Get your employee experience right and the customer experience will follow

By Ramanan Ramakrishna, - Employee experienceFuture WorkplaceInsight

Customer expectations have shifted dramatically in the last few years as disruptors across countless industries have focused on scaling new heights in terms of customer experience (CX).

It’s widely accepted that it’s vital to offer excellent CX if you expect to stand out from the competition.

More than two-thirds of marketers responsible say their companies compete mostly on the basis of CX, according to a Gartner survey, and that’s expected to rise to 81 percent within two years. CX will surpass price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020, according to a Walker study.

Organizations are fast-becoming more customer-centric, but sometimes the drive to laser focus on the CX directly means they’re missing a real opportunity for positive change further upstream. What if the quality of your CX follows on directly from the quality of your employee experience? This is an area that’s easy to assess, an area where you can act decisively and see rapid measurable returns.

Investing in employee experience

Your current employees and prospective future employees are all consumers. They are engaging with different organizations every day in their own lives and they’re benefitting from the drive to improve CX. If they’re able to choose the best devices, technologies, and systems for them in their own personal lives, why can’t they do the same thing when they come to work?

Creating a great employee experience is particularly crucial when we consider the challenge for enterprises to attract the next generation of talent. Millennials have different expectations. Why shouldn’t they be able to choose their own devices and apps? IT should act as a facilitator, creating a secure environment that empowers employees to choose the best tools for the job.

Organizations that embrace new technologies, new ways of organizing the workplace and boosting employee experience are going to be the first port of call for the talent. And there’s a huge opportunity here. While nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience as important or very important, according to Deloitte, only 22 percent described their companies as excellent at building a differentiated employee experience.

No single corporation can deliver a great employee experience on its own; it requires an ecosystem of customers, academia, and market leaders like Citrix and Microsoft working closely together to co-create solutions that transform the workplace to address the holistic People, Process and Persona dimensions.

A major influence on CX

Happy and engaged employees tend to be able to relate to their product set much better. They’re more motivated and that carries across to their internal and external interactions. By empowering them to find the most effective workflow and allowing them to personalize their workspaces, you can positively influence the retention of their intellectual capital.

Organizations that invest heavily in employee experience have four times more average profit and twice as much revenue, according to research by Jacob Morgan. Long term commitment to employee experience filters through to CX and offers a significant return on investment. The line between employee and customer is blurred as organizations work out how best to service every individual based on their preferences, instead of relying on a generic persona.

Beyond the traditional office

As freelancers and contractors are increasingly part of the fabric of most organizations, virtual collaboration technologies that enable employees to work anywhere on any device are growing in importance. Traditional employer loyalty is fading, so employees need to be engaged. Employers must create a sense of community, so their employees feel a part of something, whether they’re sitting in a city center café, or in a house, or on the beach somewhere.

Stirring new technologies into the mix will help enterprises achieve new levels of employee experience.

AI, for example, has huge potential to assist employees and supplement human tasks. As AI evolves to understand employee preferences, it can start to shoulder some of the burden by automating repetitive daily tasks, subject to employee approval. This could free employees to focus on more intellectually challenging, human-centric tasks, simultaneously boosting efficiency and employee satisfaction.

To embrace this new paradigm and realize an effective digital transformation, the ability to build a secure ecosystem is paramount. By partnering with the right companies and adopting the right technologies, organizations can reach a new level of employee and customer experience that will serve as a positive feedback loop driving real competitive advantage in the marketplace.

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