Customer and Employee Experience? Two Sides of the Same Coin
Every single day, there seems to be an article somewhere in the H.R. blogosphere that refer's to HR's strategic dilemma:
How to get recognition as a valuable contributor to workplace performance without dropping the ball on the various important 'admin' responsibilities that simply need doing.
Up to now, the focus of attention has seemingly been directed towards important topics like Culture, Engagement, Employee Experience and Performance Management (to name just a few). You can breathe a sigh of relief, even though these are important this article is not about to venture down any of these roads.
Instead, I would like to draw attention towards something that is often pushed into the background, yet may well be an opportunity for those willing to consider it properly. What is it? I will answer that question with a question. Why do jobs and employees exist in the first place?
Here's a simple fact. The more customers a Company can attract and retain, the more revenue it generates. Without Customers, a Company either needs cash to burn or some kind of divine miracle to survive. This is the reason why customer-related activities often get the lion's share of any budget allocation. Anyone who contributes to the process of winning and retaining customers also gets the attention of the Top Dog. And the Board. And future Employers!
Everyone's role relates to Customers in some way
Here is something worth remembering - every employee, either directly or indirectly, has an impact on the value and experience that customers receive. Every role in every Company contributes in some way to Customers, otherwise the role wouldn't exist.
This makes every employee an expert in their part of the overall customer-value creation chain.
As an HR Leader, you have access to this untapped and highly valuable resource - the employees themselves. Potentially, you hold the golden ticket that will get you into Willy Wonka's Boardroom wonderland! Why?
Here's the secret that I wanted to share...
Customer Insight processes are incomplete!
That's right. Whilst many companies are already spending a lot of money in the area of customer research and insight in order to improve customer experience (surveys, focus groups, various data sources), there is still a missing link in the process...
What are the simplest things we can improve internally which will help to improve the Customer's Experience?
Customers won't know. They might want faster response times, but they will have no idea what a Company should do to achieve it. Whilst many Marketing leaders have access to loads of information from Customers, they sometimes feel like they don't know which lever to pull in order to boost customer satisfaction and repeat purchase. The more data they collect, the more confusing it sometimes becomes. How do I know? I am originally from the world of market and customer research.
This presents an amazing opportunity for the savvy H.R. Leader. Rather than conducting yet another employee survey to measure engagement/culture/employee experience, view the employee population as a bustling and untapped customer experience super-city just waiting to be explored.
Your objective, if you choose to accept it, is to fill in the blanks that existing customer insight methods simply can't get to - and serve this information up on a platter to the Senior Leadership Team. Remember...
- Every employee will have a view on how they can improve their part of the puzzle.
- Many employees will have a view on whether there are any problems or blocks in their part of the value-chain.
- Every employee will have a view on how committed their team is to making decisions based on resulting customer experiences.
No matter how far removed someone is from actually speaking directly with customers, EVERYONE contributes to the creation of value FOR customers.
Here's how HR Professionals can contribute...
Customer experience and employee experience are a chicken and egg phenomenon - which comes first can be debated for the rest of time. The fact is, they co-exist and influence each other constantly, and deserve attention at the same time.
Therefore the opportunity is to help facilitate the betterment of the organisation from the inside to out. If this sounds interesting to you, get in touch to learn more about how to improve customer experience from inside-to-out.
And if you are tired of spending too much time with spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations at the conclusion of employee surveys, check out Employee Life.
About the author:
Jason Buchanan is the general manager for insights and innovation of Optimum Consulting Group, a trusted and leading HR consultancy firm in Australia. He is the brain behind Optimum Direct, a web portal of the best HR tools and software for small business. He is interested in finding solutions on how companies can continue to grow without destroying the things that are important to them (employees, customers, suppliers, reputation etc).