Customer experience and the importance of employee engagement

Few organisations fully appreciate the negative and positive impacts their employees can have on the experience received by their customers.

While it’s internationally recognised that companies delivering great customer experiences are more financially successful and have higher levels of customer loyalty than those that don’t; many fail to fully engage their teams when considering customer experience.

An engaged employee is more likely to stay and complete a task to deliver a great customer experience, is more likely to recommend your company to others and more likely to suggest improvements than one that isn’t engaged.

Ensuring that you have a comprehensive employee engagement plan as part of your customer experience (CX) framework is essential.

How do your people know when they are delivering the experience you want customers to have? What support do you offer to ensure everyone, at all levels of the organisation, understands the customer?Jane Treadwell-Hoye, epifani

It cannot sit outside the CX framework as an ad hoc afterthought. An integrated, end to end approach is necessary as is understanding the employee journey. Everyone in your organisation, at all levels from the Board and C-suite to those in the most junior positions, needs to know:

·Who are your target customers and what does their whole of life ecosystem look like?

·What is the end-to-end customer experience you are wanting to give your customers?

·What their individual role is in delivering that experience?

·How can they provide feedback and ideas that will provide insights into the continuous improvement cycle or innovations project?

Richard Branson strongly believes that the success of Virgin Atlantic is down to their employees living and breathing the customer experience.

Bruce Temkin, Temkin Group and co-founder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), frequently states that customer experience design starts with your people – after all they are the ones who deliver the experience you want your customers to have.

Customer-centricity means just that – putting the customer at the centre – and it starts with the way you hire your people. Seeking to appoint people with a customer-centric mindset is an imperative.

Skills can be taught but attitudes and behaviours come from within – people who are passionate to deliver great customer experiences will go the extra mile, they will ensure they follow through – if they say they will call a customer back, they do.

They are naturally curious and always looking at ways to improve the experiences a customer has. They are assets to be nurtured. They demonstrate strong company loyalty and are passionate about working for you and your brand.

Having a clearly articulated strategic vision around customer and what you want to do for your customers is equally important. Core values that support the strategy and the behaviours you want to see are critical as are clear and transparent capability statements and measure of success.

How do your people know when they are delivering the experience you want customers to have? What support do you offer to ensure everyone, at all levels of the organisation, understands the customer?

Great organisations are made by great people empowered to make decisions that enhance your customers’ experience of your organisation and equipped with the best tools to do their job. One of those tools is knowing and understanding your customers and why they choose to do business with you.

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Jane Treadwell-Hoye is managing director of epifani.

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