The importance of culture cannot be stressed enough. The culture of an organization defines what the company values and strives for. To be an employee-centric organization, you need to know what your employees value and whether those values are in alignment with what the brand is saying. Whatever the messaging is, should come from the top level. Once the leaders are talking about it, the message will trickle down to the lower levels as well. Moreover, when the employees feel that they are being.

Metrics and Data
Always remember, data is contextual and circumstantial. Study your environment (organization) carefully before jumping to conclusions. One popular way of doing that is by giving out employee engagement surveys. But are they really useful? Do they actually have an impact or have just become an item on our checklist that we just have to do? In most organizations, these surveys have become more of a formality. That needs to be changed. Do some shadowing, be on the ground, interview the staff and supervisors to see the true picture. Based on your thorough analysis and observations, device the metrics that work best for your organization. A good metric is the one which is robust enough to give a holistic picture. Having metrics will help the organization to establish the independent and dependent variables that need to be monitored on a regular basis. Moreover, this will also help in standardizing what is being measured and how. For eg, an organization identifies the CSAT as their go-to metric. Once this is communicated throughout the organization, all employees with know what is important. Rather than having different metrics for every department or team. Which will lead to confusion and chaos.

Asking the Employees
The best way to change things is to ask the ones who are going to be most affected. Ask your employees what works for them and what doesn’t. Here is where your CXOs and CPOs come into the picture. One way of getting this insight is to make a well-represented team. What do I mean by a well-represented team? Let’s say you want to form a committee or a task force to tackle this issue. Make sure there is proportional representation. For eg, if you are into the hospitality sector and a major share of your workforce comprises of the front-end employees as compared to maybe the finance guys, then that difference should also be seen in the formation of your task force.

Aligning the Leadership
Post identification of the possible areas to work on, the next practical step is to get the leadership on board. This means the leadership within the particular departments as well. If you really want the whole initiative to be a success, the supervisors and managers need to be in the loop from the get-go. Also, care must be taken on the messaging, i.e the language you use to convey the idea. Preferably, barring any major issue, keep it consistent throughout the organization.

Feedback
Improving the employee experience is not a one-time activity that you can dust your hands off of. This is a long and ongoing process. Especially in the initial time it will be more like trial and error and might even require few pilots to fully understand the breadth and depth of the matter. Conducting regular surveys, having discussion forums, skip level meetings can be some of the ways of encouraging the employees to give their honest feedback.

Conclusion
To win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace. The above-mentioned points are just some of the ways or steps an organization or more specifically the Chief People Officer/ Chief Experience Officer can take to identify and work towards building all-inclusive and engaging programs to improve the employee experience. Apart from this, some other ways can be to have technology that empowers and enables the employee. Having a helpdesk management system or a knowledge management system that the employees can make use of when faced with some tricky issued will not just make them more confident but will also improve customer experience. After all, it’s all about transforming customer experience through employee experience.

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