How Improved EX Impacts CX Delivery

By Jacqueline Mundkur, Group Head - Customer Service, Future GroupWith over 20 years of experience, Jacqueline is a specialist in customer service & marketing. She has a broad range of experience in Telecom, Logistics, FMCG, and Retail Marketing industries.

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” - Stephen R. Covey.

One of the biggest disconnects in customer experience’ is the focus only on ‘customer experience’ ignoring the human element namely the people who deliver the service directly or indirectly.

The fact of the matter is that the customer interaction roles are manned by junior most or entry level employees where attrition rates are the highest. Also, leadership unfortunately has an inadequate appreciation that today’s workforce comprises significant Gen Z, and existing programs and strategies do not adequately address how to connect, engage and enthuse them.This is of concern considering that your front-line employees have a huge influence in building or destroying your firm’s hardearned brand equity.

Investing in upgrading employee’s skills and knowledge or, even empowerment are not priority. The more glamorous or eyeball grabbing initiatives capture the lion’s share of limited resources. Let’s face it, among the many hot topics discussed and reviewed, conversations on outlay for frontline employee upgradation get drowned out or at best are low priority area. One key reason is that man¬power costs are always on the radar and most of the conversations focus on how to ‘reduce manpower costs ‘or ‘reduce manual servicing costs ‘rather than measure the employee’s value as a brand ambassador or their contribution to the Top line and Customer Loyalty. CX professionals historically have also been averse to be accountable for ROI and revenue and perhaps are not forceful enough.

But there is good news.
The digital space has exploded with action and CX has started getting its attention due to a hyper connected always-mobile demanding customer. Huge investments in DCX (or digital CX) architecture on either AI, Machine learning, IOT etc. have been adopted by firms hoping to create a service differentiation. This is excel¬lent news as it means that these very same platforms can be used now to engage and connect more fruitfully with large frontline teams be they either service or sales field staff or even in store or contact center staff.

Thanks to easily available technology we can marry the twin objectives of better CX and better EX using these digital investments. EX is just the new buzzword that has captured our imaginations, but these opportunities existed and will continue to exist as long as employees are required to interact directly with customers. Technology is a tool both for the user(employee) and the creator (leadership) to positively impact commitment and engagement scores along with staff confidence and first-time resolution.
Access to right information at the right time by simply a touch of a button is always energising. Technology enablement to achieve better EX is all about giving employees’ options that will help them achieve their full potential and drive business value. Multiple studies show that Superior CX delivers improved customer loyalty, market share and revenues with organisations more in control of their direct customer interactions. Employee experience (EX) delivers outcomes which can make or mar an organisation’s competitive advantage. It is counter intuitive to expect a disengagement non-motivated employee to be bothered about CX, leave alone strive to constantly improve on the job.

The digital space has exploded with action and CX has started getting its attention due to a hyper connected always-mobile demanding customer

One of the biggest grouses of frontline is that they are the last to get know essential updates and their doubts and feedback are not channelized or incorporated which forces them to provide incorrect information or poor-quality resolution. Every interaction is an opportunity for frontline to capitalize and convert; so a lag in information is a lost opportunity or translates to poor service.

So how do we expect Technology to close the gaps between lost opportunities and poor service experience. By a happy coincidence the young workforce today exhibits and reflects more and more attributes of the growing clout of the younger Indian customer. The need for speed, the need for real time information and the need for content to be engaging. It’s time to wake up to the fact that frontline work force interacting with your customer is almost alike emotionally and exhibit similar behaviors to the customer. So,it’s time to connect with them like you do with your customers…with real time updates and feeds on the go and in a medium that they relate to. Reduce boring classroom training sessions.

Organizations have deployed digital interventions for instance not only where leadership communicates to employees, but employees can interact back real time. That's right, technology allows them to be heard! Access rights can be allowed throughout the hierarchy or to selective levels. So, hear it straight right from your employees as they rate the latest promotional campaign, competition activity, a newly launched product, or even a newly launched incentive scheme. Smart category and product managers can get instant customer feedback through employees who interact with customers without spending huge sums of money on a post launch feedback. With hierarchical business rules, you can speak to only some levels / set of employees and tailor specific content for their eyes only. What’s more the content feeds can accommodate wide formats i.e. video, infographic, graphs etc. Real time Dashboards can not only test their knowledge, provide scores, keep track of their incentives, track competition among peers… the possibilities are immense.

First level Managers are another key participant, a crucial level tasked with keeping the flock afloat and performing in all-weather scenarios. Now technology enables and empowers them. While they have improved visibility through performance dashboards, they can also action approvals, motivate those who are doing a great job, send updates and more all on the go.

Going back to the reality of getting an investment outlays in the real world. The good news is an organization that has enabled digital engagement for customers can extend this with incremental costs also enabling employee engagement tools.

New age Employees like Customers have come to expect instant information, high degree of transparency, personalized, relevant and convenient information as a given. Above all, they want to be empowered to choose and customize what they experience in the outside also to be replicated when performing their jobs.

So remember when you plot a CX strategy; you should factor in your EX strategy too. That's because EX is the sum of everything an employee experiences throughout his or her connection to your organization. Your employee will not deliver great experience to your customer unless he is engaged and empowered himself. Let me conclude with a quote by Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox who said, “Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” (Views expressed are personal).