Engaging Employees For Customer Experience Success: Your Questions Answered

Earlier this month, I delivered a webinar about sharpening customer experience focus with employee engagement. I described the correlation between more engaged employees and better performance on business and customer metrics. I shared examples of how companies are planning, socializing, and reinforcing engagement in ways that drive improved customer experience outcomes. There were some great questions posed during the call, and I wanted to answer them again here.
 
Q: What are the measurements or the questions being asked to gauge employee engagement?
 
A: Virtually all companies measure employee engagement today. I would encourage everyone to take a look at their existing employee engagement survey to see what questions are being asked in their organizations. Here are some examples of the broad categories typically covered in employee engagement surveys:
  • Employee Net Promoter Score (NPS), loyalty, and satisfaction.
  • Support and competence of direct managers.
  • Confidence in the company’s vision and mission.
  • Belief that company is customer-focused.
  • Clear communication and collaborative work environment.
  • Growth and career opportunities.
  • Empowerment and flexibility, including autonomy and work-life balance.
  • Rewards and recognition.
Q: Should we group employees in segments or personas in the same way we do customers for customer experience (CX)?
 
A: Deeper understanding of employees' sentiments and motivations is an important part of improving employee engagement. My colleagues Kerry Bodine and Amelia Sizemore are working on research right now on designing the employee experience and should have recommendations for how to address the diverse needs of workers. To get started, look at existing data you have about your employees. For example, employee engagement survey results will expose patterns of more engaged and less engaged workers. Look for correlations between engagement and other variables like tenure or role. Identify patterns that provide a starting point for differentiating between groups of employees, and include those distinctions in employee engagement action plans. 
 
Q: How do you recommend engaging noncustomer-facing employees in the process?
 
A: Noncustomer-facing employees play important — if not immediately obvious — roles in delivering customer experiences. Tools like customer experience ecosystem maps are a great way to visualize the connections between customer journeys and the roles behind-the-scenes workers play in supporting those journeys. I recommend mapping the entire customer experience ecosystem and involving back-office employees in the process, both to include their knowledge in the maps and to show them the links between their day-to-day activities and the customer experience. 
 
This was followed by a related question.
 
Q: What about situations when your customers are your coworkers?
 
A: Helping noncustomer-facing employees to think of their coworkers more as their customers bolsters efforts to improve engagement and customer experience. Some companies use their customer metrics for internal employees as well. For example, Safelite AutoGlass uses NPS for its customer interactions and uses the same metrics with employees who have interactions with their colleagues. Using the same metric aligns internal interactions with customer interactions and reinforces the importance of treating coworkers well.
 
Q: How are you seeing internal social activity linked to employee engagement?
 
A: There was a great example shared on the webinar chat that attendees might have missed: “We use Chatter at the US General Services Administration. It has been very helpful in knowing more about what is going on in our 12,000-person organization. We high-five colleagues on Chatter when they do good things for customers.” I think that’s a great example of how internal social activity can sustain and deepen employee engagement initiatives. Platforms like Chatter and Yammer give employees a way to share great customer stories and to be more connected with their colleagues across the organization. 
 
My employee engagement report has many more examples and recommendations on how to sustain customer experience focus through employee engagement. And I’ll be speaking more about the connection between employee engagement and customer experience at Forrester's Forum For Customer Experience Professionals on October 9th and 10th in Los Angeles. I hope to see you there.