James Matthews, Principal Consultant
8th October 2019
Last year we completed an employee engagement project for global Quick Service Restaurant chain, Pret A Manger. Pret’s brief was complex. They wanted to understand how to attract wider demographics to apply for roles, but also – and arguably more crucially – understand what they should do to engage and motivate their thousands of employees, increase satisfaction and reduce staff turnover.
Although this year has seen Pret struggle alongside other high street stalwarts, its still a company celebrated for its customer service. It understands the direct link between Employee Experience and Customer Experience . If your staff are happy and motivated, and buy into your brand’s ethos, they will naturally deliver a better experience to customers. And as more touch-points between brands and customers are digitised, points of human interaction will become all the more important.
For most organisations employees still represent the front line and are, therefore, the most powerful driver of customer service and experience. So, it’s not a surprise that investing in the employee experience can indirectly generate a high ROI for a company. Studies show engaged employees are 22% more productive and drive 38% higher customer satisfaction than disengaged employees. Ultimately, the result of effective EX initiatives is a better bottom line.
Fashion retailer, Nordstrom empowers its employees by showing them they are trusted and valued. Its employee handbook cites one rule, ‘use best judgement in all situations’. This empowerment translates into a level of customer service competitors are working hard to emulate. Airline Jet Blue gives their employees the freedom to go the extra mile to help customers and ‘do the right thing’. With staff empowered to solve customer problems how they choose to, they often take on these problems as their own. Jet Blue regularly tops customer service polls.
Adobe goes a step further, directly tying employee compensation to CX metrics – ensuring that all employees understand how each department’s role impacts the overall Customer Experience. In fact, in a cultural shift replicated by other global brands, Adobe has recognised the intrinsic link between Customer Experience and Employee Experience by creating a department responsible for both, bringing together customer support and employee support teams.
At Ethology, we reinvent Customer Experiences for brands by helping them to understand the journey a customer takes and pain points or ‘experience gaps’ to resolve or plug. Arguably, if every element of the experience is carefully considered and delivered by employees then the brand will deliver for its customers. But, of course, if every brand followed established CX principles it wouldn’t explain why some brands are celebrated and seemingly turn customers into advocates. What creates an experience customers are willing to go out of their way for – and pay more for – is the human interaction. It’s a differentiator Pret will continue to hone throughout the current pandemic and after it, empowering their employees to build meaningful relationships with, and go the extra mile for, their customers.
The frontline is still where the Customer Experience can be built up or broken down. At a time when we’re all valuing human interaction more than ever before, employees will be the people retaining customer goodwill and driving growth. Organisations that treat their employees like their customers won’t go far wrong when it comes to delivering a world class Customer Experience.
So, where do you start? Here’s three things you can do now to improve your Employee Experience…
1 – Map your employee journey
Always the starting point when we embark on a new client project. Map the employee journey(s) through your organisation and apply the same principles you would for customer journey maps – identifying pain points or areas where there’s a gap between the current experience and desired experience.
2 – Review your employee communications
Employee communications should maintain a meaningful connection with your employees and foster an inclusive and cohesive company culture. Engaged employees have an increased sense of purpose and, over time, are more likely to become advocates of your brand. Studies show they’re also more productive.
3 – Seek employee feedback – and act on it
Regular employee surveying allows you to quickly resolve employee issues. An organisation will only retain the trust of their employees, however, if they actively address these pain points. Employees are more likely to share their true opinions and engage if they’re being listened to.
We help brands across the globe improve their customer experience. Get in touch to speak to one of our consultants.