Connecting the Dots: The Link Between Employee Engagement & Customer Experience

Connecting the Dots: The Link Between Employee Engagement & Customer Experience

Marketers recognize the strong connection between employee experience (EX) and the quality of a brand’s customer experience (CX). For instance, according to the Harvard Business Review, “a growing body of research offers a powerful lesson to CEOs … to build a customer-first strategy, building high employee morale is a necessary (though not sufficient) precondition.” 

There are many examples of brands who promote their commitment to EX as a key to their success. Starbucks is well-known for making EX a top priority. One way they demonstrate that is by referring to their employees as “partners,” which reinforces their belief in shared success. On a bigger scale, the Starbucks College Achievement Plan is designed to encourage employees to grow as an individual as well as in their career. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson reflects, “I’m a believer in embracing new ways of learning and creating opportunities for people, and I believe that great things happen when you do that.” 

Trader Joe’s is another brand that recognizes the role their employees play in delivering meaningful CX.

“The company translates its values into expectations for employees such as committing to ‘every customer experience being rewarding, eventful, and fun.’” One of the ways this is accomplished is by aligning their seven core values into the internal employee review process. Operating from this shared value system allows the company to serve its customers in an organic and genuine way, allowing every team member the opportunity to share the unique culture of their brand.

What companies like these have in common is a thorough process for measuring, educating, and encouraging EX. Without that, an organization may be missing opportunities to enhance their CX, or worse, they could be leaving their brand vulnerable to losing customers, resulting in negative financial performance. Here’s a checklist of strategies you can use to ensure employees believe in your brand purpose and understand the influence their actions have on your CX. 

The Four E’s of EX

Evaluate

  • Assess employee awareness and understanding of your company’s vision, mission, brand purpose, and promise
  • Determine degree of employee buy-in with these directives 
  • Gather feedback on the availability and quality of resources enabling positive engagement

Enlighten

  • Map out the full spectrum of EX and identify behaviors that link to specific CX touchpoints
  • Quantify the impact of positive action on customer behavior
  • Estimate the potential cost of disengaged employees in terms of lost customers and the bottom line

Educate

  • Create a customer-centric culture that celebrates stories about employees whose efforts lead to a positive CX interaction
  • Share CX goals and performance metrics to demonstrate what success looks like
  • Embed key insights from EX surveys across the organization and request ideas to help deepen levels of engagement

Encourage

  • Integrate EX topic areas into department meetings to make it a regular part of team interactions
  • Include creativity and team-building exercises in training programs to support a forward-thinking, solutions-oriented mindset among employees
  • Experiment with new ways of encouraging positive employee experience to find what works best in your organization

The most successful companies treat EX as seriously as CX. They find ways to ensure their employees understand how their work impacts and shapes their customers’ experiences. Which of these steps does your company currently take? What is your company’s method for monitoring and aligning EX with your brand purpose? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how the power of fully engaged employees drives your customer experience success.

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