When was the last time you were truly impressed with a company as a customer? When, where, and why? The mere fact that you had to think about it for a while — or maybe you are still thinking about it — is proof enough of the sad reality. There is a lot of talk about Customer Experience, and yet the truly positive experiences consumers have with the companies they interact with are still rare.
But why is that? Do employees or performance partners possibly have an influence on this? Is there perhaps a connection between Customer Experience (CX) & Employee Experience (EX)? Well, let me clarify what I mean by Customer Experience: “CX: How a customer feels and what they will remember from the experience during and after the direct and indirect interactions at all touchpoints during their journey with any given company or organization.”
Now, what would happen if we replaced the word “customer” with “employee”? Would the sentence still make sense? Wouldn’t it simply describe how employees feel every day in their organization? I think it would. Let’s face it: How many companies do you know that truly care about the experience of their employees — along the Customer Journey and regardless of whether they are full- or part-time employees, apprentices or partners — with the same intensity with which they care about their customers? Not many, in my opinion.
So how can a positive, perhaps even unique Customer Experience ever be achieved if the Employee Experience is unknown, random, uncontrolled, or even considered unimportant? Flawless service — with or without a physical product — takes place between engaged people at eye level and at every touchpoint within an organization.
The first companies to take a close look at this issue were hotels in the 5 & 5s star category. After decades of letting their employees “live” in often “suboptimal accommodations,” they recognized the importance of an appropriate environment, respectful treatment, employee-oriented working conditions, as well as opportunities for leisure activities. A practical and tangible example for a well-orchestrated Employee Experience as the basis for the daily provisioning of customer-oriented services — at eye level — for a sustainable positive and authentic Customer Experience.
In the meantime, much has changed in the labor market, not only in the hotel industry and not just since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The demands of the generations now of working age call for a sense of purpose, work-life balance, sustainability, flexibility and understanding of their personal needs. The shortage of skilled workers for retail, care, industry, and all other sectors is becoming greater and greater.
Meanwhile, the topic of Employee Experience is gaining a completely different status in all economic sectors. Whereas in the beginning people tried to improve their own Employer Branding through often very eye-catching but unfortunately not tangible actions, there are now more and more companies which — due to the shortage of skilled workers — are really turning the screws on practical Employee Experience. The current battle in the “War for Talents” will be won by those who deliver the best possible Employee Experience to their existing and new employees — meaningful, fulfilling and appropriately remunerated tasks with respect and consideration for the “human resource.”
In the end — and this is also backed up by a large number of studies — a people-oriented Employee Experience also brings a sustainable and profitable Customer Experience. Because one thing is a fact: the way you treat each other internally is the way you are perceived externally. Customer Experience and Employee Experience is not an “either-or” or a “chicken-and-egg” phenomenon, but always a well-coordinated collaboration for long-term success — and we all want that, don’t we?