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Companies often like to say that the customer comes first. They care about the needs of their customers and clients, working to provide products and services that fit their needs. Companies talk about the actions they take, or how they’re innovating and building creative solutions.
But who’s the “they”? Who’s actually doing the work to put customers first? It’s the employees.
For that reason, customers might come first, but employees have to come more first.
Annette Franz joined us on episode 2 of the BOOST! podcast and had so many truth bombs that (once I got over the jitters of meeting Annette) I just had to take a moment to reflect on them and share what I took from the such a customer and employee experience expert. Not only is Annette a CX/EX legend, she is also a coach and author, working 30+ years learning and educating companies on the customer experience. Her recent book, Built To Win, dives into the customer experience success framework, and how it starts with the employee experience.
Employee Experience’s Place.
For employee experience (EX) to take centre stage and become more first, we need to understand exactly what it is. Annette believes that EX is simple: it’s caring for your employees.
Caring for employees involves listening to them, hearing their feedback, and implementing changes as a response. It’s about making each employee feel valued and giving them tools and resources to do their best job.
Good EX leads to two outcomes: Employee engagement and employee satisfaction. And if you can build a team of highly engaged, happy employees, you know they’re going to do good work and provide excellent customer experience (CX).
How to Build a Customer-Centric Company with Good EX
CX is directly tied to EX. Why? Because it’s employees who do the work. They listen to customers, help meet their needs, and provide services. Without employees, there can be no CX.
Annette talked about three principles to build a customer-centric company:
- Culture is the foundation of the company.
- Leadership is committed to creating this culture.
- Employees come first.
The sum of these principles is to focus on people first. People need to be placed before products, profits, or metrics—it’s all about people, both customers and employees.
Employees are the ones who talk to customers on the phone, make sales, troubleshoot problems, and everything else that provides a strong customer experience. It follows, then, that you want employees to be highly engaged and interested in their work, motivated to do their best and work hard for the company. CX requires EX.
Metrics and Actions: Tracking EX
So, now what? How can companies start tracking their EX to improve it? Annette walked us through a few metrics companies can use to measure employee experience:
- Engagement, satisfaction, and happiness: Do employees like their work?
- Retention and turnover: Focus both on company-wide data and specific department or manager-level numbers.
- Learning, development, and promotion: Are there opportunities for growth in the company?
Collecting data in some of these areas will help leaders understand what needs to be addressed. From there, they need to act and make changes. Here are two ways to start:
- Listen and learn: All leaders, managers, or supervisors need to actively talk to employees and get to know them as individuals. Employees should know they are seen, heard, and listened to.
- Focus on first impressions: Employee experience starts at the application phase. Leaders need to be aware of those first interactions with an employee, as it sets the tone moving forward. From there, orientation and onboarding also matter to build strong employee experiences.
This is just the tip of the iceberg to build strong employee experiences. The key takeaway here is that good customer experience can simply not exist without good employee experience. For that reason, employees need to come more first.
Annette has more insights and information available over on her website—check it out to learn about all-things CX and EX. You can also connect directly with her on LinkedIn! And if you’re interested in keeping up with us here at Centrical, check out the rest of our episodes of the BOOST! podcast.