In the same way that customer experience is no longer just about satisfaction, employee engagement is no longer solely the domain of Human Resources. According to Andrea Sullivan, CMO at Interbrand, “Branding used to be about what’s happening outside your door, but increasingly, about 75 percent of the work that brands do is more squarely focused on how they get the greatest performance out of their employees, and how they lessen the gap between the executives and the front line.”
Many organizations monitor their employee engagement levels through Voice of the Employee (VoE) programs which typically include measuring job satisfaction, work-life balance, effectiveness of training programs, and soliciting ideas for improvements across the organization. Likewise, most companies gather Voice of the Customer (VoC) feedback to analyze key performance indicators such as overall satisfaction, purchase interest, and likelihood to recommend. Yet, for most companies, these programs are considered distinctly separate initiatives, despite a common recognition that employee engagement has a direct impact on customer experiences.
Few brand marketers need to be convinced that engaged employees hold many keys to enriching your customer’s experiences. In fact, there’s plenty of research showing a relationship between employee engagement, customer experience, and financial performance:
- Companies leading in customer experience metrics have 1.5 times as many engaged employees as those with trailing customer experience scores. (Employee Engagement Benchmark Study)
- Companies that invest in employee experience outperform those that don’t in terms of average revenue and profit. (The Employee Experience Advantage)
- Companies listed on the “Fortune Top 100 Companies to Work For®,” consistently outperform major stock indices by 300%, according to a survey by The Great Place to Work Institute.
That’s why it is so important to integrate your Voice of the Employee and Voice of the Customer programs with each other. Employee input should help drive improvements to customer experiences, while customer feedback should be linked back to relevant internal areas where employees can take action to improve processes and performance.
In our eBook, “Are You Delivering on Your Brand Promise?” we talk about the important role that employees play in bringing your brand promise to life. Here are four steps you can take to link your VoE and VoC initiatives in order to drive improved customer experiences.
- Identify key metrics in your VoE program that affect specific aspects of your customers’ experience as measured in your VoC research, such as:
- Analyze metrics like these side-by-side to assess effectiveness of internal process improvements on maintaining and improving customer satisfaction
- Mine your VoE data for new opportunities to enhance customer experiences as well as early indicators of potential customer pain-points
- Give employees the means to share feedback and observations about their customer interactions in a timely manner in both formal and informal ways (in-person, web, email, mobile)
Integrating your employee engagement and customer experience programs is a powerful way to set the stage for sustained brand growth over the long-term. Let these voices work in harmony to help you uncover opportunities to enhance your customer experience, address potential sources of customer dissatisfaction before they arise, and foster an authentic customer-centric culture from the bottom up. Formally emphasizing the important connection between employee engagement and customer experience sends a key message to all employees about the essence of their role.