Aligning customer experience and employee experience might seem like a daunting task, but it can be made a lot easier by keeping this to one word, ‘people.’
When organisations realise that in fact their number one customers are their employees, it breaks down a divide between the two, and brackets them all under one word, again ‘people’.
And now we are dealing with only one word, and one group, it becomes easier to apply existing customer experience strategies to your employee experience.
After all, if a company attends to its employee experience with the same level of dedication that it does to its customer experience, the results can be seen across the board. Employees are more satisfied, companies enjoy higher employee retention, and customers get better service.
The alignment process should be about creating the same impression and experiences across customer and employee journeys, and it should be all about your brand.
So how should a company go about aligning its customer, employee and brand experience to create a plan for all its people?
“Your number one customers are your people. Look after employees first and then customers last.” Ian Hutchinson
- Brand across the board
Your brand incorporates your vison, values and personality and must start with the people at the top. The way a company treat its employees will align with how employees will treat customers.
Senior managers must communicate and reinforce the company values. They should encourage colleagues to observe and challenge the organisation through the customers’ eyes and model this same behaviour in their own decision making.
- Recruit and train based on brand behaviours and values
Treat your employees as your brand. It’s better to recruit people based on the behaviours and values of your organisation than focusing on their existing skills. After all you can teach them the skills they need and keep them engaged with branded and innovative training that allows them to turn the company brand values into competitive advantage.
Branded experiences require branded training. Employees need to feel part of the values and vision so that they can ‘get’ the company themselves, not just what they are told to believe. This ethos will translate to the customer experience.
- Get your employees to experience the brand first-hand
Your employees and customers should get the same experience from your business. If you want to sell a speedy, technology-driven product, make your employee experience, from recruitment to the workplace environment through to performance reviews, fast and cutting edge.
This creates a mirroring experience between customer experience and employee experience as employees witness the benefits of the brand first-hand and are better equipped and motivated to reinforce and interpret them with customers. It also helps to cultivate a distinctive culture in the company, which in turns helps attract and retain employees who fit with the culture and will thrive in it.
- Create a people-centric journey map
Every person involved with your organisation is on a journey with your brand. Remember that both a customer and employee journey starts with the first interaction they have with your company. This could be from seeing a job advertised to viewing your website. So it is essential that you have consistent branding across both journeys.
But a customer or employee journey isn’t linear and there might be points when, they get lost or lose interest in the company. It’s important to monitor and map the people connected to your business so that you can pinpoint changes required in operations, policies, procedures and programs to provide a seamless, engaging, and valuable experience for customers and employees.
- Create a culture of brand freedom
The external customer has a voice, while your employee might feel restricted by traditional business hierarchy or restrictive working practises. Break out of this mould where possible to give your employees a change to offer feedback and ideas to improve your organisation. For example Umpqua Bank has a daily ‘motivational moments’ session where everyone gathers to have a lively debate or play games that are in some way related to their purpose.
- Never forget the most powerful P-word
Many organisations are more comfortable with Product, Price, Place and Promotion, but it is the People who hold the power.
The best customer experiences bring the company’s brand values to life. When you include employees as customers under the term ‘people’, it’s easy to see why a recent Temkin Group report showed a direct correlation between a good employee experience and a customer experience. They are the same experience, and so they should be strategised as such.