Do you think the leaders in your organization understand (or care about) the connection between the employee experience and the customer experience?

To answer that question, I’ll just say, “No.” Well, not all of them, anyways. I’ve been in plenty of conversations over the last 30 years of my career in this profession where I got the, “Oh, I never thought of that,” or “I never made that connection” response. Or they just said they’ll focus on employees later.

Guess what? It’s later. Too late(r). Now employees have revolted, and we’ve got the Great Resignation (or whatever everyone’s calling it these days).

And guess what else? Your customers are paying the price. Don’t think so? I’ve sat on hold for over 30 minutes multiple times (different days, different times of day) with my car insurance company over the last couple of weeks (about an accident). They don’t have enough staff to cover. It’s so frustrating. And the other party’s insurance adjuster doesn’t even call me back – despite her voicemail saying that she “returns all calls within 24 hours.” Ha! My son works at a restaurant where employees are not only burned out because they are so short-staffed but also gripe about customers and how they can’t deal with their attitudes, needs, and requests because there just aren’t enough employees to go around.

It’s crazy. Without employees, who’s going to build the products, sell the products, service the products, deliver the services, etc.? Who’s going to deliver the experience? Happy and engaged employees are more productive, so it’s up to you to understand them and their needs in order to design a better experience for them – so that they can, in turn, deliver a great experience for customers.

I’ve talked and written about the employee experience a lot over the years from the candidate experience to hiring for culture fit to where employees must be prioritized to what the employee experience is and why it’s important to the customer experience and to the business, and then some. I know others have, too. (Keep fighting the good fight.) But I’m still amazed at why the connection isn’t clear for folks.

Remember the Service-Profit Chain? There was a lot of research that went into that.

Not that you have to go by someone else’s research. Like I shared above, you can just do your own. Go to a store. Call customer service. What’s the experience like? It is what it is today because employees are at wit’s end – or there are no employees (or not enough).

And don’t forget to talk to your employees. My favorite conversations happen with employees because they call it as they see it. And quite often, what I hear is this: “We don’t have the tools (or the process are broken, or the policies are outdated) to serve our customers the way they deserve to be served.” Seriously, their words. And it’s such a powerful statement – and such an affirmation of (a) what the employee experience is and (b) how the employee experience impacts the customer experience.

Take a look at the assessment below. Which of these boxes would you check for your organization?

If you want to solidify the employee experience – customer experience connection in your organization, these are just some of the things that have to be in place. In next week’s post I’ll focus on what you can do to ensure employees have a great experience. Without that, the connection is broken.

Employee experience has become a critical element of the work experience as employees believe (find meaning), become (learn and grow), and belong (connect with others). Employee experience is a lead indicator of customer experience and investor confidence. ~ Dave Ulrich, Co-founder & Principal, The RBL Group

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. In 2019, she published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. In 2021, she wrote the manuscript for her second book, Built to Win: Designing a Customer-Centric Culture That Drives Value for Your Business, which is now available to preorder on Amazon, Books A Million!, Target, Barnes & Noble, and more! Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.