In CEM standpoint, employees behavior play determinative role in shaping brand experience. Employees – for example – at sales points answer customers’ problems, share emotions, and improve the customer’s experience (Caru & Cova, 2003). Schmitt and many other scholars believe that the concept of experience not only applies to external customer but also to internal customer (e.g. Schmitt, 2003, p. 206). As long as brand has meaning for employees and they live brand in their day-to-day personal and professional life, they can convey positive experience to customers (Schmitt, 2003, p. 227). Employees’ competency is dominant initiator of service experience excellence as well (Berry, Wall, & Carbone, 2006). For instance, 82% of high-preference-brands considered employee behavior as the first and the main success factor (Berry & Lampo, 2004).
In black and white, firms have to “engage not only the body of employee but also their soul and mind” (Schmitt, 2003, p. 226). In line with this fact, we can define employee experience as what employee received during their interaction with careers’ elements that affect their cognition (rational acquisition) and affection (internal and personal acquisition) and leads to their particular behaviors. In this regard, we are also looking to define Employee Experience Management (EEM) as an approach to deliver excellent experience to employee, which leads to the positive customer experience by emphasizing on their experiential needs (Abhari et al., 2008). If we reflect these practices to the EEM then we can elaborate that it goes beyond standard human-resource management (HRM) by rewarding more employee-experience in form of both professional and personal development (Schmitt, 2003, p. 207). Indeed, the notion of EEM come from the question that how firms make sure that employee create the desirable customer experience, whenever they talk, interact with, think about, provide the information and service to customers (Schmitt, 2003, p. 219).
First, if employees are internal customer we ought to treat them same as customer and figure out their needs especially their experiential desires (Schmitt, 2003, p. 227). In reality, firms cannot offer outstanding experience to their employee unless they become familiar with the all experiential needs and wants. In addition, especially in service, treating internal customers, in a humanistic manner, encourage a sympathetic experience and ensure the service is executed in an effective way (Schembri S., 2006).
In this perspective, employee experience is crucial in driveling right brand experience, enhancing the customer experience and continuous innovation initiative (Schmitt, 2003, p. 41).
Clearly, highly motivated and engaged employees can create memorable customer experiences (Millard, 2006). Regarding, empowered employees are critical for CEM success; great customer experiences are enabled through inspirational leadership, an empowering culture and empathetic people who are happy and fulfilled (Shaw & Ivens, 2002). In fact, customer experience does not improve until it becomes a top priority in firm’s work processes systems, implement by employees, and support by senior managers (Meyer & Schwager, 2007). For instance, a study by the Service Management Group in 1999 found that high satisfaction of employees resulted in a 10.6% growth in profits. In contrast, according to Gallup survey, only 25% of employee actively engaged in their job.
To overcome these kinds of problems, EEM would start by recruiting right employees, training them, providing incentive and reward to convey right humanic clues to trigger customer emotional needs, it continues with measuring employee behavior and complete by endowing with involvement (Berry et al., 2006; Schmitt, 2003, p. 220). To enrich employee experience, we can also consider providing effective interface and interaction for them. Employee must be involved in any R&D and innovation program as well. Furthermore, we have to put emphasis again; customer experience is improved and sustained only by well-trained employee (Thompson, 2006).
Finally, to draw distinction between HRM and EEM, it would make sense to highlight that HRM typically align employee behavior with company mission, vision, and value that are stereotype and merely focus on broad-base organizational objective. In contrast, given CEM concept, EEM focus on customer-centric approach to edify and encourage employee to deliver right experiences (Schmitt, 2003, p. 219). EEM can enrich employees’ life by empowerment, challenging work, teamwork, communication, fun, and pleasant workplace (Schmitt, 2003, p. 226). Hence, employees live more experiential and thus they are more satisfied with productive life and great motivation. All of those result in delivering great experience to customer.
Over the past few years as we’ve researched what makes great experiences, or improves the effectiveness of a customer-centric enterprise, employee relationships come back again and again as a key issue.
Too often, the health of employee relationships is considered just an HR issue. It’s not integrated with the core strategy of the business.
How can one hope to have loyal customers without loyal employees?
Bob Thompson, CustomerThink Corp.
