Employee experience is the new CX

As digital technology continues to revolutionize the way we do business, many businesses have started to learn the importance of focusing on their customer experience (CX). Today’s consumers are loyal to experiences, not brands, and many companies have learned the hard way that it is far cheaper to retain existing customers than to attract new customers.

Most recently, CX experts have talked about the necessity of improving employee experience (EX) in order to provide truly excellent customer experience. Notable CX titans like Shep Hyken are frequently discussing the link between EX and CX. In 2017, “creating a compelling employee experience” was designated the number one human resources trend.

So what is employee experience?

Just as CX is the total sum of experiences that a customer has interacting with your brand, EX is the total sum of experiences that an employee has through their employment with your organization – from first contact during the hiring process, to the final steps when they leave.

It’s important to note when focusing on EX, we’re not talking about hanging onto talent with gimmicks like beer fridges, ping-pong tables, or artisanal snack food. Focusing on EX means treating your employees the way you want your customers to be treated, by providing a supportive, flexible and fulfilling workplace environment. 

Creating a positive EX is important because today’s workers don’t have the same “job for life” mentality and are willing to leave for positions in companies with a better work environment, or that will be more personally fulfilling. When employees don’t feel valued, 76% will go job-hunting.

But positive EX benefits more than just hiring and staffing. It also has a measurable impact on CX, and on your bottom line.

Why companies need to care about EX

1. Dissatisfied employees don’t create satisfied customers

To provide customer service that leads to happy and engaged customers, you need happy and engaged employees.  Unhappy employees are not going to be engaged employees, and unengaged employees don’t provide service that promotes customer engagement. When employees are happy and engaged, they are committed to your organization and are far more likely to deliver excellent customer service.

Because it is employees who directly create that customer experience, you can’t improve CX while ignoring EX.

2. CX leaders have more engaged employees

Research has shown that better-performing companies have more engaged employees. 82% of employees at companies with significantly better financial performances than their competitors, are either highly or moderately engaged, compared to only 68% of employees at financially weaker companies. 

Employ engagement based on financial performance

Companies with great EX and CX are more successful and more profitable.  Companies with strong CX have 79% of employees who are highly or moderately engaged, compared to 49% of employees at companies with weak CX.

Employee engagement based on customer experience performance

Why is there such a strong link between EX, CX and performance?

Engaged employees are more committed to their work: 

  • Up to 3 times more likely to stay after normal working hours to accomplish important tasks
  • Up to 4.6 times more likely to “do something good for the company even though it is not expected”
  • More than twice as likely to “always” or “nearly always” try their hardest at work

Engaged employees are more likely to be brand advocates: 

  • 4.9 times more likely to recommend a company’s products and services to friends and family

Engaged employees help attract talent: 

  • Nearly 9 times more likely to refer open positions to friends

Engaged employees care about improvement:

  • 5.2 times more likely to give feedback about desired improvements for the company

Most companies looking to improve EX have a long way to go

The bad news: most companies are not providing good EX.  Among CX-leading companies, only 39% have “employee engagement ratings of good or very good”, and CX-leading companies are the best at providing good EX.

The good news: that makes it easier to get ahead of your competition by investing seriously in EX improvements.

How do you do that? More than anything else, you need to ask your employees. A whopping 75% of causes of employee turnover are preventable. But these causes can’t be addressed if employers don’t know what they are, so get to know your employees. Ask for feedback, conduct employee engagement surveys, and get serious about understanding the EX you’re providing now, so you can do better in the future.

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About the Author: Anna Kreider