Employee Experience: The Cornerstone of Customer Experience

Everything I’ve seen over the years — in both the organizations I’ve led and others I’ve worked with as an outside advisor — corroborates the importance of employee experience. It is indeed the cornerstone of customer experience. When you peel back the layers of any customer-centric organization, you’ll find a robust culture of honoring employees, encouraging their insight and ideas, and engaging them every step of the way.

Think about a customer’s journey through your organization. Basic steps might include learning about your products or services through marketing materials, your website or a sales rep; purchasing at a store, from a partner, or through your website; needing assistance, accessed through your mobile app, online resources, or contact center; and others. Every one of the products, services, technologies, and processes were selected, designed, implemented, or overseen by someone who works for your organization. Your best-laid plans for customer experience go nowhere without invested, dedicated employees.

Research bears out the connection between employee experience and business outcomes. Over the last two decades, the Gallup organization has, in a series of studies, identified the links between high employee engagement and healthy organizational outcomes—including better employee retention, higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, higher productivity, and better financial results. As customer experience principles have become part of the business vernacular, numerous studies from other sources have added insight. Surveys from the Temkin Group, for example, find that employees who work for customer-centric companies are 30 percent more likely to be committed to their jobs.

In short: if you’re just beginning your customer experience journey, it’s time to get comfortable with another “experience” — employee experience. Just as your customers desire products, services, and support that minimize frustrations and help them thrive, employees do too. Just as loyal customers say great things about your organization — especially when they feel an emotional connection to it — employees do too.

Excerpt from Leading the Customer Experience: How to Chart a Course and Deliver Outstanding Results by Brad Cleveland