Empower your employees to boost customer experience

The employee experience is inseparable from the customer experience. That has long been the case, but increasingly this is being referred to as the Total Experience. To deliver it, businesses should grasp the opportunity offered by a new world post COVID-19 pandemic to build an empowered workforce to support the transformation to hybrid ways of working and digital business.

Happy employees may equal happy customers, but what makes a happy employee in today’s environment? We have seen a rapid shift in working models over the past couple of years, with an acceleration of digitization. Expectations have changed beyond all recognition as a result. Where once workers might have grudgingly put up with aging corporate-issued devices, clunky applications and having to go to the office to access information, they now expect to have the same flexibility in their day and overall user-focused experience that they can get from the consumer world.

A challenge or an opportunity?

For organizations wrestling with a complex mix of legacy infrastructure and high ambitions for growth and business transformation, it’s a great opportunity to start fresh and build new foundations. All with the ultimate aim of delivering a Total Experience that supports both employees and customers.

Why is it an opportunity? First, the introduction of these new working models, whether fully remote or hybrid, has dramatically expanded the potential talent pool. Geography is no longer as much of a barrier to hiring as it once was. According to a McKinsey study, 87% of respondents who took new jobs in new cities in 2021 didn’t have to relocate.

Second, it not only expands the opportunity to attract talent; meeting the demands of employees with new working solutions also helps increase employee retention. Those businesses that can invest in updating their employees’ experience will have a better chance of keeping hold of key staff, which in turn will help drive company performance.

And right now, that is critical. Employees are leaving roles that do not meet their requirements in droves. Their reasons are many: from reassessing careers in the wake of the pandemic, to no longer feeling the loyalty they once did and increasingly refusing to accept what they consider second-rate working arrangements.

So, delivering this new type of employee experience has moved from a nice-to-have to a non-negotiable; and this isn’t just confined to knowledge workers or those in a single location. Banks, retailers, healthcare operators and manufacturers all have a mix of customer-facing, back-office, knowledge worker and field or facility staff. Many wouldn’t necessarily be tied to a desk all day, and the ability to access data and services while on the go is critical to their roles.

The common thread in all employee experiences

Yet while the needs of the retail assistant, the marketing manager, the warehouse operative and the doctor may be different, there is a common thread that runs through all of their perspectives of what makes a great employee experience: empowerment.

Workers want to be empowered. Most people want to do a good job, to feel like they’ve made a difference. That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone wants to change the world; just that their presence at work has meant something. And while having an impact or purpose is often a deal breaker for younger generations, it is something all generations strive for. Seventy percent of respondents to another McKinsey survey said that their sense of purpose is largely defined by work.

What is the easiest way to do that? By giving them access to the apps and services they need to serve the customer as they see fit. Not just being a point of contact as a query is escalated or having to get an agreement approved by some distant head office, but being able to make decisions that meet both the customer needs and the requirements of the company. What’s more, if you train your workforces to master the latest tools, they are going to be more innovative, because they can do more with what they have and stop complaining about out-of-date technologies.

The interconnected nature of CX and EX

In addition, the underlying infrastructure that will support this newly empowered workforce is the same one that allows the deployment of apps and services that provide customers with the sort of high-quality digital experience they’ll keep coming back to. Many businesses are undergoing extensive organizational transformations, and whether intentional or not, changes to one part of the business will impact the experiences of another.

It’s something we’ve learned at Orange. We’ve been through a significant journey, changing how we deliver both our customer experience and our employee experience. In fact, the two are so closely tied that they inform and directly impact each other. When looking at our working environment, for instance, we ran programs to break down silos between teams to aid collaboration and the sharing of information. Yet while the focus was on helping our colleagues work more effectively, it also led to a direct improvement in the standard of customer service we were able to deliver, as greater coordination improved the response customers received.

To serve customers, enterprises must look at their employees. If they can reconnect with their employees, provide workforces with the tools they want and access to the information they need, all supported by a secured and responsive infrastructure that enables rather than inhibits, then they will be empowering individuals to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. The benefits of this will reverberate across the organization, driving the Total Experience, and directly improve the customer experience.

Find out more here about how you could implement the changes needed to drive greater levels of employee experience, and thereby reap the rewards of enhanced customer experiences. Get in touch with our experienced consultants to organize a free workshop.

Olivier Vicaire
Olivier Vicaire

Olivier Vicaire has been a business consultant for more than 10 years in Paris and London and is a specialist in digital transformation. With a telecom engineering degree and a Masters in marketing, he manages innovation, digital workspace strategy and user adoption programs to drive digital transformation for the employees of Orange Business Services customers.