In the fast-paced world of business, the start of a new calendar year presents a great opportunity to look in the rear-view mirror and then shift into higher gear. 2023 was characterised by shifting economic landscapes, tightening regulations, fast-changing consumer preferences and pressure to adapt to innovations such as generative AI.

The power of customer experiences (CX) is clear for both customer loyalty and the bottom line. KPMG, which ranks UK brands in its annual Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) reports, has found that CEE top 100 brands achieved double the revenue growth of the FTSE 100 in 2022 – an average of 11 percent versus 5.5 percent. CX leaders were also able to reduce costs by up to 25 percent.

If 2023 was the year when CX became a competitive differentiator for businesses, then 2024 must be the time they embrace the whole spectrum of experiences. When they look closer to home, they will find plenty of untapped potential in their most valued resources: their people. In the year ahead, the convergence between employee and customer experiences will act as jet fuel for business growth.

Employee experience is no island

Organisations have known for some time just how much their employee’s experience matters. ‘Inspired’ employees, who feel personally aligned with the values of their organisation are 125 percent more productive than their less inspired colleagues. Since the latter represent the majority of the workforce, organisations need to champion their brand ambassadors while increasing the overall satisfaction of their teams.

However, employee engagement initiatives cannot be successful in isolation. The reason, of course, is that employee and customer experiences are inherently linked. For example, McKinsey has found that companies that effectively organise and manage customer experience can realise a 20 percent improvement in customer satisfaction as well as a 30 percent increase in employee engagement.

Improvements in customer satisfaction seem to spill into employee experience (EX), and more engaged employees seem to drive better CX outcomes. Coincidence? Not, according to PTSB, the oldest and one of the largest banks in the Republic of Ireland, which has recently put theory into practice.

Case study: PTSB demonstrates the impact of empowered employees

Retail bank PTSB serves more than 1.2 million customers in the Republic of Ireland with over 3,000 employees. The bank is constantly striving to improve its customers’ financial wellbeing, attract and retain talent, and enhance the bank’s trustworthiness with all stakeholders. 

PTSB embarked on its CX journey first and – convinced by the success of the programme – later decided to implement a more robust EX programme too. 

More frequent and effective surveys, along with sophisticated measurement and management tools helped PTSB develop a roadmap for continuous improvement. ‘Experience’ became the operative word and organising force for the bank’s future growth. Even when viewed separately, the CX and EX programmes delivered impressive results:

  1. Improved ability to understand customer sentiment, identify pain points in customer feedback, and prioritise improvements to remove friction and increase satisfaction.
  2. Removed data silos and united the organisation around data insight, using new CX dashboards – accessible for customer-facing teams and senior leaders alike.
  3. Increased employee Net Promoter Score by 19 points between 2020 and 2022. At the same time, culture went up by eight, engagement by seven and trust by 10 points.
  4. Drove actionable change from employee feedback – enacting more than 1,000 positive changes – all of which have contributed to the bank’s strategic priorities and mission.

Crucially, however, PTSB did not stop here. It was able to conduct linkage analysis and uncover a strong connection between engaged employees and customer satisfaction. Notably, it showed a 30-point difference in customer Net Promoter Score between branches with lower employee engagement and higher employee engagement. It demonstrated that happy employees do deliver better customer outcomes.

How to get employee experience right in 2024

PTSB’s example shows that, when done well, employee experience data creates a ‘fountain of youth’. It’s a source of vital business insight that helps organisations stay agile and in touch with customer preferences and expectations, while empowering front-line teams to drive positive change. There are many ways companies can turn EX into the fuel for better CX in 2024:

  1. Embed always-on feedback tools such as pulse surveys throughout the employee journey – from the employee portals and intranets to mobile apps – to capture real-time signals beyond just surveys.
  2. Use a mixture of feedback formats such as voice, audio and video to make it easier for employees to share feedback on their terms.
  3. Leverage AI to uncover insights in structured and unstructured data sets in real time, as well as to suggest immediate actions that remove friction and motivate employees to perform at their best.
  4. Automate two-way communication with employees to share important messages directly to mobile devices, for example, to help new team members acclimatise to company policies, workflows and culture.
  5. Crowdsource innovative solutions in the form of idea exchange. Employees not only have their own daily experiences to go by, but are also the first point of contact for dissatisfied customers, making their wealth of knowledge invaluable.

Retain employees and win customers over again and again

Positive employee experiences have a compounding effect. By paying closer attention to employees’ efforts, insights and attitudes, organisations can develop a deeper understanding of themselves both from an internal and an external perspective. Rather than rely on guesswork, they can accurately pin-point where barriers to success and untapped potential lie.As customers seek increasingly seamless interactions, personalisation and a genuine connection with their chosen brands, tapping into the power of employee experiences presents a golden opportunity for organisations. There is rich insight to be found at the meeting point of CX and EX. Organisations that prioritise this joint-up approach in 2024 will win their customers over time and time again. 

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