For All Companies, What Is The Essential Importance And Value Of Customer/Employee Linkage And Integration?


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In his classic 2006 book, The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge identified a future where progressive learning organizations would produce skilled, value producing knowledge workers. Nowhere is this more true than in the goal of an enterprise to produce value for both employees and customers. Many studies have shown the performance and business outcome benefits of customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) linkage and integration into the fabric of the organization, resulting in a culture of commitment – to the organization itself as an entity, to its value proposition, and to its customers.

There is growing general agreement that both developing committed, contributory employee advocates and a corps of customer advocates should receive high (or certainly higher) priority and emphasis by leaders if an enterprise is going to be successful and grow. What building commitment and advocacy does mandate, however, is that having employees focus on the customer and value delivery as core purposes will definitely drive more positive experiences, more attractive business outcomes (proven by scores of targeted studies), and stronger loyalty behavior (for both stakeholder groups).

Clearly, employees’ behavior in direct and indirect employee–customer interactions – on an enterprise-wide basis, not merely front-line – can influence downstream customer behavior. Companies have either begun, or should begin (if they haven’t already), asking the following key questions:

1. How and Why Are Enterprise EX and CX Linkage So Essential Today?

This covers addressing stages of EX maturity, employee life cycle, emotional connection/rejection to the organization by stakeholders, employee behavior (especially commitment and advocacy) and connection to business outcomes.

2. What Is The Current State of Enterprise EX and CX Linkage And Integration?

Topics here include stakeholder-centricity and employee persona, causes of employee turnover, impact on customers of employee trust and related emotional drivers, and strength/resilience of organizations in the midst of new, rapidly changing, employee landscape dynamics.

3. What Are Priorities for Enterprise EX-CX Linkage and Integration Improvement?

How do companies attain a commitment-based, stakeholder-centric culture, fully recognize employees as actively contributing assets, not just costs of doing business, and define the justification for devoting more attention and resources to EX?

4. How Are Enterprise Leadership and Operational Processes Connected To EX-CX Linkage?

Companies need to evaluate the degree of servant, people-first, leadership – at all levels of the enterprise – for creating employee and customer value. Further, they need to measure what actually matters for employees, and better align employees with strategic CX performane goals.

5. Where Are EX-CX Linkage and Integration Dynamics Trending, and Why?

What is the ‘new normal’ EX-CX landscape, and what are the new stakeholder experience requirements for delivering employee and customer value? How well are organizations moving toward both employee and customer commitment?

Employees, whether they are customer-facing or not, need to ‘live’ the brand and define company value promise as company representatives. To quote the late Zappos’s CEO, Tony Hsieh: “Brand is a lagging indicator of company culture.” Concepts and programs such as employee engagement and brand engagement (through employees), though considerably more progressive than satisfaction, can be less than sufficient to help companies optimize the customer experience or sustain top-level customer value delivery. Employees may believe they are doing valuable things for their company and/or they may have positive feelings about their jobs, their employers and the brands they represent; but, where is the specificity within their jobs and roles within the enterprise around building the best customer experience and relationships?

This — optimized customer value generation and delivery through optimized employee experience — is the focus of customer-employee linkage and integration.

Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC
Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC, specializes in customer and employee experience research/strategy consulting, and brand, customer, and employee commitment and advocacy behavior research, consulting, and training. He has authored seven stakeholder-centric strategy books and 400+ articles, white papers and blogs. In 2018, he was named to CustomerThink's Hall of Fame.


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