Customer experience (CX) initiatives often focus on changing company culture. And it makes sense. There is a direct link between satisfied employees and satisfied customers. The Aberdeen Group found that companies that actively engage their employees have 233% higher customer retention rates than those that don’t.
Employees are the face of your brand. No matter how much effort you put into digitizing your customer journey, at some point your customers will interact with an employee. And even if they don’t, their digital journey will be programmed (or in the case of an AI-based experience, coded) by a person. Whether or not your customers physically interact with your employees, their intentions, care, and understanding of the importance of customer experience will shine through.
If the connection between company culture, customer experience and improved revenue is so clear, why aren’t we all in a rush to change everything about the way we work? Well, as the aphorism goes: Rome wasn’t built in a day — and neither was your corporate culture. It’s not a journey, it’s a destination – and it’s the one you reach after continuous iteration and effort.
If you’re looking to create a company culture that supports your customer experience goals, be sure to focus on your employee experience, looking beyond metrics and communicating your values.
Employee experience drives customer experience, so start from within
It’s simple: EX drives CX. If you don’t have happy employees, you won’t have happy customers. Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute found that eight out of 10 customers are willing to pay more for a superior experience.
Investing in EX doesn’t mean giving employees more vacation time and free lunch and donuts on Fridays (although that wouldn’t hurt). This means you are investing in the right things, like:
Everyone appreciates feeling seen and understood. For customers, it’s a personalized experience when they visit your website or talk to a customer success manager who knows them. For your employees, it’s recognition. When employees feel recognized, retention increases, and when they don’t, they leave. A survey showed that 50% of employees who don’t feel valued start looking for other jobs. Consider recognizing employees on their birthdays and anniversaries, shouting out their victories, and building personal relationships so they feel seen. Ultimately, customers and employees want to feel valued as people, not just as part of the bottom line.
Consistent employee experience
Typically, customers care more about the overall experience than a sensational highlight, and employees value the everyday experience where they’re treated like humans more than a fancy holiday party. In fact, 60% of employees would take a pay cut to work for a more empathetic employer. This does not mean that you have to spend a huge amount of money to move into a new luxury building. It can be simple things like more flexible working hours, better lighting in the office or a standing desk. The point is, you won’t know unless you ask, which makes investing in getting accurate and timely feedback even more important.
Open feedback channels
On the comment note, let’s go back to “She divorced me because I left the dishes by the sink,” which I first talked about in relation to proactive support. Guess what? It’s not just your customers who give you clues about their dissatisfaction: your employees too. Many of us are guilty of asking for feedback and then ignoring it if it doesn’t fit our narrative or dismissing it as just unhappy complainers. Constructive feedback is one of the greatest gifts you can receive because it means you have employees who are always engaged. So if you’re going to ask for feedback, put your ego aside and listen. You might be surprised at what you hear.
Whether it’s customers or employees, it all boils down to one golden rule: treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Policies and procedures have consequences, good and bad, that go well beyond the intended consequences. And if your employees’ experience isn’t positive, you can bet your customers won’t be either.
Related article: 5 tips to get the most out of your Voice of Employee program
Don’t Get Trapped by Metrics
Churn, NPS, CSAT, CES… the CX metrics you can measure are endless. Yet focusing only on metrics can disconnect you from your ultimate goal: satisfying your customers.
You’ll know you’re tied to metrics if you justify results with the same tired excuses (internal systems, not enough or having the wrong people, dirty data) – or using those same excuses as why you shouldn’t even try to improve. Maybe you spend all your time debating how to calculate metrics instead of discussing what information they give you. Or maybe you’re just telling anyone listening to you that numbers don’t matter because “we’re different” — and ignoring customer information because they just don’t understand it.
Metrics are important, but they are not everything. Instead, consider prioritizing must-win battles that impact customer happiness — and your bottom line. It’s much easier to get employees on board with “improving the login experience” rather than “reducing the login page bounce rate from 65% to 33%. Employees have ideas for improving a specific experience based on their knowledge and conversations with customers Let them participate in finding the solution.
Related Article: Frontline Workers: The Untapped Knowledge Workers Among You
Do you think you communicate enough? Think again
Do you know your company’s mission, vision and values? Be honest: how many of you came to your company’s website for a quick update? Well, I have news for you – if you don’t know, why do you think your employees know?
Your mission, vision, and values cannot be written down once, memorialized on your website, and then quickly forgotten. You need to communicate them continuously throughout the organization, so that they become part of your company culture. But more than that, you need to make it easy for employees to live those values.
Think about it. Most of us probably work at companies that have some variation of “customer success” as one of their core values. After all, who doesn’t want their clients to succeed? And to be more blunt, what company will succeed if it does not put the success of its customers at the center of its strategy? But it’s one thing to say it, and it’s another to live it — in your words and in your actions.
So the next time you feel like repeating your values to everyone, take a step back and ask yourself if you are empowering your employees to live your values. Are you giving them the technology they need to resolve customer issues quickly, or are they working with patchy internal systems that have been tinkered with over the years? Are your employees encouraged to use good judgment in making decisions to help customers get a quick resolution, or are they bogged down by pages of policies and procedures? Do your employees feel able to communicate to you what works and what doesn’t, or are they expected to sit quietly because the management team is in the best position?
When you empower your team to live your values, you create a vibrant, dynamic company culture that supports your customer experience and grows with you over time.
Customers expect and value great experiences and emotional engagement, which means a strong company culture makes all the difference. To live the customer experience, your team must go beyond simple KPIs to care about improving the lives of your customers, your business, and everyone they meet. And to get there, that means you have to encourage the motivation and commitment of your team.
Melissa Henley is Senior Director of Customer Experience at KeyShot, the global leader in product design rendering software. Customers are at the heart of everything Melissa does, and her passion is connecting people to content that can have a real positive impact on their lives.