Mastering EX for CXby
Miika Mäkitalo, CEO of HappyOrNot, discusses the game-changing link between CX and EX and why the symbiotic relationship between EX and CX should not be overlooked, reflecting on this year's CX Day.
This CX Day (3rd October) offered an opportunity to celebrate all of the organisations and individual employees involved in customer experience. Although customer experience is in the name of the day, it is important to think about the other side of the equation - employee experience (EX). The two do not exist in isolation, and although it might seem a bit counterintuitive, CX Day should prompt business leaders to consider the value of EX, too.
The correlation between CX and EX
Data from our Smiley feedback collection terminals suggests a correlation between CX and EX. In 2022, the least happy month in terms of customer feedback in the retail and services sectors was August (89.2% positive feedback). Interestingly, August was also the least happy month for employee feedback in that year in those sectors (83.3% positive feedback). This pattern is no coincidence either. As confirmed by further data, the same correlation also exists for positive experiences: the happiest month for CX was January (90.9% positive feedback), and January also saw the most positive feedback in terms of EX feedback (85.5% positive feedback).
Happier, satisfied employees are in a better position to offer exemplary customer service.
From a business leader’s perspective, this makes sense: Happier, satisfied employees are in a better position to offer exemplary customer service, and customers who are having a good experience will have a more positive interaction with frontline staff. CX and EX are intertwined. This relationship between the two should not be underestimated.
Supporting employee experience
So around CX Day - and throughout the year - leaders need to keep in mind how they intend to support employees and ensure a positive employee experience. Part of this is being aware of the pressures on staff. A lot has changed since the pandemic, and when it comes to in-store shopping and hospitality, the dynamic between the customer and staff is still being rebuilt. Equally, as online shopping continues to prove popular, leaders need to consider how this impacts customers’ expectations of staff when delivering an in-store retail experience.
The importance of monitoring customer feedback
Monitoring customer feedback is important for employee experience, too: if good systems are in place to help employees deal with potential situations before complaints are received, this will facilitate a better dynamic between employees and customers. Spotting a CX early issue means that employees can deal with it and prevent a situation where they have to deal with a conveyor belt of complaints.
Real-time data allows problems to be spotted and ‘nipped in the bud’
Another benefit of identifying CX issues early lies in the ability of management to prevent and even predict future issues from emerging. This is a process greatly streamlined through accessing real-time feedback. Unlike waiting for a problem to be observed, real-time data allows problems to be spotted and ‘nipped in the bud’ before they have a serious impact on customer or employee morale.
The role of employee engagement
It’s important to acknowledge that employee engagement is a key ingredient in achieving a positive employee experience. Simply, an engaged employee who understands their employers’ performance expectations and service provisions is better prepared to make the best decisions. Now informed and armed with customer feedback insights, these employees will be ready to proactively act to deliver excellent customer experience. In today’s ever-more-competitive retail and hospitality landscapes, taking steps to empower employees is a vital component of CX success.
Investing in training and employee wellbeing
Another way in which businesses can support employees to provide the best customer service is to invest in training and employee wellbeing. Supporting employees in this way is also beneficial for their professional development and ensures employee engagement with the key issues that impact customers’ experiences. This means giving employees access to up-to-date training and ensuring that they always know where they can turn to for advice. In the case of implementing new systems, direction and access to resources is essential. The truth is that even the most state-of-the-art systems can’t reach their full potential if staff are uncertain about how to interpret or use them.
While CX Day prompts us all to consider ways to maximise customer satisfaction, let’s not forget the power of employees in achieving an unrivalled experience. They continue to be at the heart of CX. The impact EX can have on CX (and vice versa) cannot be underestimated.