CX Leader Roundtable wrap-up: The employee and customer experience connection

During the latest CX Leader Roundtable, we explored the connection between employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX).

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Jeannie Walters

November 8, 2021

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Ask most customer experience leaders about the connection between employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX), and you’ll typically get an emphatic response. Both contribute to building great customer experiences.

But what does that mean when it comes to CX leader roles and responsibilities? How can CX leaders connect the Employee Experience in meaningful ways, inside and outside the organization?

The CX and EX connection was what we explored together in the latest CX Leader Roundtable.

I had the honor of hosting this amazing group of thoughtful leaders who shared what’s working, what’s challenging, and what they’d like to see in the future. Better yet, I’ve continued to be a member of this community and have learned from the 100+ CX leaders involved. Here’s what I took away from our latest discussion.

How does EX impact CX?

A positive employee experience, especially one focused on trust and collaboration, helps employees deliver a positive customer experience. And in the time of “the great resignation,” a positive employee experience helps organizations become employers of trust. Effective EX reduces the challenges of labor shortages and improves hiring timeframes, which can also impact the customer experience.

IDC recently released their Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide Employee Experience Management Strategies, 2021. Eighty-five percent of respondents agreed an improved employee experience and higher employee engagement translate to a better customer experience, higher customer satisfaction, and higher revenues for the organization. Additionally, 62% stated that this is a defined causal relationship between EX and CX, and the impact was “large” or “significant” and, most notably, measurable.

When we surveyed the CX Leader Roundtable, 68% reported that their Employee Experience vision is aligned with Customer Experience, values, and strategy, but only “a moderate amount” or “a little.”

How to build a team to support CX and EX goals

During our discussion, several leaders highlighted the importance of sharing customer experience values with employees from the very beginning of their employment journey.

Things can get a little challenging if employee experience responsibilities are not part of the CX leader role. Our group reported that approximately 50% have “some” responsibilities around the employee experience.

However, start by building a solid partnership with Human Resources (HR). From there, design employee onboarding processes that ensure CX values are always top-of-mind throughout the coaching and employee feedback process.

Build EX coalitions and collect employee feedback

Building coalitions and “leading by influence” were reinforced as strategies to connect EX and CX. We agreed that CX leaders must often communicate with other leaders and build relationships based on shared goals. Reinforcing employees’ behaviors and outlook is a shared responsibility for leaders to build trust and partnerships that benefit all.

Another critical factor discussed was collecting employee feedback. Akin to CX best practices, it’s vital to take action on employee feedback. Closing the loop with employees is just as important as it is with customers to show employees they’re heard and highlight the changes you’re enforcing due to their feedback.

The importance of tying CX metrics to employee evaluations

One of the most important takeaways is the value of using metrics to evaluate employee performance. While 43% of our survey respondents shared that they use CX metrics to assess employee performance, the how and why of this strategy differed.

Many use metrics to evaluate team performance rather than the individual employee, ensuring the team sees their role in bolstering the customer journey. Use customer feedback and transactional CX metrics in real-time to coach employees, but be careful not to use them as a negative tool. Instead, leverage real-time positive feedback to encourage employees to show empathy and exceed customer expectations.

An often overlooked aspect of connecting CX with EX is ensuring employees feel aligned with the CX promises made. Suppose the vision for the customer experience is vastly different from what employees are experiencing inside the organization. In that case, employees risk feeling misled or misaligned with the overall values of the organization. Since the younger employees say their values must align with their employer, this will become a more significant factor in employee engagement.

Bridge the gap between CX and EX

Not surprisingly, there is no correct answer about connecting employee experience and the customer experience in meaningful ways. However, our group agreed to certain ideas to encourage the proper relationship between EX and CX:

  1. Know your organization’s vision and values for customer experience and share them along the entire employee journey.

  2. Build coalitions with Human Resources (HR) and training or learning and development teams to ensure CX is included in the onboarding process, ongoing training, and employee coaching.

  3. Collect and act on employee feedback.

  4. Use CX metrics and real-time feedback to set team goals and use them for in-the-moment coaching.

  5. There is no all or nothing. The employee journey can be reviewed and improved while the customer journey is, too.

Employees want to feel connected to the vision and values for customer experience and ensure their efforts deliver a greater mission. While CX leaders may not be directly involved with designing or implementing the employee experience, they play a unique and essential role in connecting each employee to the overall customer experience.

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