The path to better customer experience (CX) leads via better employee experience (EX). Good CX results from someone’s good work and good work reflects good conditions and motivation. By ensuring quality conditions, the employer shows that they care about their employees.
An example is last year’s overall winner, Manufaktura, whose Chief Executive Officer is Tomáš Kratochvíl. “Our sales assistants are in touch with their colleagues in product development and can call their line managers at any time. The staff regularly get training, at which they learn about the latest products in the range and have the chance to be the first to evaluate them.
The experience they acquire is then naturally applied to customers. We’re simply trying to get each of our employees to get to know Manufaktura well and to say good things about the company as a result. If somebody doesn’t genuinely believe in Manufaktura products, they can’t do that,” says Kratochvíl.
PEmployee care is typically a win-win-win project: employees feel good and gain long-term benefits from their work. This translates into good customer experience, and the employer gains from higher productivity and lower turnover.
The Hawthorne Experiments, carried out in the late 1920s and early 1930s, provide evidence of this. The study originally intended to investigate the effect of various technical conditions in the workplace. Yet it became apparent that the workers’ performance was more influenced by them knowing that the management cared about their working conditions rather than the conditions themselves (intensity of lighting, workplace temperature or the number of breaks). By engaging in experiments, they felt more important and consequently did better work.
Recent studies confirm the same conclusions. According to the Happiness and Productivity study, conducted by the University of Warwick, happier employees are 12 per cent more productive. Other experiments and surveys reach similar conclusions. Taking care of employees therefore pays off. But, as the Hawthorne example has shown, employees must be aware of care programmes and play an active role in them, rather than being mere recipients.
|Trust||The company is consistent, keeps its promises, communicates in a trustworthy way, and has a good reputation. When making decisions, it can demonstrate that it acts in the best interests of its staff and customers.|
|The employee plays an active part||Employees know that the final output of their work is not a completed step in the process, but the experience of an existing human being. The company makes it clear to employees, particularly those on the front line, that they are an invaluable source of information about customers’ needs and problems.|
|Firmly established rules||Everyone is responsible for employee experience, from HR to operations management, sales and marketing to the CX department. Work conditions must be defined, fair rules set, and customer needs and employee needs aligned.|
|Employee = Internal Customer||The company perceives customers’ and employees’ needs the same way. That allows employees to understand how they should behave towards customers and actively improve their experience – all they have to do is watch how the company behaves towards them and how it improves their employee experience.|
The pillars used to evaluate experience are universal. They represent basic qualities that can be applied to the role of customer, citizen, family member and employee. Focusing on the employee directly affects customer experience.
|Pillar||Customer experience||Employee experience||How employee experience is reflected in customer experience|
|Integrity||Customers need to perceive a company as a safe, trusted environment. Fairness must be one of the guiding principles of a company, actions need to match words, and promises made to a customer must be fulfilled. A company gains trust not only through its public attitude and presentation – small things and the actions of individual employees are important, too.||Only an environment in which people feel secure will they be able to do their best. Employer unfairness and inconsistency makes an employee less interested in performing well and acting in the interest of the company. It also diminishes their own integrity.||When a company merely milks its employees for all they are worth, these employees will treat clients likewise, regardless of all the positive statements that the company makes about itself. Conversely, employees who, based on their experience, have faith in an organization and its management, will be reliable and always act to the benefit of the customer.|
|Resolution||When a problem that needs to be solved occurs, it does not have to be a catastrophe for a company. It all depends on how it chooses to approach the issue. The best organizations are prepared, with procedures in place that will make the customer feel good even after a negative experience. And if a company follows such steps, it could even win some extra points in a customer’s eyes.||For employees to be able to solve customer problems, the company must provide them with appropriate means: support that can be quickly accessed, joint responsibility for decisions affecting them, adequate decision-making powers, and a culture in which mistakes are a learning experience, not a disciplinary offence.||A suitably-equipped employee can resolve problems quickly and effectively, and change a negative customer experience into an exceptional one.|
|Expectations||In purchasing goods or services and in other contact with a brand, we inevitably have some expectations about what we get. Apart from an effort to understand and meet customers’ expectations, companies should be able to actively manage and define them. The difference between customers’ expectations and reality is crucial. Expectations are, to some extent, the result of previous experiences with the best brands. However, if they are set and managed appropriately, so that reality exceeds expectations, the company will record excellent results for this pillar.||Managing employee expectations well means communicating in an understandable way what the organization’s goals are, what role a given employee plays in fulfilling them, and what they can expect from the company and people around them.||Confused employees pass on their lack of clarity to clients. Lack of knowledge can lead to needless frustration. Employees whose line managers clearly state what will happen and what needs to be done will be able to communicate with clients in a similar way. Therein lies the basis for managing customer expectations.|
|Time and Effort||Customers usually want their needs satisfied as easily and as quickly as possible. For a company, showing that it values its customers’ time and energy is always a good thing.||The company and its management understand the value of employee time – both in terms of efficiency in routine tasks and the time employees want to devote to their families and hobbies. Employers also respect the time needed to move up the career ladder.||A harassed employee burdened with nonsensical and tedious tasks will be inclined to pass such work on to the customer. Pointless effort on the part of a customer or an employee is always unprofitable, so it is necessary to motivate employees to minimize the effort required from a customer. And the best motivation is to not be subjected to pointless effort yourself.|
|Personalization||Customers do not want to feel like another face in the crowd, They want to feel like they matter, to feel like everything is being done just for them, and personalization is a way to make customers feel special. In practice, it means addressing them by their name, knowing their preferences, and understanding their specific needs. High levels of personalization can be achieved both online and in person. New technology enables personalization to a high degree. Of the six pillars, Personalization contributes the most to customer loyalty.||The employer should be able to make employees feel special and to support their individual development. This will help employees to see themselves more positively. They will see that they are developing their talents and that they can be useful to others. Their confidence will increase as a result.||If employees feel special, they will be able to make the customer feel special. They will be able to focus on the customer’s individuality, meet their special requirements, and give personal recommendations.|
|Empathy||If a company and its employees manage to convince customers that they understand them and know how they feel, they have just laid a perfect foundation to building a lasting relationship and great customer experience. Empathy is especially important because a strong, positive emotion will last for a long time.||Company managers are able to act sensitively, with emotional intelligence, even under pressure. They can show in a credible way that they care about their employees’ feelings and needs.||The company shows that it is about people – the customer and the employee. Everyone, including the top management, in every decision, naturally considers the interests of both the employee and the customer.|
Do you know who your employees are? Do you know what they are dealing with in their private lives right now, what is worrying them, what makes them happy, and what they need from you at work? To better empathize with employees, segmentation using employee personas will help you, as is the case with customer personas.
|Generation (segment)||Persona||Age||Employment||Work-related needs|
|Generation Z||Tadeáš||20||student, temporary job||Income for a simple, independent life. Acquire work experience, have fun, have the possibility to travel.|
|Generation Y||Petr||31||electrical maintenance engineer
||Get career off to good start, deepen knowledge and skills, provide for his young family.|
|Generation X||Alena||45||manager, medium-sized company
||To provide for her family, to have stability and a source of income. To be able to develop further and add to her responsibilities.|
|Older||Věra||61||complaints department of telecommunications operator
||Apply her experience to benefit the company, especially young colleagues. Keep in step with changes in technology and work style.|
Looking at a relationship as a journey helps you see situations that may arise, identify problems, and come up with solutions.
Like the customer relationship, the employee relationship has its stages:
How is Employee Experience (EX) at your company? See how many of the following apply: