Customer Experience deserves an organization-wide approach. It is not a project with marketing, sales and service. Every moment the customer is in contact with your organization adds to the whole experience. In order to offer an optimal CX, the employees and therefore the contribution from HR are essential. It’s time to break the silos for a holistic approach to CX.
For the CX trend report from Beeckestijn Business School, expert Kees Kerkvliet shares his vision of the employee experience (EX). As CEO of TOTE-M, Kees helps many organizations optimize CX.
The relationship between CX and EX
‘The fact that good employership and employee experience are important for healthy business operations is a dead end in 2022. Under pressure from a tense labor market, the latecomers in the field are now reluctantly stepping up. Unfortunately, many companies in this area miss the mark. Employer branding campaigns are rolled out with great fanfare, provided with apps, videos, games and other means of communication, and the table tennis and pool tables adorn the modern office garden. Perhaps these measures will lead to a better positioning on the labor market and a better collegial bond between the employees. But they make a limited contribution to one of the most strategic goals of any organization: delivering a distinctive and memorable customer experience.’
Unfortunately, this objective is mainly mentioned in the marketing and service department’s annual plans and not in the HR department’s. It is high time that the disciplines come together and see the organization as a brand. A brand where clear promises and values can be recognized about what you want to mean to your stakeholders (with the customer first). If it is clear what you want to mean to the customer in what way, this gives direction to what you expect from the employees in terms of attitude and behavior, this subsequently contributes to the feeling of pride and importance! So maybe we should reverse the oft-mentioned ‘no CX without EX’: no good employee experience without a good customer experience.’
Employee experience after Covid-19
What has changed in the employees’ experience after Covid-19?
‘Many companies feel that the dynamic has changed completely. On the one hand, there is a greater need among employees to improve attachment to colleagues, on the other hand, employees see flexibility/freedom as an acquired right, and they do not want to be imposed upon when they have to be present on site. It provides an additional challenge in realizing a customer-oriented culture, something EX should focus on.’
How do you ensure that the employee experience remains well aligned with the customer experience when working from home?
Communication is everything, always! Ensure that all communication from the organization, formal and informal, is always about the customer. Here storytelling has become even more important. Managers must become true storytellers who, in line with the brand’s values and the resulting promises, cite the right examples, compliment the right behavior and explain why this behavior contributes to the objectives/promises and at the same time focus on great customer successes.’
Culture, EX and CX
‘The employee experience is the result of the culture a company has. I think a good definition of culture is how we behave when the customer isn’t looking. Are we still that personable, proactive, passionate, involved and service-oriented, etc.?’
What can you as an organization do to create a culture where both EX and CX thrive? “It is of course difficult to describe it with a few lines, but broadly it is about having a clear vision of what you stand for as a brand. The values and promises are central here, i.e. is the compass on which the organization sails. Make sure disciplines are aligned around this story and leaders are living this together. Unfortunately, I see many management development programs in which the customer and the brand do not have a central place or are the framework around which competences such as ‘delegating’ and ‘coaching’ are suspended. In my opinion, you are completely wrong…’
AFAS as an inspiring example
Which organization do you think is doing very well in EX and CX? “A good example in this context is AFAS. This company has very clear values (trust, crazy, family, do) that are the compass in everything they do. This is clearly chosen during the acceptance procedure. Once hired, you experience a strong leadership that rules hard on these values, even if these values can seem a little soft. As they say themselves: soft on the relationship, hard on the content and the result.
Once a month there is a cultural café for all (more than 500) employees, where Bas van der Veldt (CEO) presents the ‘AFAS Good/Bad news show’, introduces new employees, shares customer stories, people share joys and sorrows and, of course, , the monthly figures not included! The nice thing is that as an external interested party you can also go to this culture cafe, are you curious? So take a look at the AFAS website.’
CX Trend Report 2022
This interview is part of the cx trend report 2022. Discover which five fundamental elements you as a brand or organization cannot possibly ignore for a good cx. The report covers the basics in detail with inspiring cases. From Apple to the Ritz-Carlton and Southwest Airlines. Download the trend report and discover how to take customer experience to the next level.
Download the CX report ››
This trend report was written in collaboration with InSites Consulting.
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This article is the result of the initiative of the Beeckestijn Business School.