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EX and CX Integration: Why You Need a ‘Better Together’ Strategy

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Image: phodo - Alamy Stock Photo
As we edge closer to the start of a new year, revisiting employee experience (EX) for 2023 should be very much on the minds of HR and other business leaders—and, as I noted in a previous post, the outlook for related technology spending looks strong.
This is good news, and opportunities to improve, if not transform, EX are plentiful, from modernizing the company intranet, to providing actionable insights, establishing seamless communications and training, and so much more. For those companies that haven’t yet done so, I’d also encourage adoption of a “better together” strategy that links EX to customer experience (CX), another critically important initiative for most.
In our Employee Experience & Workforce Engagement: 2022-23 research study of 250 companies across the globe, we found that 55.2% of the most successful companies, as determined by revenue growth, cost reduction, employee satisfaction gains, and employee retention improvements, vs. 44.4% of our non-success group, correlate EX and CX improvements. In fact, across 14 EX goals , this resulted in the biggest success correlation—ahead of initiatives like building shared communities of interest, providing engagement insights, and measuring collaboration tool to guide productivity improvements (see chart below).
At a high level, correlating EX and CX data allows business leaders to understand how EX impacts specific customer experiences, as well as the customer relationship overall. EX here mostly applies to customer-facing employees, whether they are contact center agents, sales personnel, service professionals, and so on. But as we found in our EX study, 65.5% of companies use the same set of EX tools to support both their knowledge workers and their customer-facing workers. As such, they can take a big-picture view to determine overall how EX programs are benefiting, or not, the customer experience.
Once a company has integrated EX and CX data, they can run a variety of analytics against it. For example, they can:
  1. Measure and compare employee and customer sentiment – As an example, a company might assess how a new policy affects both sides of a customer interaction. Are agents happier working from home than when in the office? When asked to rate how happy they are with a service engagement, are customers happier when dealing with at-home agents vs. in-office agents? This knowledge could come in handy in crafting hybrid or flexible work plans for contact center agents.
  2. Determine which employee experiences drive improvements in customer satisfaction—or have the opposite effect – If a company can connect the dots between specific EX improvements and customer satisfaction, then it can better determine where to invest time and effort around EX development. Did customer satisfaction ratings improve following implementation of a program aimed at keeping employees better informed but stay flat when measured following a community-building initiative? With this insight, HR leaders can prioritize spend on next-step EX improvements.
  3. Identify trends across employee and customer bases – Being able to spot trends can help companies stay ahead of issues that might negatively impact employee and customer experiences. This could entail sensitivity training for all employees, with a focus on how to be empathetic during customer engagements.
Additionally, bringing together EX and CX platforms allows companies to share customer feedback through EX channels. Among other benefits, this provides an immediacy factor, removing the feeling of disconnect that can happen between interaction and feedback mechanism.
Medallia and Qualtrics are among vendors enabling CX and EX integration in their experience platforms, which they’re continually fine-tuning. Earlier this year, for example, Qualtrics introduced a set of EX and CX management products that let companies gather and analyze data from structured and unstructured sources, including conversations, company forums, and social media posts, so they can then take action on the insights discovered. The intention is to allow companies to determine how a customer or employee felt during an interaction, their intent, how much or little difficulty they experienced, and whether empathy was displayed. This speaks to the first capability I mentioned above: measuring and comparing employee and customer sentiment.
EX and CX initiatives on their own can deliver value, no doubt. But integrating EX and CX is a worthwhile “better together” strategy to pursue.