In today’s rapidly evolving, competitive retail market, retailers often overlook the importance that employee satisfaction has on customer experience (CX) and organisational success. Enhanced productivity, high quality of work and customer responsiveness are all products of high employee satisfaction. As employee experience (EX) is a pre-requisite of employee satisfaction, a causal relationship can be defined between EX and CX. Since it’s almost impossible to uphold customer loyalty and regular purchasing behaviour without first obtaining employee loyalty, businesses should place greater emphasis on driving this connection.
In this article, we discuss the employee-driven strategies and benefits that businesses should implement to increase both employee and customer loyalty.
USE EX TO BENEFIT YOUR COMPANY
Strategically investing time and money into EX positively correlates with how employees treat and engage with their customers. Human resource departments who continuously seek to make improvements and provide additional benefits for their workforce are likely to contribute to this causal effect. Organisations should invest in a tailored approach based on their size and type, with a key focus on building one-to-one relationships with employees and ensuring professional development opportunities. These actions and benefits are critical if organisations are to move the needle from customer acquisition to customer retention and lifetime value. It doesn’t matter what the business sells; any business with truly satisfied employees can turn their customers into fans.
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS CONTRIBUTE TO BETTER CX
Both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are considered predeterminants of employee satisfaction and ultimately CX.1 Implementing a reward system based on personal performance is likely to increase employee motivation, productivity and customer service. For example, hotel group The Hyatt introduced the housekeeping flexitime programme, allowing housekeepers to leave early or clean additional rooms for bonuses if they finish ahead of time.2 This initiative provides the employee with both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, which is likely to result in better performance.
Despite these opportunities, we found that less than half (46%) of businesses have incentivisation structures based on performance against customer outcomes. This presents an opportunity for businesses to implement benefit schemes to improve CX.3 For example, employees working in customer-facing roles are likely to be more inclined to develop the prerequisite knowledge about products and services if they are rewarded in return.
Offering employees ongoing training and professional development opportunities is key to increasing employee empowerment, confidence and satisfaction. This is because knowledge cements confidence when selling a product and dealing with customer complaints. If employees cannot solve their customers’ problems, brand perceptions will be negatively affected. Knowledgeable staff are the most important element of good service and often result in customer resonance.3 Poorly trained staff, on the other hand, are one of the top three causes of consumer annoyance – 89% of customers become frustrated when sales staff do not know the answer to their questions, which can result in the customer leaving.4
MEASURING AND IMPLEMENTING WHAT REALLY MATTERS
For the relationship between EX and CX to drive business success, leaders must consider the viewpoints of both employees and customers when it comes to complaints, customer service and sales.5 This will help to identify gaps in stakeholder opinions and ultimately allow the organisation to discover what employee benefits and ways of working need to be introduced to improve CX. For example, our research on customer-centricity found discrepancies in opinion between the C-suite and customers. While the C-suite feel customers expect the provision of goods, seamless customer experience and product innovation, what customers actually want are quality of goods and services, good value and seamless customer experience.3 Organisations therefore need to equip their employees with extensive knowledge to enable them to inform customers of product/service quality and value for money when shopping.
Moreover, employee involvement in driving better CX is likely to improve employee commitment, engagement, attrition rates and overall business success. For example, investing an additional 10% in employee engagement can yield a minimum of around £2000 per employee in increased profit.6
BARRIERS IN DRIVING IMPROVED EX AND CX
Organisations often struggle to translate their raw consumer data into valuable insight – 71% of businesses do not factor in customer insights or feedback when making decisions. Our customer-centricity report reveals that organisations don’t do this because either they simply haven’t been successful in the past or because they don’t know how.3
USING CUSTOMER DATA TO DRIVE DECISION-MAKING
To truly succeed in the competitive world of retail, organisations must think outside the box and create an employee experience away from the status quo. Achieving business growth is far more complex than just focusing on creating a seamless customer experience. A positive, continuous change in employee satisfaction truly results in company success.7 If an organisation can create a positive employee and customer experience alongside quality products and services, success will be inevitable.