Blog: Unconventional Wisdom
Kevah, The theme of your article is right on . . . almost. What seldom is taken into consideration is the “FFAACCC (Family, Friends, Associates, Acquaintances, Customers/Clients, one’s Conscience) Factor” and that each FFAACCC has FFAACCCs who have . . . .. . With both External and Internal (both up the latter as well down the ladder) Customers, the FFAACCC is a hidden but can affect how a company, its products/services are seen by both categories of customers.
In that sense, everyone is a customer and everyone is selling something – ideas, information, skills, policies, procedures, suggestions, products, services, knowledge etc. – and putting forth any and all of these determine how the selling or working environment is perceived by the user. A user is, btw, anyone being asked to buy/buy into something but, until they do it, there is “no sale i.e. something offered ends there.
People cannot be motivated to do anything if the environments is not conducive to doing what is asked/wanted/needed. Even the most motivated people if they are put in situations that they believe gets in their way, motivation goes out the window. The negatives that happen in work spaces/areas show up in stores, trade shows, catalogues, web sites and visa versa. Part of the problem is that those who design spaces, be the spaces physical, virtual, visual, printed, seldom have to or has worked in them. Look nice, fancy, mean nothing if someone left handed is put at desk designed for right-handers or if the print is so small it cannot be read, that moving objects are distracting . . . oh, I could go on for hours on this because it hits us in the face 24/7/365.
So, it is not, as you stated, an HR problem. I wish it were that simple but it ain’t.
Still, HR is a piece of the problem. For example, take job descriptions. How motivating if the job description does not actually describe the job or is not updated because change happens? Or, for that matter, how many have read their job description periodically to see if there are things required or the job has taken on tasks not described? No many, I’m afraid.
You also wrote ” EEM would start by recruiting right employees.” Like ROI, it only can be determined after the fact not before. Also, right by whose criteria – other employees, associates, management, customer/clients? I ran into this dilemma of jobs changing when I was in retailing. I had to rewrite my staffs’ job descriptions so, I had to ask myself this – who determines what right is? I ended up making a check list instead of a job description, the check list in four parts – what I expected, what the office, shipping, other employees expected, what the customers expected. 80% of topics on each list were the same, only some terms had to be changed.
An interesting side effect of this was that when we interviewed prospective employees and showed them the check list, they told others what we expected and why our store would be not just a good place to work but also a great place for people to shop.
Ask anyone in business today and quiz them about how many times they thought they hired the “right person” and found right was wrong. At the same time ask them how many times they hired the “wrong,” as initially perceived, person and the person turned out to be right for the job.
In the thought-right-but-was-wrong-category. Twice we hired people who came to us highly recommended by their former management in other stores and by vendors who were familiar with their sales records. On paper, they were as “right” for the job as one could wish for. Both lasted less than 6 months because learning a new culture was not in their genes. One went to work for a stock brokerage agent and was promoted several times. The other failed at other stores and went back to from whence she came. it was a learning lesson.
In the thought-to-be-wrong-but-was-right category, we hired a woman who had never worked as a salesperson. She was making sales of types of wares that our more experienced salespeople seldom sold. I asked her what was she doing that enabled her to make these sales. Her answer was that each time she meets a customer, she thinks of herself as that customer and what she wanted to know or buy but that customer was not able to express it.
Kevah, there are many parallels to what I’ve written in other aspects of life than business – suggesting a major to take, marriages, sports to name a few.
To pre-judge right or wrong is wrong not right. Helping both the “rights”and “wrongs” adapt to the environment they will be working in is what business management is all about. When this is done, many of the other management tasks will disappear.
I wish you the best as you finish your academic life.
Alan J. Zell, Ambassador Of Selling, Attitudes for Selling
Winner of the Murray Award for Marketing Excellence
Member, PNW Sales & Marketing Group
Member, Institute of Management Consultants
Member, International Speakers Network
You are invited to suggest to your associates, acquaintances, family, friends, customers/clients to learn why everyone has something to sell by visiting http://www.sellingselling.com
Great Post Kaveh.
It’s interesting to see how much ’employee experience’ has continued to evolve over the last seven years and become front of mind of a lot of organizations.
There are a lot of companies that are structurally changing their ‘HR teams’ to ‘Employee Experience teams’. Airbnb, Nitro and Adobe are three examples. We outline some of these here –
Kaveh – do you think that EX has evolved from driving customer success to driving broader company success?