“How you treat your team members guides how they treat your customers,” said Chris Silcock, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Hilton.
This is a simple message I’ve given critical thought to, especially after a Forbes Insights report, The Experience Equation: How Happy Employees and Customers Accelerate Growth, identified a correlation between employee experience (EX), customer experience (CX), and growth. The study found that companies that were hyperfocused on enhancing their employee engagement ultimately had higher customer engagement levels and amassed 1.8 times more revenue growth (nearly double) than organizations that solely focused on customers. Conversely, the respondents indicated that just focusing on customers did not correlate to higher EX or revenue.
Companies that were hyperfocused on enhancing their employee engagement ultimately had higher customer engagement levels and amassed 1.8 times more revenue growth (nearly double) than organizations that solely focused on customers.Forbes Insights report, The Experience Equation: How Happy Employees and Customers Accelerate Growth
“At Hilton, we know that how we treat our team members affects how they treat our guests — which is why we are so proud to have been named one of the #1 Best Companies to Work For in the U.S. by Fortune Magazine the past two years,” said Silcock in a recent conversation.
“We serve our people the way we want them serving our guests, and it pays dividends. We prioritize a healthy work/life balance and the idea of bringing your whole self to work. Hospitality is more than just a job. It’s a calling, and our team members embrace that.”
Founded more than a century ago, Hilton believes that hospitality can make the world a better place, and it actively measures its impact. The company’s data and analytics team drives commercial performance and decision-making. Integrating EX with CX allows the executive team to see interactions as they happen, enabling real-time responses.
We serve our people the way we want them serving our guests, and it pays dividends. We prioritize a healthy work/life balance and the idea of bringing your whole self to work.Chris Silcock, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Hilton
Silcock’s insights span across a 20-year career with Hilton. He started as a banquet waiter, and now leads the company’s global sales modernization process, technology renovation, and other regional revenue and project roles. Most recently, Silcock and his team focused on integrating advanced analytics to enable real-time decision making in managing Hilton’s revenue. Throughout each role, Silcock has maintained a vision for instilling a culture of “people serving people,” which has led to substantial rewards.
And Hilton is not alone. Forbes’ research found that 89% of executives at companies that consider themselves revenue-growth leaders agree that better EX leads directly to better CX. Hilton maintains its employee and customer success — including global recognition as a great place to work — by keeping a pulse on culture, developing cross-functional teams, and investing in integrated technology that creates a shared view of the customer. The research study paired with Silcock’s insights paint a picture of how employee and customer experiences can help drive sales revenue — and suggest how companies can design effective EX- and CX-centered growth strategies.
89% of executives at companies that consider themselves revenue-growth leaders agree that better employee experience (EX) leads directly to better customer experience (CX).Forbes Insights report, The Experience Equation: How Happy Employees and Customers Accelerate Growth
Here are a few bits of advice based on Hilton’s experience:
Lead with values, especially during cultural shifts
Alignment proved to be the biggest obstacle between CX and EX executives in our research. At the highest decision-making level, 41% of CX leaders cited a lack of shared vision, while 43% of EX leaders cited employee resistance to cultural change. But, Hilton’s values-first approach seems to drive the persistence needed to unite teams.
“Hilton has always been and always will be a business of people serving people, and it is their inspiring commitment to hospitality that keeps me motivated and energized,” Silcock explained. “That, coupled with the ability to witness the growth and impressive careers of individual team members, are what drives me forward.”
“We are now able to look across the entire customer journey to personalize the experience for our guests,” said Silcock. “Building the foundation to do that was our challenge. We knew that by doing this, we’d be better able to understand our guests’ preferences, and as a result, our team members would be better able to serve them.”
Some of Hilton’s personalized experiences guests have come to enjoy are only possible with a single shared view of every customer. For example, if historical data shows a guest has requested a specific beverage type in their room during their past few stays, team members can simply have that beverage ready in their room next time.
In addition to improved guest experiences, technology also allows leadership to track the company’s environmental and social impact . LightStay, Hilton’s proprietary software, tracks every single hotels’ carbon, energy, water and waste, and community involvement. This development saved $1 billion in energy costs over the last decade.
Retain employees for better revenue growth
Preventing burnout and staff turnover plays a critical role in improving customer experiences, which can have an impact on revenue. Hilton prioritizes a culture of respect, inclusion, and hospitality. As Silcock put it, “When our team has experienced Hilton hospitality firsthand, they can represent it more genuinely to our customers.”
To deliver that Hilton hospitality to employees, leadership offers employees similar experiences as the guests they welcome. Team members have access to Go Hilton, a discount travel program for themselves, friends, and family. Team members have enjoyed nearly 15 million discounted hotel stays.
Research has shown that the fastest way to get customers to love your brand is to get employees to love their jobs. Hilton has shown that with your team members truly engaged, and with investment in integrated technology that unites your company and customers, you’ll see less staff turnover, happier customers, and the path toward long-term and sustainable revenue growth.