How to improve customer experience? Focus on employees first
“Customer experience is the next competitive battleground. It’s where business is going to be won or lost.”
With the vast amount of choice available online and as consumer expectations grow, it’s increasingly difficult for brands to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. To survive in today’s ruthless landscape, businesses have to be innovative, have a competitive selection of products at the right price points, but most of all – provide a customer experience that rises above and beyond. A whopping 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company, and with the evolution of customer-brand interaction, it’s more important than ever for brands to focus on making great customer experiences.
There are numerous excellent resources on the web for businesses who are trying to improve their customer experience, such as this guide by McKinsey and this thought-provoking article from Forbes. A key principle underpinning this is a shared purpose – the idea that creating a great customer experience should be a shared sentiment across the whole organization.This is massively important; great customer experience is born from every aspect of the business, and every employee contributes to the end result. But if you’ve ever measured how your employees engage with your intranet, you will immediately realize that rallying your entire organization to engage with something is a lot easier said than done.
It’s one thing to ‘…make [this purpose] clear to every employee’, and another to get every employee to actively engage with the sentiment. And to create truly great customer experiences, every employee needs to live and breathe that sentiment; so how can you overcome this hurdle? It’s simple – focus on your employees first.
Employees are the lifeblood of any company – simply put, no successful company could exist without the hard work and dedication of it's employees. If your employees are dissatisfied - with their work-life balance, with organizational processes or culture, or even with the tools they're given to do their jobs - this is going to reflect directly on the customer service they can provide. Happy employees make for happy customers, and employees who are engaged with and feel a sense of belonging within their company culture tend to be not only happier, but more productive.
Cultural transformations take time. For established companies, there's no overnight fix; slow, incremental changes are the best way to create permanent, positive changes whilst maintaining operations. However, some aspects of company culture are quicker to change than others; namely, your digital workplace - a gateway to internal communications, applications, documents, collaboration tools and more. Organizations with established digital workplaces can expect employees to be 51% more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, saving up to 17% of time spent on manual processes - not to mention other benefits such as improved work-life balance, improved productivity and reduced attrition rates. You can read more about the benefits of a digital workplace here.
Your employees are your likely your most unused resource for building powerful customer experiences. Whilst there will always be competitors who can and will deliver similar products and services like yours, if you create a culture of empowering your employees to be happier, more engaged and able to perform to the best of their ability, delivering great customer experiences will come naturally.