Many businesses talk about the importance of customer experience (CX), but few realise that the real secret to keeping customers happy is to start with ensuring that your employees have a good experience.
Improving CX actually starts with good EX. A strategic approach to EX is key – one that breaks down barriers between an organisation, its employees and its customers.
We like to think that we have a strong focus on EX – have we mentioned Salesforce is #1 Best Workplace in Australia this year? We value EX so highly because our people shape the experience of our customers, because our top focus is customer success — covering EX is one part of having CX covered too.
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 that can make an active contribution to the organisation’s overall vision and purpose will often be more invested in providing exceptional service for your customers.
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 in to 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 relationships with their employees. With careful consideration, businesses can develop a strategic employee journey from attraction to advocacy.
Typical stages of an employee journey may include:
- Attracting the best talent – building a strong employer brand through social media, awards and reviews.
- Working to recruit the right talent through an efficient and effective candidate experience.
- Setting employees up for success – when we make a hire, our onboarding processes help new employees adopt our culture and ways of working so they feel like a local fast.
- Creating a purpose – by creating a strong sense of purpose we engage our employees and set them up for success on an ongoing basis so they have a great experience with us.
- Creating advocates – 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. According to our State of the Connected Customer report, 61% of customers say a commitment to their success or satisfaction strengthens their loyalty. So, live by the same mantra when it comes to your employees.
A strong recruitment strategy should feed in to your employee 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.
Tie 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 highlight 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. In fact, according to the State of the Connected Customer report, 85% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business.
Everybody contributes to culture
Maintaining a strong, values-driven 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.
Here 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% or our profits, products and time to giving back.
This means we contribute money, and provide our products to non-profits. But it also means that Salesforce employees get out in the community and spend at least 56 hours each year contributing to causes that they and Salesforce believe in: building houses in Cambodia, rebuilding Himalayan communities destroyed by earthquake, working alongside locals in a Sri Lankan turtle sanctuary and more, including many examples closer to home.
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.
“When I’m on top of a mountain, leading 10 people who may never have met each other before, in a country they’ve never been to before in some pretty interesting conditions, my leadership skills need to be put into action,” our Regional Vice President, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Asia Jess O’Reilly explained in a recent article. “And by the end of the week, for us to have built the foundations of a house – that’s incredible teamwork.”
Establishing organisational culture on an international scale during times of high growth and 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 an 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, as well as contribute to improving internal processes and culture. Regular surveys and tech-driven feedback apps can help make this easier for your people as well as for the business, and drive a positive 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.