Who should own the customer experience? Some say it’s the CIO. Some say it’s the CMO and the marketing department. Not very many have said it’s customer service, although that seems like a reasonable claim, too.
But for a customer experience initiative to work, every department and every employee should be given ownership. Because if every employee isn’t both involved and engaged, then it’s almost a certainty that customers won’t be either as they connect across channels, departments and people.
Do Employees Really Care About the Customer Experience?
You might be surprised to learn that the answer to the question above is increasingly yes. In a new Deloitte survey of more than 7,000 millennials from around the globe, 87% said they believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance,” and that includes a focus on the customers.
When listing the values they believe accompany long-term success, these 7000+ millennials (whose generation will make up a third of the global workforce by 2020 and as much as 75% of the U.S. workforce by 2025) listed employee satisfaction, ethics and integrity, and customer focus and care as their top three. They care about the customer experience (both inside and out).
Engaged Employees + Engaged Customers = Impressive Outcomes
This combination is currently what’s keeping customer experience leaders in a class by themselves. When it does happen, however, the results are magical. According to Gallup through research involving 10 million employees and 10 million customers, “when organizations successfully engage their customers and their employees, they experience a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes compared to an organization with neither engaged employees nor engaged customers.”
Gallup notes that the moment an engaged employee who knows, believes in and exemplifies their company’s brand promise connects emotionally with a customer, “it’s a source of untapped power that has profound implications for a company’s productivity and profitability.”
But most employees don’t feel engaged. According to Gallup, only 29% of millennial workers are engaged in their jobs, and in turn, 25% are fully engaged customers. Another new Gallup report shows just 29% of full-time U.S. state and local government employees are engaged at their work, costing state and local governments an estimated $100 billion and lowering state and local government’s customer experience scores.
3 Ways to Create a Better Customer Experience
How do you get more employees engaged to deliver the customer experience your organization not only desires but requires to attract, satisfy and retain your customers (and employees)?
- Empower employees with a sense of belonging. Break down departmental silos and invest in tools to increase collaboration and communication to define, drive and improve culture and the customer experience both internally and externally.
- Empower employees with a sense of ownership. Give employees the opportunity to represent the brand in customer-facing or employee-facing communities, for example. Collect and share customer and employee feedback across the organization and empower employees with the ability to take action on behalf of the brand to improve the customer experience (think Ritz-Carlton).
- Empower employees with the tools and resources needed to consistently deliver on the customer experience. From analytics, to customer insights from across departments, to the democratization of consistent product, service and customer service knowledge, give every employee everything they need to be engaged and engage customers.
Getting everyone onboard to create a consistent and consistently satisfying customer experience takes people, processes and technology all working together, and the road to success may be long.
While the CMO might be good at helping define the customer experience, and the CIO might be good at putting processes or technology in place to help deliver on it, customer experience can’t be sown, grown or succeed from a silo. Marketing needs every department to embrace and deliver the customer experience messaging it creates. IT needs every employee to embrace and adopt the technology that will drive the digital transformation the customer expects. Every department needs customer service and sales to share what the customer really thinks, wants and what frustrates them so they don’t create the wrong customer experience.
Every employee should have a stake in owning the customer experience as close to the start of an initiative as possible. Once the customer experience motor has been started, the key is to make sure that no one feels left out or left behind and disengages, puts their foot on the brake or heads in a different direction.
When everyone’s onboard and engaged with the customer experience, there’s a far greater chance that your customers will be, too.