8 ways to improve Customer Experience (CX) by empowering employees
If you’re looking to raise the bar on customer experience, look no further than your employees — harnessed in the right way, they’re one of the most effective levers any organization has. Find out how you can empower your people to deliver better experiences for customers.
The link between employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) has been well documented,1 including a study by the XM Institute that found CX leaders consistently demonstrate better EX results too.2
When employees feel cared for and supported, they go above and beyond for the customers they serve, are strong brand ambassadors, and often contribute innovative ideas that help the company grow.
Here are 8 great ways to empower employees to help improve your customer experience:
1. Start with meeting employees’ needs
It goes without saying, but driving CX improvements by empowering your workforce starts with meeting employees’ foundational needs. Imagine as a manager asking an employee to go above and beyond to solve a customer problem when they don’t feel supported or adequately educated to do so.
Organizations looking to drive a differentiated customer experience understand that employees need to be engaged and they put in place employee experience programs to find and close the gaps between what employees expect and what the organization is currently delivering.
2. Create a joint team focused on CX and EX
In most organizations, CX and EX operate in silos, owned and managed by separate teams. This can lead to misaligned expectations and goals, or inefficient access to the data and insights necessary to drive improvements. Creating a joint team with accountability around both the customer and employee experience will help you maximize the impact of your programs.
3. Align your internal values and cultural norms with customer outcomes
The values and behaviors of your organization need to align with the desired customer experience and brand promise you want to deliver. This process is critical to the overall discipline of experience management - it ensures that the desired CX translates to the day-to-day priorities and behaviors of employees.
4. Put your employees in customers’ shoes
By educating employees about the journey customers go on with the organization and the experiences they expect, you can:
- Help reinforce the notion that every employee has an impact on the customer experience. Whether a frontline teller or a back-of-house IT engineer, both roles can impact whether a customer has a satisfactory branch visit or suffers a poor experience due to a system being down.
- Create excitement and encourage innovation around the aspirational customer experience.
- Deepen empathy for the pain points that customers encounter.
5. Provide an outlet for the employee voice
Employees are a great source of information about your customers. When they interact with customers on the frontlines, employees often see trends or new ways they could serve customers.
This type of feedback can also help you to understand the barriers your people may be facing in delivering on your CX promises by hearing first-hand from those closest to your customers.
It helps people to do their jobs better AND has a positive impact on customers too — it’s a win-win!
6. Recognize and incentivize employees appropriately for customer outcomes
When employees understand the expectations around the desired customer experience and how they can contribute, organizations can reinforce positive behaviors by celebrating success.
This shows employees that the organization is committed to CX and often can help to generate great stories of CX in action. These examples can be shared across the company to inspire employees.
7. Use local leaders to create empowering environments
Particularly in organizations where you have multiple branches or outlets outside of head office, for example retail or hospitality, local managers play an important role in shaping the experience for their teams.
In a recent meta-analysis researchers found that “Leaders who were perceived as more empowering were more likely to delegate authority to their employees, ask for their input, and encourage autonomous decision-making.”3
Providing managers with training and support to be empowering leaders can help to promote an environment where employees are encouraged to take ownership and act autonomously when it comes to delivering on the customer experience.
8. Deliver customer insights to employees and involve them in closing the loop
In any role, people need to receive feedback about how they’re doing and where they could improve. It’s no different when it comes to delivering on the customer experience.
Providing employees with timely and relevant customer feedback is the most direct way to engage them in improving CX. Customer feedback helps employees to better understand the customer’s needs and personalize the experience they deliver.
Customers expect nothing less. When they contact an organization to resolve an issue, they expect the employee they speak with to have the full background on the issue. By connecting your customer feedback to the systems and processes employees already use you can make employees’ lives easier and help them feel empowered to help customers. Plus, you’ll ensure that customer issues are dealt with more effectively, helping to deliver a better experience for customers.
Aligning your customer and employee experience programs is an essential step in transforming your organization around experiences. With your people motivated, engaged and enabled, you can deliver positive experiences for your employees, your customers and the business’ bottom line.
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