Today, we live in an experience economy wherein consumers are more inclined to part with their money for the impression an event or a collective set of occurrences leaves on them, than the acquisition of a tangible commodity. Consumers are spoilt for choice and retaining their loyalty is directly contingent upon the value they associate with their experience. Thus, customer experience (CX) matters! And who are the primary protagonists responsible for delivering this experience? These are the frontline employees who actually interface with the customers.
For instance, it may take longer for you to to get to that coffee shop or maybe the coffee there may cost a tad more, but that extra effort or expense (or even both!) could well be worth it just for that experience of being served by this friendly barista who not only knows how to do his or her job, but do it with passion; someone who takes the effort to know you and your preferences and goes that extra mile to artfully make that pattern on your cappucino froth; or someone who is simply an empathic listener as they go about brewing that perfect cuppa.
There could be several reasons like the right person for the right job thing, firing up this passion but one key attribute is this barista’s experience as an employee. And so, just like customer experience, employee experience too matters! What this coffee shop allegory suggests is that if you are well looked after, you are motivated to look after very well.
Transpose this situation beyond the coffee shop example to any other business involving frontline interaction with customers and it still holds true. Take for example airlines, banks, beauty parlors, healthcare, hotels. Customers like being recognized and so do employees. Recognition is the underlying sentiment here which is a measure of the value that customers associate with making a purchase. And this brings us to the core concept of value. How do we understand value? Value is usually associated with monetary worth but what tends to get overlooked in common discourse is it goes way beyond that. The value of an item or a service is the regard in which it is held to deserve; in other words, the degree of importance accorded to it.
Going back to coffee shop example, there are only so many customers and their preferences that can be recalled by our barista. In a large scale operation, this ‘personal touch’ seems well nigh impossible to deliver to customers and employees alike. And this is where technology can help- by tuning in to what is being talked about the brand in the digital realm by customers and giving them and the employees an easy way to provide feedback or opinions. This analysis of sentiment to a level of granularity that allows a sneak peak into customer and employee intent allows businesses to deliver at scale on that personal touch which has predominantly been the reserve of the mom and pop shops. And the best part is that though mom and pop shops may not need these digital tools to better understand their employees, these are accessible in the form and affordability to allow them to get to know their customers better. And for businesses big and small, when done on a continuous real time basis, this mining of experiences allows for curating insights at the speed of now. Knowing the pulse of the stakeholder sentiment, both customers’ and employees’, gives the ability to anticipate and thus be proactive, rather than reactive. And therein lies the true value of customer experience and employee experience.
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