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“The Experience Equation”: 4 Major Takeaways for Business Owners

"The Experience Equation": 4 Major Takeaways for Business Owners

By connecting employee experience (EX) with customer experience (CX), Canadian businesses can avoid setbacks and achieve some of their more ambitious goals.

Until the term “employee engagement” became popular, most of us probably equated the idea of being engaged with matrimony – and it’s not necessarily a bad way for business leaders to think about the responsibility they carry.

When people get engaged to marry, they’re making an important commitment. The idea is that, long after a wedding has taken place, they’ll continue to keep the promises they made no matter what challenges emerge.

There’s no diamond ring to symbolize employee engagement, of course, but their sense of commitment has a similarly transformative effect.

Engaged employees are the ones who show up, whether in the office or elsewhere, ready to do their best work.

Business efficiencies, team collaboration and increased productivity are all common outcomes of employee engagement.

The most engaged employees also tend to be eager to receive feedback, and to act in it in ways that improve their performance.

Here’s where employee engagement is sometimes misunderstood, however: it’s not just their engagement with the company that matters. It’s how engaged they are with the needs of customers that leads to company growth.

As Salesforce found in a 2020 report called The Experience Equation, there is a deep and vital connection between the quality of an employee experience (EX) and the customer experience (CX) that follows. This in turn has bottom-line implications. In fact, the research revealed that a company can increase revenue growth by up to 50% or more by focusing on EX.

Earlier this year, Salesforce expanded upon data from the original report to include responses from around the world. The Experience Advantage: Transforming Customer and Employee Experience for the Future of Work offers core pillars for an action plan that business leaders in Canada and beyond can apply to overcome the economic and other headwinds that may now be in their way.

These pillars include:

1. Align Your Company With Strong Leadership And Vision

Just as great CX comes from employees that deliver essential elements of an experience, great EX doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It requires having people who are focused on what an engaged workforce looks like and making sure that image is brought to life.

It’s surprising, therefore, that close to three-quarters (74%) of those surveyed say that no one in their company truly owns the employee experience.

Part of the problem may be a clack of clarity around what “ownership” means. While the CEO or business owner may make final decisions about employee policies, the experience goes beyond that. It’s creating and reinforcing practices whereby employers actively listen to the needs of their people and empower them with the right resources.

Your employee experience leaders aren’t working solo, however. Make sure the vision for combined EX and CX is clearly communicated across the org chart and business units. That 50% revenue increase mentioned earlier largely came from breaking up silos that often creep up within businesses.

2. Align Your Operations And IT Strategy To Focus On CX

Think of a sales team that has its own, possibly inefficient way to capture and manage leads. Imagine what that means to those in marketing who are also trying to find them leads with strong purchase intent. Now throw in a customer service team where the initial pain points of those leads is never passed on. It’s not hard to see how this can lead to poor EX and CX across the board.

The Experience Advantage report built upon the original Experience Equation by noting a disconnect between the C-Suite and staff that points to a solution. For example, 52% of executives said they believe their corporate technology is working effectively. Only 32% of employees said the same thing.

Best-in-class CX means always being on the lookout for friction that gets in the way of customers doing what they want, whether it’s browsing online, making a purchase or getting troubleshooting assistance. Employees need a frictionless experience too, so consider how collaboration tools like Slack and cloud-based platforms like Customer 360 could streamline operations both externally and behind the scenes.

3. Incentivize Cross-Functional Teams To Enhance Both CX And EX

An engaged employee doesn’t see an impediment to a great customer experience and dismiss it as being somehow above their pay grade. They don’t look at their colleagues in other departments struggling and ignore them, either.

Along with trust, C-suite accountability, alignment and seamless technology, the research found recognition is a core EX element. There are all kinds of ways that efforts to improve EX and CX could be recognized:

· Reward proactive efforts to enhance experiences by offering employee development opportunities like attending Dreamforce virtually or taking courses on Trailhead.

· Offer opportunities for strong employees to join CX and EX advisory boards and special projects

· Share stories of outstanding employee contributions via Slack or in meetings.

4. Invest In Technologies To Measure EX And CX

The most successful companies get better and better by ensuring they can track critical metrics at scale. This could include applications that monitor customer sentiment on social media, as well as platforms that gather data on customer satisfaction or surveys that calculate a firm’s Net Promoter Score.

There are similar tools that can take the pulse of how committed employees feel to the company’s mission, the needs of customers and even their emotional well-being. Unfortunately, though, the 2022 report found 73% of C-suite executives say they do not know how to use their company’s employee data to drive change.

This could really be as simple as using visualization technologies to present high-level findings back to employees and ask how the company could enrich their experiences. They could brainstorm solutions to common customer problems, which could drive camaraderie at the same time. Technologies like artificial intelligence can also play a strong role by synthesizing data and finding trends and patterns that point to the next best actions.

By creating a stronger link between EX and CX, Canadian businesses put themselves in a better position to avoid setbacks and achieve some of their more ambitious goals. It’s an equation that companies of any size can use to win a competitive advantage.

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