Customer Experience is an outcome. And is the direct result of the attitudes, behaviors of your employees, and workplace culture. Your employee experience affects your customer experience. Here at Stawi, we believe that you have two customers – an internal customer (employees, partners across your value chain) and an external customer. Your internal customers deliver success and satisfaction to your external customers. 

No company can remain in business without the support of customers. Whether it is because of being out of touch with your customers, being unprofitable, or selling a product that the market has no interest in. Customers are the core of any and every business’ success. It is with this in mind that successful organizations invest millions of dollars into their customer experience. This could be through customer service training. Getting real-time feedback from customers through messaging, social listening, or online feedback tools. Hiring extra customer success personnel or investing in the customer experience. Great companies understand that the cost of retaining existing customers is lower than acquiring new ones – and will invest in customer satisfaction. 

But who delivers that satisfaction to your external customers? Your internal customer. It is impossible to throw incentives at your customers while demanding that badly treated or unengaged employees serve customers with a smile. But this is what most companies do. You will see companies redesign stores, have a vibrant social media presence, and roll out new products. There is nothing wrong with these steps, however, without employees that care about customer satisfaction the new store or product is just a shell. 

In their book The Employee Experience: How to Attract Talent, Retain Top Performers, and Drive Results. The authors opine that business “success comes through quality products, sensible pricing, strong customer support . . . and employees who care personally about delivering an extraordinary experience every time.” 

Employee Experience (EX) Predicts the Customer Relationship 

Focusing on EX sets an example for the relationship you are asking your employees to have with their customers. EX means caring enough about your staff to sit down and designing their experience with them and not for them. It is a process that involves listening, experimentation, empathy, financial investment in the experience, and serving. All traits that make for a great customer experience. How can you expect your employees to meet the unsaid and unstated needs of your customers if you are not doing the same? Or serve, value and act on feedback? Listen to the customer and value engagement? Employee Experience sets the tone of the conversation and attitudes your employees have with your customer. Treat your staff they way you would like them to treat your best customers. 

Happy and Engaged Employees Deliver Great Experiences 

A few years ago Forbes has an article that listed different companies that focused on EX and in return had a great CX. In the list you find Starbucks, Marriot, Airbnb, General Electric, and others. The article went on to say that there is an undeniable link between employee experience and customer experience. Companies that lead in customer experience have 60% more engaged employees. Glassdoor, the world’s foremost workplace review site had a similar study that explored the relationship between reviews on its site and customer satisfaction. By focusing on EX within your company, not only do you set the tone for the customer experience, but you also empower your employees to deliver memorable experiences. 

Lessons from VW Group Australia 

In Australia Volkswagen Group had a 100% turnover rate for certain job roles and positions. This meant that car dealerships were always having to start over with their customers. As you can imagine this gravely affected not only customer satisfaction but also business revenue.  VW Group Australia chief customer and marketing officer Jason Bradshaw is quoted as saying that pivoting their work from just being about customer experience to also being about the employee experience helped them overcome this challenge. 

Working with frontline leaders to improve their leadership, communication, and onboarding skills. Asking employees questions such as, “Are your leaders at the dealership inspiring you or creating an environment for you to do your best?” And using the data to make improvements. Innovation and training events. Opening communication lines within the organization and delivering E-Learning has in Bradshaw’s words “really has helped us move the overall experience that we deliver to customers, but in a way that’s quite sustainable.” Jason so strongly believes in the relationship between customer and employee experience that he went ahead to write a book called its all about CEX! Clearly Employee Experience affects Customer Experience! 

“Your customers can never be happier than your employees.” 

Happy and engaged employees create better experiences, which leads to more satisfied and loyal customers and, ultimately, brand and company growth. Tom Peters is attributed as saying that “your customers can never be happier than your employees.” Customer Experience is an outcome. And is the direct result of the attitudes, behaviors of your employees and workplace culture. Unlike the utility era in the experience era, you do not just give your employees a salary, desk, phone, computer, and access to the internet and then expect amazing results. 

As customer needs have changed employee needs have changed too. It is important to remember that engaged employees are the soil and nutrients in which your Customer Experience grows, and employee experience adds nutrients and life to the soil. If you have a workforce of engaged people who feel respected and appreciated, and if they trust their leaders enough to take risks and invest emotionally in the organization, your CX will take care of itself. 

On the other hand, if you don’t set a foundation of great people who care about providing a terrific experience and making customers’ lives better, all the technology and systems in the world, or rebrands won’t keep your CX from being a money-losing mess. Remember, engaged employees are the foundation from which your Customer Experience succeeds. 

For the last few years now, companies have begun to leverage on delivering exciting customer experiences. And winsome employee experiences to keep their best talent. Forward thinking companies start from the inside going out, with the knowledge that employee experience affects customer experience.