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The Synergy of Employee and Customer Experiences

Pieter Peremans
Pieter Peremans

Pieter has over 10 years of experience in service design, customer experience and business architecture in different sectors, like HR services, banking and public services. He combines customer idealism with business realism to help organizations become more people-centric and profitable.

In my journey as a Customer Experience (CX) Consultant, spanning back to 2015, I witnessed the evolution of CX from its developing stages to the vibrant landscape it is today. Organizations, across various industries, increasingly recognized the significance of CX, pouring investments into enhancing the customer journey. While this surge of interest was indeed a positive development, it raised an essential question: Were we overlooking a more holistic approach to experience?

The Reign of the Customer

In this era, no CEO or Business Manager can afford to disregard their customers' needs. Consequently, most initiatives in recent years have been tailored to offer superior products and services, all with the customer squarely in focus.

The customer’s experience is the main focus today

Undoubtedly, this approach has yielded success, with substantial improvements in CX over time. Cast your mind back to a decade ago when contacting your phone carrier was like a quest for the Holy Grail – a far cry from the seamless interactions we enjoy today from brands like or Futurumshop.

However, it appears that the momentum of CX growth has hit a plateau. The intensive efforts directed towards customers, in terms of processes and technology, no longer produce the monumental strides in CX improvement that they once did.

The Rise of Employees

In the recent past, especially catalyzed by the pandemic, a new trend has emerged – a keen interest in the experience organizations provide to their internal customers, their employees. If we apply the same service design techniques to employees as we do to customers, a plethora of improvement possibilities unfolds.

Employee experience forms the second half of the key to success

This means organizations need to move from using technology to increase business acquisition to improving how people work. This involves automating repetitive tasks and eliminating legacy processes and systems.

Embracing the Experience Mindset

The key revelation lies in avoiding an exclusive focus on either CX or EX. Instead, you must harmonize both facets of the experience. Viewing employees as 'internal customers' is a perspective I've always championed. Now, I've come across research that substantiates this belief: When CX professionals concentrate more on the employee experience, it results in a 30% boost in CX. Conversely, if EX professionals, typically associated with HR, prioritize the customer experience, it yields a remarkable 40% uptick in EX.

“One-sided improvement is one step forward, one step back. Get a decision making approach dedicated to improving experiences across the board for all stakeholders, internal and external.”

In essence, broadening your scope of the experience leads to concurrent enhancements in both CX and EX. It's akin to the intertwined double helix of a DNA strand – a natural connection. Consider the logic: A disgruntled, customer-facing employee is unlikely to deliver an outstanding experience to a customer.

CX and EX are entangled like DNA

Tiffani Bova, in her recent work 'The Experience Mindset', emphasizes the point: “One-sided improvement is one step forward, one step back. Get a decision-making approach dedicated to improving experiences across the board for all stakeholders, internal and external.” She advocates for greater collaboration between CX and EX teams, emphasizing the need to find shared priorities and synergies.

Tiffanni Bova’s 2023 book on the balance between CX and EX

This book serves as an invaluable resource at a time when businesses are often fixated on Customer Experience at the expense of Employee Experience. Through meticulous research and great anecdotes, it showcases how successful companies harmonize EX and CX to foster growth. Ultimately, people lie at the heart of how customers perceive your organization, and cultivating a culture that fosters positive employee experiences stands as a potent competitive advantage.

As Bova states it: ‘The fastest way to get customers to love your brand, is to get employees to love their jobs.’ So let’s make them ❤️ it!