Regardless of our roles, we all have customers. Those customers have experiences with each of us and, more broadly, our organizations. What does that have to do with culture and employee experience? More than you think.
When Culture Your Culture: Innovating Experiences @ Work was first published, the target audience was primarily company decision makers and culture practitioners, regardless of industry. To my surprise and delight, the CX community enthusiastically embraced the book and its framework, Design of Work Experience. The connection between employee experience and customer experience makes total sense when you think about it. Here are some reasons why:
1. Your employees are also your first customers. As a company’s external interface, they are the ones who communicate and reflect the quality of an organization through their words and actions (for better or worse). Few leaders fully understand this or behave as if they do. Those that “get it” have great proof of their success. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, said:
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
I quoted Angela Ahrendts (former CEO of Burberry and SVP Retail at Apple) on page 19 in Culture Your Culture:
“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”
So if your company has customers and employees, you should be treating them as if they are important to the success of your business—because they are.
2. CX & EX are inextricably linked and co-dependent. Employees are also consumers themselves. They have purchasing power and thanks to social media the ability to promote or disparage brands. According to Accenture:
“…as the lines between professional and personal life blur, employees increasingly want the relevant, convenient and engaging experiences they have outside of work to be replicated on the job.”
Tools for EX and CX can be used to help each other. Consider one step farther: intentionally designing and implementing CX & EX together—for continuity, consistency, alignment, and IMPACT.
3. Progress is limited or enhanced by company culture. Here’s what Forrester predicts for 2020 when it comes to CX:
“We expect innovative, customer-delighting experiences to come to market that combine technology, creativity, and deep customer understanding.”
If you are in the business of serving internal or external customers (and I know you are), what happens when these new offerings are introduced to your company? Will your culture embrace, resist, or even ignore them? What happens after that? Chances are you have the foresight to answer these questions.
Whether good, bad, or just ok, get a handle on your culture. Understand its complexities and how you should manage its strengths and shortcomings to ensure it becomes a business asset, not a liability. Your CX, EX, and the success of your company depends on it.
If framing CX and EX together is new to you or just something you haven’t thought about recently, whet your appetite on my conversations with these Customer Experience gurus:
Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken
Crack the Customer Code with Adam Toporek and Jeannie Walters
CX Conversations with Vivek Jaiswal
RARE Business with Adrian Swinscoe