Employees today expect more than just a steady paycheck and a set schedule: they’re looking for a level of value in their work experience that goes far beyond the decades of standard ‘9-to-5’ that defined the 20th century.
Today’s employees want a workplace that challenges them intellectually, while simultaneously enabling them to perform at their peak. That expectation extends beyond management style – though that’s definitely important – to touch every element of the employee’s experience, from tech to communication to culture.
So why is this relevant to the customer experience? Well, an exceptional employee experience is inextricably linked with a seamless, frictionless customer experience – you can’t have one without the other.
Here are six ways you can improve your customer experience by enhancing your employee experience:
Enable Productivity and Efficiency
Here’s a little secret that should be common understanding: your employees want to be productive and efficient. They just don’t want their productivity to be the result of processes that feel like pulling teeth or to come at the cost of their personal lives.
If you implement the right technology for your business, arming your employees with the best tools and processes for their job, you’ll enable them to be more productive and more efficient without putting in more effort – ideally, if you use best practices, it’ll take even less effort.
Not only will increased productivity improve your bottom line, it also leads to a better, faster, more personalized customer experience. The less time and energy your employees spend wrestling with clunky tech and overcomplicated processes, the more time and energy they’ll have to focus on your customers.
Deploy Effective Onboarding, Training, and Employee Development
Part of enabling your employees to achieve their productivity goals is not only providing them with the right tools, but also ensuring they have the support they need to properly onboard, learn, and use them. This goes for your products and services as well as outside technology.
In addition to improving their internal efficiency, this kind of support improves your employees’ external service quality as well. Customers are assisted by competent personnel who have confidence in their understanding of the tools they’re using – this leads to better customer experience outcomes, which fosters customer loyalty.
Improve Communication and Collaboration
Clear and effective communication across departments is crucial to the employee experience. We’ve all been there: you work all week on a project, only to find out on Friday that the strategy was adjusted on Monday, but you were left out of the loop. A strong, organization-wide communication strategy allows you to better manage collaborative tasks, get everyone on the same page, and ensure that changes don’t fall through the cracks.
From a customer perspective, it’s frustrating when you interact with an organization and get the feeling that the right hand has no idea what the left is up to. Consumers want to feel confident that your team is working together toward the same goal. The more effectively your team collaborates, the more cohesive and frictionless your customer experience will be.
Create a Strong, Happy, Exciting Culture
Keeping employees happy isn’t just about retention – although that’s a good reason to improve the employee experience too! Happy employees who feel like they can be themselves in the workplace, and who feel valued by their organization, will share their positivity with the rest of the world.
In the social media age, many people express their state of mind online – if they're happy at work, that will be reflected on their social channels. From Glassdoor reviews to Twitter to personal recommendations, your employees will build your company’s brand, establishing your organization as a great place to work. This attracts better talent, translates to stronger customer experiences, and improves the consumer’s perception of the brand.
So how do you create a great company culture? It starts with prioritizing your employees: their physical and mental health, work needs, and overall connection with your organization. People who feel good are simply going to do the job better, garnering your organization the best possible results. Hiring selectively is part of this – make sure to consider candidates’ overall cultural fit, not just whether they can do the job.
Understand Employee Personas
It’s important to understand that ‘employee experience’ doesn’t mean every employee has the same experience – the people working for your organization are individuals, with different roles and responsibilities, across varying demographics and backgrounds.
Different groups of employees have different needs, which is why gathering feedback to gauge employee happiness is so important. When you understand the range of needs, it’s easier to strategize to meet them. And meeting your employees’ needs will help facilitate a frictionless experience for your customers.
Empower Your Employees to Deliver Exceptional Experiences
Understanding your employees is one thing but empowering them to deliver exceptional experiences is another. It’s very clear to customers when companies value the highest quality customer experience and empower their employees to deliver it. Here’s an example:
I recently stayed at a hotel while on vacation. Prior to the vacation, I was looking at the hotel website and read that the hotel always has cars on hand to drive you around or run you into town. When we arrived, we put our bags away and wanted to go grab a meal, but drivers were busy. I wasn’t going to complain about it, so I simply ordered an Uber. One of the representatives came outside after hearing that I was getting an Uber. She immediately apologized, asked me how much the Uber was and said she would subtract the expense from my bill. She wasn’t the manager, she was a guest receptionist. It was extremely clear to me that she was empowered to deliver a great experience. She was enabled to uphold the company’s promise to drive guests around at no charge.
If you have the right level of empowerment for your employees to be able to make spot decisions like this one, you are going to deliver better customer experiences. When your values, mission, and vision are ingrained in your company’s DNA, employees feel empowered, and customer experiences are bound to be extraordinary.
Employee experience matters – not only does it affect turnover and recruitment, but it has a direct impact on the functionality of your organization, and that in turn has a direct impact on your customer experience.