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More Firms Waking Up to Customer-Employee Experience Link

After nearly 11 years promoting the importance of linking customer and employee engagement, the Enterprise Engagement Alliance is finding more examples of organizations, from Adobe to sports apparel manufacturer Shefit, recognizing the importance of employees in delivering the customer experience. A recent article on the digital experience information portal CMSWire.com provides yet more proof that the business world is waking up to this important, long-overlooked connection. 
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CMSWire.com, a leading digital information platform claiming to have over 2.7 million readers involved with digital media, is not designed for Human Resources executives, but a recent feature, “The Intersection of Employee Experience and Customer Experience,” provides yet more proof that marketers are waking up to the critical role played by employees, even in the world of digital marketing…although there’s a long way to go. 
 
In the article, author Phil Britt notes that while a survey earlier this year by market research firm West Monroe found that nearly 50% of respondents said “a motivated and equipped workforce” was critical to the customer experience, those same respondents ranked employee engagement and enablement at the bottom of their priority lists. Britt notes that “While many experts argue there is a linkage, again, the evidence is more anecdotal than anything else.” Nonetheless, he quotes numerous experts making the case for increased focus on the role of employees in the customer experience. “Engaged, empowered employees are a critical element to create engaged, happy customers,” he writes, quoting Kelly Koelliker, Director of Product Mmarketing at Verint, a leading provider of customer engagement technology. (See ESM: “Verint at the Intersection of Customer and Employee Engagement”) 
 
In the CMSWire article, Koelliker notes that “For customer service agents on the front lines, tools that make it easier for employees to do their jobs and find answers empower them to deliver faster, better and more accurate service for more satisfied customers.” She explains that “Employee engagement and satisfaction is critical in the contact center, where churn can be a major challenge. Organizations must be concerned about the employee experience, because without a positive experience, talented and trained employees are more likely to leave with a potential impact on customer service. She goes on to say that “self-service options are preferred by a growing number of customers for their convenience, but self-serve channels also help with employee engagement, offloading mundane calls and tasks so agents can focus on more challenging and value-added customer interactions.”
 
Britt quotes Rob Maille, Co-founder and Head of Customer Experience and Strategy at CommerceCX, on the customer-employee connection: “When someone thinks about a great customer experience, they typically think about only the customer touchpoints. Although this is important, it only covers one aspect. What is equally important is the experience of the person who is servicing the customer who will have to deal with the experience of the back-office systems they use to help service the customer and their needs.” In the article, Maille points out that businesses should view the back office as part of the larger customer experience and give it the attention it deserves. By improving these back-end processes for employees, he is quoted as saying, “he reward is an overall customer experience with less friction and ease of use for all that are involved. The other benefit is that when the back-office employee has better tools, they feel better about their job and the value they provide, which also translates into a better experience for the customer.”
 
Britt find agreement from Lisa Nicholas, President of Digital Banking Services: “When DBS is able to connect with the employee experience, there is a 100% chance of creating a better customer experience,” she says. “We have all felt the frustration of telling our story to a customer service agent, only to get transferred to another agent who asks you to repeat the story once again. This experience does not make you want to leave a positive review.”
 
As an example of how this issue can be addressed, Nicholas points to the Credit Union of Texas (CUTX), which has developed a more “connected experience through digital processes, creating collaboration channels and established business intelligence that was not possible prior to taking on digital transformation.” In its leasing businesses, Britt reports, “CUTX employees can now see all the pertinent information about the member (what credit unions call customers) throughout the leasing process in one place instead of logging into multiple systems, seeing offers that have been made. So employees no longer have to guess at which offers the member is currently responding to. They can see every step of the process, including any service-related issue. When a member calls about a lease, employees have a screen pop with all the information about that member right in front of them,” Nicholas is quoted as saying. “This transparency has created a more engaged employee and a better overall member experience.”
 
Why do so many digital marketers view employee engagement as critical to customer experience while ranking it low on their priorities? Most likely because few have any training on how to design and implement systems to make this connection or work in silos in which they have little influence on employee engagement.
 

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Services: The International Center for Enterprise Engagement at TheICEE.org, offering: ISO 10018 certification for employers, solution providers, and Enterprise Engagement technology platforms; Human Resources and Human Capital audits for organizations seeking to benchmark their practices and related Advisory services for the hospitality field.
The Engagement Agency at EngagementAgency.net, offering: complete support services for employers, solution providers, and technology firms seeking to profit from formal engagement practices for themselves or their clients, including Brand and Capability audits for solution providers to make sure their products and services are up to date.
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• ROI of Engagement Calculator. Use this tool to determine the potential return-on-investment of an engagement strategy. 
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• Gauge Your Personal Level of Engagement. This survey, donated by Horsepower, enables individuals to gauge their own personal levels of engagement.
 
For more information, contact Bruce Bolger at Bolger@TheEEA.org, 914-591-7600, ext. 230.
 
 
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