In a previous post called Your Brand is the Sum of the Experiences You Deliver to Customers, we explained a cycle in which a customer’s cumulative experiences with an organization define their beliefs and actions regarding that organization. Employees are impacted by a similar cycle.
Your employees base their perception of your organization on one thing: their experiences with the organization. The experiences they have shape their beliefs. And these beliefs define their actions towards their fellow employees and your customers.
To deliver great customer experiences, your organization must align the employee experience with your brand. This means you must treat your employees how you want them to treat customers.
The key is to understand there are two cycles – one influencing the other. Your brand is the sum of experiences you deliver to your customers and employees.
76% of consumers say customer service is the true test of how much a company values them. Every interaction they have with your organization influences what they believe about your organization.
Similarly, employees thrive when they feel valued.
The most effective way to show employees that they are valued is to define and deliver your experience purpose to them in their everyday interactions. An experience purpose articulates to every employee the role they play in delivering the brand promise to customers.
When the experiences employees have reflect the experience purpose, it becomes easier for them to believe in and ultimately deliver experiences aligned with the purpose. Both simple interactions (being thanked at the end of a work-day) and more complex ones (coaching conversations) that model the experience purpose in action foster positive beliefs in the organization.
Often, organizations forget to check on the beliefs of their people. The core of great customer experience lies in the hearts and minds of all employees – leaders included.
The experiences your employees have with your organization create beliefs about the actions you want them to take towards your customers.
Google has a famous employee program called 20% Time. The program allows Google employees to spend one day a week (20% of their time) on personal projects. Google’s goal with 20% Time is to foster a culture of innovation and creativity while showing employees they care about their passions and ideas.
By placing trust and freedom in employees, Google helps them understand and believe that creating innovative products that improve customers’ lives is their primary role. The experience orients every employee towards Google’s experience purpose, which informs how they act in their role.
Employees make decisions that impact the customer experience every day. The right thing to do, in any situation, is to keep and deliver the brand promise.
How an employee acts, or what decisions they make, are informed by what they believe is most important to the organization. Those beliefs are formed based on what they have experienced.
Consider a call centre that claims its highest priority is doing what’s right for the customer – but only rewards low Average Handle Time (AHT). Based on the experience of being consistently disciplined for higher AHT despite high customer satisfaction, an employee would be led to believe that saying no or quickly transferring a customer is more important than finding the right answer to a tough question.
However, if the same employee was recognized for achieving a high level of customer satisfaction, and then coached on how to achieve the same or better result more efficiently, they’d believe that doing the right thing is critical, and that doing so efficiently is possible and rewarding.
The experience of being recognized for living the experience purpose creates a belief that doing what’s right for the customer is most important to the company; this belief, along with the coaching, informs actions that align with consistently increased customer satisfaction.
By defining an experience purpose, employees are given a clear roadmap to follow. By creating employee experiences that align with that experience purpose, they’re given a clear example of how it can be lived in any situation. By following those examples of how to live the experience purpose, they’re able to make decisions that keep the brand promise, steadily increasing customer satisfaction without necessarily impacting costs.
Creating an experience purpose and cultivating an employee experience that perfectly aligns with your brand is difficult, but the experiences your organization delivers to its customers depend on it. Your brand is no more, and no less, than the sum of experiences you deliver to both customers and employees.
If you need help aligning the sum of your brand experiences to customer experience success, let’s talk!