Customer experience starts with your employees

Providing a great customer experience creates a sustainable competitive advantage and higher profits. Here’s why that starts with designing a great employee experience — and how to do that.

There’s a solid argument to be made that “customer experience” isn’t just another business buzzword. As products, stores, and services increasingly begin to look alike, customer experience will increasingly define and differentiate a brand. Features, quality, and even price are (relatively) easy to match. Customer experience — not so much.

The term is (almost) impossibly broad, covering potentially everything from design, packaging and promotion through the sales transaction, use, reliability, and customer service.

Is the product thoughtfully designed and easy to use? Is the service easy to get set up with, and (at least for the most part) reliable? Does the offering provide good value for the cost?

How easy is an organization to do business with? Do new customers feel welcomed? If something does go wrong with the product or service, can the issue be resolved quickly, pleasantly, with a minimum of hassle? Is it easy to get questions answered?

The objective of providing great customer service may seem too broad to be anyone’s responsibility. Actually, its scope makes it everyone’s responsibility. Every employee — not just those who are “customer-facing” — has a role to play in optimizing the customer experience, from design to assembly to marketing, installation, billing, repair, and anything else that can impact the customer’s experience with the product, service, store or brand.

Which is why providing a great customer experience starts inside the company, with providing a great employee experience. Research has shown that happy employees make for happy customers.

Part of this pertains to the interpersonal aspects of management. Managers who are responsive to workers and value them demonstrate to employees they should be responsive to and value the company’s customers. This is why enterprises like Zappos, Southwest Airlines and Marriott are known both for their highly engaged employee culture as well as great customer experiences.

But there are more practical elements to providing a great employee experience as well. For example……continue reading

 

First published on Talent Culture by Tom Pick.

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