CX = EX: If you want happy customers, you need happy employees

  • Posted on October 22, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

This article was originally written by Avanade alum Stella Goulet.

See if this sounds familiar: You place an order online, but when the package arrives, you find that the product is damaged. You call the company’s customer service line to report the damage, but the call center agent can’t find your order. He escalates your call, but the new agent doesn’t have your information and you have to start all over again explaining the situation.

When this kind of frustrating, disconnected experience happens, we typically blame the company or the employee. But the real culprit may be the processes, technologies and information that the employee is working with. Without the right tools, the right support, the right environment, employees can’t do their jobs well, and their experience may suffer.

Employee experience predicts business performance
Many companies today want to position their brands on customer experience (CX). And no wonder. CX is a key way to differentiate, improve customer loyalty and generate better long-term results. In fact, according to research from Avanade and Sitecore, for every $1 spent on developing a customer experience strategy, organizations see a $3 return. But companies often underestimate the role of employees in delivering great customer experiences. Yet it stands to reason: If the employee experience (EX) is negative, then the customer experience may well be too.

How important is the employee experience in driving a good customer experience? A survey by MIT Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) found that employee experience predicts business performance. According to the research, companies with great employee experience (i.e., low work complexity, and strong behavioral norms for collaboration, creativity and empowerment) were more innovative and profitable and had higher levels of customer satisfaction. And the differences between companies in the top and bottom quartiles of employee experience were striking: twice the innovation, double the customer satisfaction and 25% greater profitability.

Take a holistic approach to EX
The link between CX and EX became clear to us as we put increased emphasis on the experience we deliver to our clients. And by employee experience, I don’t mean just compensation and benefits. EX must be considered in its entirety: how easy (or hard) it is to do your job; whether you have the necessary autonomy and decision-making power; the right modern workplace tools and technology; updated skills and capabilities; and the potential for development or career advancement.

It all comes down to ensuring that people can get things done. Forrester notes that employee experience begins and ends with productivity. The firm’s research found that the most important factor in EX is whether employees can be productive and succeed at what their organization asks them to do.

Technology can play a key role in that. Having the right modern workplace tools at their fingertips is important for our teams. We’re using tools from the Microsoft Office 365 suite, like Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint, for better communication and collaboration. And we’re using Visual Studio to support our agile marketing approach to help us work faster, more iteratively and more efficiently. The launch of our new brand identity last year is a good example of how we put agile into action.

It’s important to remember, though, that there’s isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for employee experience. The elements may be the same, but the weighting of those elements will vary by employee. That means you need to know your people.

Does your EX measure up?
If you have concerns about your CX, take a look at your EX. A good starting point to assess your employee experience is by surveying your people and identifying gaps and improvement areas.
•    Are your people empowered?
•    Do they understand their roles?
•    Do they have the right skills and capabilities?
•    Are they equipped with modern tools and technologies?
•    Are they recognized and rewarded?

If the answer to these questions is “no,” chances are you have unhappy employees – and unhappy customers.

Learn more about how to improve your organization’s workplace experience.

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