Customer Experience Management is at the top of the agenda of practically all organizations.
At the same time, one of the biggest challenges is to do it right.
In this blog, I offer a comprehensive framework (pdf) on how to accelerate customer experience in your organization and focus on what really matters.
I will be blogging in-depth about all stages of the framework in the coming weeks. This blog is the introduction and overview of the framework.
Start from the Customer Perspective
The first thing you see is that the framework consists of both customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX).
That’s because there is no customer experience without employee experience, as the service profit chain has already shown in 1997.
And you see that customer experience lies a little ahead of employee experience.
The reason for that being, you should always work from the customer perspective, from outside in.
It gives clear focus, also for the employees, to know what really matters in the eyes of the customers. It brings them back to a feeling of purpose.
Both customer and employee experience are enhanced by brand management and leadership.
Brand gives the right direction, consistency in leadership creates the right context that is necessary to make experience a success.
The 4 Customer Experience stages
For both customer and employee experience, there are 4 stages. They are roughly the same, but there are some details that differ between CX and EX.
Let’s start with the 4 stages of customer experience.
The first thing you do is define the journeys of your customers.
You make a distinction between the main, end-to-end journey and the detailed journeys.
The main journey is on the level of “I buy a product”, “I have an insurance claim”, “I change my data”, etc.
For each step in the main journey, you define the detailed journey.
For “I buy a product”, that could be: “I visit the website”, “I fill out the order form”, “I go to the payment module”, “I receive a confirmation email”, “I receive an order status email”, “The product is delivered to my home”, etc.
These journeys are the basis for the next steps. If these journeys are not correct, you will not find the right drivers.
And when I say matter, I mean drivers that matter to your customers. Data-driven, scientific proof that shows you what matters to them.
This is the stage that makes or breaks the success of your CX program.
If you don’t use the right measurements, you will not find the right drivers and therefore will be stuck at the infamous 7 to 7.5 level.
When you do use the right measurements, you will be in the driving seat of your own CX success and will see measurable results in the short term.
# BONUS : if you’re struggling with using NPS, C-SAT or CES, then this blog is also relevant for you.
Improve and Learn
After finding the right drivers, the time has come to start improving.
Experiment, continuously measure the scores on the drivers and see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t overthink it, just go and try it.
When you have found the drivers, the findings are always so concrete, that all employees immediately think of many ideas on how to improve them.
And most of the drivers are not ‘three years waiting for IT’ related, so you can start tomorrow!
Share the learnings with real-time benchmarks in order to accelerate throughout your organization.
Embed in Organization
Stages 1 to 3 are the easiest part of your CX journey to success. Everybody will be very excited since it will be a separate project at that stage.
But now the time has come to embed CX in the entire organization.
And yes, that means the entire organization. There is not one department that I can think of that does not in the end affect customers.
So here lies the challenge, to find a way to translate the insights you have found into each department’s relevant day-to-day business.
Making sure that they feel it’s of value to them. That it helps them to make a difference. That it helps them to realize their targets.
# BONUS : See my blog on the sense and non-sense of a Chief Customer Officer if you’d like a glimpse of my view on how to embed.
The 4 Employee Experience stages
As I mentioned earlier, the 4 stages you go through are the same, but there are some details in the stages that are different for employee experience.
I will shortly highlight the differences versus the CX stages.
With the customers, you define the journeys based on what I as a customer want to do with your organization.
With employees, there is less transaction to be found in their journeys. They are not buying your product, using your product, etc.
Their journey is defined based on the duration of their employment.
So there is the application journey, the journey of employees who have worked for 3 and/or 12 months and the employees who have been working for > 12 months.
The statistics to find the drivers are the same for employee experience as for customer experience.
Except that the list of drivers that you add to the surveys are based much more on existing science than is the case with the customers’ surveys.
# BONUS: if you want to find out what drivers have already been proven to play a role in scientific studies, then download the chapter from my PhD on drivers of employee satisfaction (although I feel I must warn you about the boredom risk of scientific language).
# BONUS: this blog on the sense and non-sense of employee engagement is a must read if you are planning on doing anything with employee experience (as you should be).
Learn and Improve
For the very observant readers, you may have noticed that in CX, this stage is called “Improve and Learn”, while in EX, this stage is called “Learn and Improve”.
This is because the drivers of employee experience are often more complex than the customer experience drivers.
For example, when one of the drivers is “Organization X is honest towards employees”, this needs more in-depth analysis.
So that’s why first, based on the drivers you’ve found, you learn (organize sessions to understand what honesty means to them) and then you start improving.
Embed in Organization
At this stage in CX, you saw that there is no department that does not play a role in customer experience.
When it comes to employee experience, it may well be that you don’t need the entire organization to improve.
It really depends on the drivers you find, and what the employees tell you they mean.
It could be solely leadership and steering, it could be branding, it could be learning and development, etc.
So based on the drivers and the learning stage, you decide on next steps on how to embed the findings in the organization.
# BONUS : if you are a believer in energizing your employees, giving them purpose and make them feel completely engaged with your organization? Then the book ‘Alive at work’ from Daniel Cable will really make your day.
Leadership and steering
From Alive at Work, it’s an easy step to leadership and steering.
Although it’s a no-brainer and maybe even an energy drain to say that leadership is crucial for success, it cannot go unmentioned.
Especially since in all organizations with which I work, I see the same challenge.
How do we find the balance between steering and financial goals, and the necessary change toward more empowerment of our people?
Frederick Taylor developed the KPI-based scientific management approach, in essence fear-based approach around 100 years ago.
Still, in most organizations it’s the primary way of steering.
The good news is that most leaders are absolutely willing to move toward more empowerment, to work with the findings of Cable.
But they are struggling with the how.
So if customer experience really is of strategic value and importance to your organization, then make sure you find a way to integrate it.
In every management meeting. In every bilateral. In every annual plan. In every weekly stand up. Lead by example.
Last but definitely not least, brand management is a crucial element for CX ánd EX success.
The role of brand management is to make sure that consumers and future employees have your organization top of mind in their decision making.
Brand management therefore makes sure that organisation X is top of mind. While customer experience makes sure that from the moment I have chosen to go to organization X, I have a great experience.
Which should be consistent with my brand promise.
This is where many organizations miss out on so much potential.
Brand management is often overly focused on the brand promise and too little on delivering this promise throughout the journey.
For both the journey of the customers as well as for the employees. That’s why you see external and internal branding in the framework.
With all these building blocks, you can now review your own CX activities and make the difference for your organization, customers and employees!