Every individual has their own answer to “which came first, the chicken or the egg” theory and well, the corporate world is no different.
Here, HR experts and digital strategists tend to have similar debates, albeit over topics like: “Is employee experience superior to customer experience? Or the other way around?”
One may wonder, why do they even have to debate about this in the first place?
It’s simple—to help you make the right decision and, ultimately, improve your overall brand reputation.
So, what exactly is employee experience?
Employee experience refers to the overall journey of an employee at an organisation. It encapsulates every interaction that an employee has at their workplace—from the first ‘good morning’ to the last ‘goodbye’ after the end of their tenure.
Charity, the saying goes, begins at home. So, businesses that hope to deliver stellar customer experiences must first engage internally with all the departments. And before they think of customer-employee relationships, they must think of employee-organisation dynamics.
The link between employee experience and customer experience
Improving internal engagement results in powerful transformations and is a great lever to sustaining a customer-centric organisation.
McKinsey, terms employee experience as “internal customer experience”, implying employees are no less than actual customers.
Simply put, successful businesses think more about the end-to-end metamorphosis that focuses on internal customers (read: employees), as well as the external ones. But, what for?
To gain a competitive advantage.
Today, customer experience is not just limited to customers—it’s more than that. While clients drive your business forward, focusing only on the outside of your organisation will make you feel like there’s something missing in your customer service delivery.
In a nutshell, if you want to thrive, maintain a continuum between internal customer service and external customer service, embrace both to get the best out of them. Always remember, employee experience or internal customer experience has long-lasting implications for a business.
- First and foremost, employee services directly impact customer experience. Thus, they must be high-quality. Let’s say, your IT support staff fails to coordinate with front-liners for important information. This will result in massive loss and negatively impact your business’s customer experience delivery.
Therefore, manage your internal customer experience to drive external CX.
- Secondly, consider employee experience as an organisation’s concept of self-love. The more love, appreciation and gratitude you show to yourself (read: your employees), the more it would reflect on the customer service you deliver. Want to know a top-secret? (not really a secret though).
Engaged employees reflect their positive energy on customers.
- Lastly, a stellar employee experience improves employee satisfaction significantly. It eliminates high costs by increasing productivity and reducing attritions.
The right way to manage employee experience
From employee burnout to underpayment and exploitation, you might come across gruesome stories about the way some customer-centric organisations treat their workforce.
Often inspired by the idea of scientific management, such organisations usually go by the default notion of not trusting their employees. They believe their employees indulge in malpractices like stealing, lying, and procrastinating.
These symptoms of an insecure organisation usually result in toxic micromanagement practices.
They must not forget, employees are people with families, friends, hobbies and interests. To act otherwise would be to deny them of their unique personalities and their right to feel free at workplaces. The best strategy to excel at employee experience is to let them be themselves.
For example, According to Forbes, the famous US cakery, The Cheesecake Factory features in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to work for.
Acknowledging their success, David Gordon, president of The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, said, “Every day our staff and managers are committed to living our shared purpose of nurturing bodies, minds, hearts and spirits. Receiving this award is a direct result of all that they do on a daily basis to nurture our guests and each other.”
Companies like these know—employees are the heartbeat of a business. While customers may occasionally connect with your brand, employees are consistent. They share the same culture and values as your business. Therefore, they should always lie at the heart of your organisation.
How you can help your team reach their full potential
Turns out the old saying “Employees don’t leave bad organisations, but bad management” stopped being wholly true anymore ever since the remote working model took over.
Though management and managers still form a big part of employee retention, they’re not the only factors that make or break an employee’s experience.
If companies want holistic efforts from their employees, they must also take a holistic approach while partnering with them.
For example, in the new normal, an employee working from home on a rainy day will be more productive than an employee struggling for cabs or stuck on water-logged roads. So, organisations should be flexible enough to accommodate these little changes to enhance employee experience.
Simply put, organisations need to think beyond traditional engagement.
Following are some simple measures that can help the company culture become more considerate and empowering towards employees:
- Be a mentor: Inspire and educate those who look up to you. Be approachable and transparent with your employees while seeking and receiving feedback. Make them understand that the work they do should be viewed as a business they manage. This will help them view themselves as business owners and, hence, follow an entrepreneurial approach.
- Communicate and connect: Involve your staff in problem-solving and important decision-making conversations. They will feel more connected and related to the company and its decisions.
- Equip and empower: Equip them with the right tools and applications to make their work-life smoother. Empower your workforce to constantly work on personal development and upskill themselves. Deploy learning management systems and training protocols for the same.
- Let them struggle: While it’s always good to be a mentor, challenging your employees in some situations will help them grow and learn.
Creating a learning environment doesn’t necessarily come with huge costs and fancy solutions. Sometimes, transformation just requires a change in company culture and policies.
So, how does this translate into exceptional customer service?
People who feel content and respected in their jobs naturally reflect the same while dealing with customers. As simple as an acknowledgement of their work is enough to put a spring in their steps.
A customer service agent is motivated to go the extra mile when they feel like they’re constantly adding value to the company.
Furthermore, this attitude translates into a stronger team that focuses on getting amazing results more than anything else.
Everyone loves quick resolutions and polite representatives. It’s obvious, isn’t it?
There is no better way to position yourself in the business world than to hold up a positive brand image. Happy employees are the first indicator of how dedicated and invested you are in your business’s success and growth.
Therefore, understand the power of an internal customer experience to deliver an exceptional external customer experience. Provide the right mix of culture, tools and environment to create unique employee experiences.
Tell us what you think about employee experience in the comments section below.
Tavishi Arora is bent on the creative side of writing at Servetel,a leading cloud telephony service provider to boost business success. She greatly believes that words hold the utmost capability to positively impact society.