by Colin Shaw, Beyond Philosophy
Employee Experience and Customer Experience are linked. What is affecting one will affect the other. They are like an old married couple—when it works it is beautiful and inspiring; when it doesn’t, it is ugly and bewildering.
Both members of this marriage have a voice. The Voice of the Customer (VOC) refers to the feedback you get regarding a Customer’s expectations and their experience with your organization. The Voice of the Employee (VOE) refers to how employees participate in the decisions at your organization. If you employ an effective listening program to each, the voices will tell you exactly how one affects the other.
In the past couple of years, more organizations have been listening to their Customers. More have realized that the best way to decide what to do to make a Customer’s Experience better is to figure out what your Customers expect, what they appreciate, and what they want to avoid.
These same organizations would be wise to listen to their employees as well. Too many ignore their own employees’ opinions. The VOE is just as pertinent as the VOC, and for organizations wishing to improve their Customer Experience, an invaluable asset for specific action to take.
Who better to tell you ways to improve the various moments of your current Experience then the people who have those moments with Customers every day? You may not like what they say but invariably they know the problems you are causing Customers and also know how to fix it. Who better to see the problems and pitfalls in your process creating negative emotions for the Customers than the people who walk that process day in and day out?
And guess what? By listening to them and acting, you improve employee engagement and what the VOE is saying.
Engaged employees believe they contribute to the company’s success. They also believe in the company’s brand promise and will see to it that they go above and beyond in their efforts to ensure this promise is fulfilled. Engagement at an employee level is critical to creating a good Customer Experience.
Employees are uniquely qualified to tell you ways to improve the Customer Experience. When we undertake our Journey Mapping, we always involve front-line employees. They know what is happening and the issues that result as they speak with Customers everyday. Making their voice part of your strategic planning encourages them to take ownership of their work. During what can be a painful Customer Experience implementation process, it encourages them to meet the challenges change can present, however difficult, because they helped design it.
We can see what happens when employees’ voices are ignored. Last summer, Wal-Mart employees were striking all across the nation demanding better pay and benefits, more full-time employment opportunities, and a safe environment in which to voice their complaints to management. I’m sure many of you would agree that the experience in Wal-Mart as a Customer isn’t a shining example of what’s possible in Customer Experience today, either.
We can also see what happens when employee’s voices are valued, rewarded, and empowered. Consider the employee environment at Google. Google is routinely on the top of “Best Places to Work” lists. In fact just look at the organizations in these surveys and you’ll see they all provide a good employee experience and Customer Experience. They connect it there for all to see.
It’s great that more companies are listening to the VOC. Be sure to also listen to the VOE. As you can see, they two are inextricably linked–and equally important to creating an excellent Customer Experience.