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Great Customer Experience Starts With Employee Experience

Many businesses talk about the importance of customer experience (CX), but few realise that the secret to great customer service is to start with ensuring your employees have a good experience (EX) and creating a positive workplace culture, especially in a work-from-anywhere world.

Many businesses talk about the importance of customer experience (CX), but few realise that the secret to great customer service is to start with ensuring your employees have a good experience (EX) and creating a positive workplace culture, especially in a work-from-anywhere world.

Improving CX actually starts with good EX. A strategic approach to EX is key — one that builds relations between an organisation, its employees and its customers. And as our workplaces become more hybrid, ensuring your employees stay connected with their colleagues via a Digital HQ like Slack is paramount.

We like to think that we have a strong focus on EX — have we mentioned Salesforce has been recognised six years in a row as one of the Best Workplaces in Australia? We believe that fostering a strong EX is foundational to improving CX — here are some insights we’ve picked up along our journey.

Why great EX drives better CX

The formula is simple — fantastic customer experience is dependent upon quality customer service. To provide high levels of customer service you need employees who feel engaged with your business and who are motivated to give their best every day.

Employees who feel like they are making active contributions to an organisation’s overall vision and purpose will often be more invested in providing exceptional customer service.  

On an individual level, this means making sure your employees can feel the impact of the work they are doing on a daily basis. Ideally, each one would be clear about how their specific role contributes towards a direct outcome for the end customer.

This type of employee engagement should mean that every individual is connected to the purpose of the business and understands how their job feeds into the customer service chain. This might mean creating solutions that really solve customers’ challenges or delivering those solutions more efficiently.

Whatever it is, it’s vital to close the feedback loop and show employees exactly how their actions have improved the customers’ experience with the company or have allowed them to overcome a challenge in their own businesses or lives.

Treat your employees like customers

While CX mapping is common practice, many organisations don’t apply the same principles to nurturing ongoing relations with their employees, especially those working in remote environments. With careful consideration, businesses can develop a strategic employee experience journey from attraction to advocacy.

Typical stages of an employee journey may include:

  1. Attracting the best talent  building a strong employer brand through social media, awards and reviews.
  2. Working to recruit the right talent through an efficient and effective candidate experience.
  3. Setting employees up for success — establish an onboarding processes that will help new employees adopt the culture and ways of working.
  4. Creating a purpose — creating a deep sense of purpose will engage employees, set them up for success and help them feel aligned with your mission. 
  5. Creating advocates through building loyalty and trust. The reality is, one day your employees may move on, and they should act as advocates for your business wherever they go. And your customers are watching how you treat your employees — according to our State of the Connected Customer report, 90% of consumers said that how your company acts during a crisis will inform how trustworthy they find you. 

A strong recruitment strategy should feed into your employee experience journey. This often involves recruiting from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. Focusing on one technical skill can mean missing out on employees who would be a good cultural fit for your organisation.

Create a thriving Digital HQ

An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in a physical office; the traditional 9-to-5 workday is a thing of the past, and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks. As employers, we have an opportunity to create an even better workplace — one that allows us to be more connected to each other, find more balance between work and home, and advance equality — ultimately leading to increased innovation and better business outcomes.

For Salesforce, this meant creating a “digital HQ,” and providing employees with a single source of truth and one location to securely collaborate, share documents, unite internal and external teams, and access data. It also provides a space for office chat, collaboration and self-expression — things employees crave when working from home.

Tie company vision and purpose to your people’s strengths

The company vision and purpose should be a common thread running through any recruitment strategy or employee journey you design. To get the best from individuals, however, it’s important to demonstrate how these overarching concepts apply to their specific role — figure out what your employees’ strengths and interests are, and show them how these can contribute to the company’s purpose and customer satisfaction.

It is proven that people respond well to a personal approach, and this is just as true for your employees as it is for your customers.

Everybody contributes to workplace culture

Maintaining a strong, values-driven workplace culture is not simply the responsibility of HR.

While focusing on growth and profit is important, your organisation must also be authentic about its purpose and values. The most successful businesses create an environment where employees enjoy their work, feel a passion and purpose, and know that their well-being is considered and that their company invests in its teams, whether through technology or training.

“While CX mapping is common practice, many organisations don’t apply the same principles to nurturing ongoing relationships with their employees.”

At Salesforce, we live our values and bring our teams into expanding our purpose beyond profit with our 1:1:1 pledge — we direct 1% of our profits, products and time to giving back.

This means we contribute money, and provide our products to not-for-profits. But it also means that Salesforce employees can do their bit for their communities. In Australia, our employees have volunteered more than 229,000 hours of their time (42,000 of those hours in 2020 alone!), donated over $4.1M USD in grants, and supported over 2,000 nonprofit organisations across Australia to make a real, measurable difference in their communities. 

Of course contributing to a purpose for the company and community makes us feel great about what we do, but it also makes us better at our work and builds more cohesive teams.

Establishing organisational culture on an international scale during times of high growth and digital transformation can often be difficult, as there are many other high-priority projects, but don’t be afraid to use technology to help bridge the gap. Where possible, try to create a workplace environment where everyone contributes to and maintains the culture.

Finally, communicate and be transparent with your employees, ask for their opinion and let them test new products, and contribute to improving internal processes and culture. Regular surveys and tech-driven feedback apps can help make this easier for your people and for the business, driving a positive employee experience all round.  

Creating a psychologically safe environment where employees feel that their feedback is valued can help to drive real innovation in the business.

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Salesforce Staff

The 360 Blog from Salesforce teaches readers how to improve work outcomes and professional relationships. Our content explores the mindset shifts, organizational hurdles, and people behind business evolution. We also cover the tactics, ethics, products, and thought leadership that make growth a meaningful and positive experience.

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