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The Connection Between Customer Experience and Employee Experience

Customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) are inherently linked in more ways than one. In fact, they can even be thought of as two sides of the same coin, as they both focus on the ways in which a company’s core culture and values are put into practice. The most successful companies are the ones that understand this connection – and how it drives key goals like profit creation and innovation – and craft policies that allow both sides of the equation to support one another for a comprehensive culture of success.


Employee Experience Impacts Customer Experience

It’s a fairly simple and sensible proposition: when employees are happier and more engaged, they’re more capable of delivering a better customer experience. An exceptional employee experience is one where employees are supported to become knowledgeable, collaborative, engaged, and motivated to do their best for themselves and for the company. That, in turn, translates to a great customer experience: one capable of providing a smooth, seamless, and satisfying interaction between customer and brand.


The connection between CX and EX extends to other metrics, like innovation and profit. Forbes reports that companies ranked the top quartile for EX have double the customer loyalty of those in the bottom quartile. A 2022 study by the Harvard Business Review, meanwhile, found that if businesses “could move from the bottom quartile to the top quartile in each of the employee experience metrics we studied, they would increase their revenue by more than 50%, and profits by nearly as much.”


Engaged employees, benefiting from a positive employee experience, are more likely to provide positive interactions to customers, including:

  • More personalized interactions
  • In-depth knowledge of products and services
  • Improved recommendations and referrals to suit individual customers’ needs
  • Consistent, positive brand experiences
  • Innovative, creative approaches to problem-solving


Aligning CX and EX Values

Even when they’re not directly linked, the goals and values of CX and EX must be aligned and reflective of one another. If they aren’t, expect one – or, more likely, both – to struggle. For instance, if innovation is a key promise that a brand makes to its customers, but its employees are stuck with outdated processes and slow to adopt technology, that’s going to cause holdups down the line. If a company assures its employees that their voices are valued and their feedback is prioritized, but it doesn’t do the same for its customers, it’s likely to result in trust issues and a culture of uncertainty.


Research from the MIT Technology Review found that employees are looking for the same things from a company as customers are: primarily, personalization, values, and efficiency. It’s not about simply setting values and walking away, but about using those values as a vehicle to empower employees (and customers) to do their best work and achieve their goals. When employees have experienced the brand’s values for themselves, they believe in them and connect with them more strongly. When they have that level of connection, in turn, they are better equipped to communicate those values to customers and “live” those values, whether in direct customer-facing roles or in roles that more indirectly impact the end customer.


Efforts to ensure alignment between CX and EX may take different forms at different companies, but some methods might include:

  • Identifying how core values look from both an EX and CX perspective
  • Connecting employees more closely with customer feedback, particularly those in roles that do not directly interact with the public
  • Regularly reviewing systems, policies, and processes to rectify outdated or ineffective approaches
  • Soliciting feedback from both employees and customers to determine where there are gaps that need filling
  • Continually looking for opportunities to improve solutions and develop talent from within
  • Fostering an overall positive, inclusive culture that encourages collaboration and creativity


The Role of CX Leadership

According to Gartner, the most effective total experience transformation uses business architecture to drive the desired outcomes of collaboration, positive culture, and innovation. To make structural changes on this level, however, there must be significant buy-in from the very top.


CX leaders are the ambassadors for customer and employee experience needs, bridging between the people providing on-the-ground information and the C-suite leaders looking at the big picture. Achieving the necessary executive support requires CX leaders to evaluate and present a strong business case, connecting opportunities in CX and EX to the brand’s place in the market and benchmarks like ROI, retention, and more. Great CX leaders can take the information they have, draw the connections between CX and EX, and then communicate those connections – and their corresponding needs – to the decision-makers who can provide the necessary support.


Transformative CX leadership is critical to linking CX and EX, and to effectively managing both to drive the best business outcomes. At Blue Rock Search, our CX team specializes in identifying exceptional CX talent to fill critical roles and take your CX strategy to the next level. Contact us to learn more about our tailored executive search solutions for your next CX role.


By Dawn Russell


About the Author

As Managing Director and CX Executive Search Practice Leader for Blue Rock, Dawn brings her Social Talent Black Belt skills and deep analytic abilities to bear, developing quality talent pipelines for a variety of diverse industries focused on Customer Experience. Dawn is the only Managing Director at Blue Rock Search that is equally knowledgeable in three of our five specialties, including Customer Experience, Franchise, and Human Resources.

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