A quick Google search will bring up a plethora of reasons why a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) is important for an organisation. Indeed, we've previously put forth our thoughts regarding the importance of a CXO for an organisation. Many sites emphasise the impact of a CXO in terms of their potential impact on the customer experience (CX). Of course, CX is a very important part of a CXO's role. The modern experience economy means that organisations now need to make concerted efforts to let customers know that their time as well as their money is best spent with them. This is where the importance of a CXO comes to light as they will work to ensure that the customer has the best or most memorable/enjoyable experience journey throughout their dealings or interactions with the company.
However, we haven't seen a lot of mention in regards to the employee experience (EX). Given our company mantra is to improve employee experience, we'd like to expand upon our previous thoughts on the importance of CXOs and explain why their focus should not just be on the customers, but also on the employees: those whose experience is important for themselves and the business and who often contribute exponentially to overall customer experience.
Why is the Balance Important?
To start and jump off of what we've spoken of previously, companies that focus too much on CX and neglect EX may face high staff turnover and a lack of innovative thinking. Complaints about the working environment, bad professional relationships and tools/equipment/IT that employees are using may become a regular occurance. This bears talking about not just because employees deserve a good experience and supportive working environment, but also because considering employees as well as customers goes a long way to helping CX. Think of it as maintaining the right balance between good CX and EX providing a lovely augment to the existing CX.
As an example, the modern coffee shop experience encapsulates how a balanced focus on CX and EX can benefit the overall CX. Many coffee shop brands follow the approach of creating a pleasant environment for their customers that turn the act of buying a coffee into an experience where they can meet, relax and remember fondly. Many factors encourage this, from dulcet lighting, decoration and music. Also a major factor in this experience is the interaction between barista and customer.
Coffee culture is such that nowadays a friendly conversation, usually about the variety of coffee bean the customer can choose, is also part of the experience. If the CXO of a coffee company only focused on the customer, you could argue the CX would still be good as long as the employee is happy to contribute to this experience. However, if the employee does not feel that their experience as an employee is valued, they may not be engaged in their overall role that contributes to the CX. If the customer feels a dissonance between the employee and expected atmosphere, it is likely to affect their overall experience.
This in turn can have consequences for the business. In their Ted talk, Rom Hendler explains the commodification of the hotel industry, a big component of which is user reviews becoming a crucial part of selling your hotel as a desirable place for customers. User reviews are powerful in modern times as they are the frequently-cited factor that sways our decision to spend our time and money with a business. The modern customer is often more savvy to corporate speak in terms of advertising, and more inclined to seek out the experiences of other people to help make their own decisions. This may explain the big push to supporting CX, but we can't risk losing sight of EX, not just because it should be a part of every organisation, but because of the lengths it goes to supporting CX.
If our customer in the coffee shop feels the aforementioned dissonance, they may refrain from recommending that business to friends, or actively participate in the business by reflecting the disappointment of their experience in the form of a negative review. It is certainly in businesses' best interests to avoid this, and so we can see why considering the EX as well as CX is an important part of an CXO's role.
How a CXO can Influence EX
We've spoken a lot about the benefits of supporting employee experience so we won't reiterate those points here. Instead, we'll elaborate on what a CXO can do to address EX, starting with a point we made in our first CXO article:
Increasing employee understanding among corporate leaders and championing their perspective in decision-making
Given their C-suite position, a CXO may have more influence when it comes to advocating for employees' concerns with corporate leaders, typically the people who have the power to make positive changes in EX. We've heard of situations like this from experience experts in our 7 questions feature, specifically taking user/customer thoughts and feedback back to management to improve the service they provide. This is often met with a sense of unimportance from some areas, but as we've covered, and as our experience experts point out, caring for employees goes a long way to caring for your business. We can increase productivity, profitability and reputation. It's a given, therefore, that as well as taking feedback from customers, CXOs should also be listening to employees in order to nurture the business fully.
This leads nicely to a second initiative a CXO can lead:
Driving purposeful, disciplined design and execution of customer and employee experiences
With the wants and needs of the employees understood, the CXO can drive discussions around designing and executing the means of improving their employees experience. This can be achieved via an XLA. To break it down to its most basic parts, understanding the needs of employees before looking internally to what is currently available, and what could be acquired, is the core practice of utilising available and acquirable resources to measure and manage employee experience.
This could be a case of understanding employee sentiment from a regular form of Experience Survey, e.g., after every 5th till transaction, our coffee shop employee being offered the chance to provide some quantitative or qualitative metric regarding their experience with the device. This can be a great source of understanding what employees finding lacking in their experience and provides a great jumping point for the CXO to work with in attempt to resolve. This example brings home why EX is just as important as CX. If employees are frustrated by their till software, but all the focus is going onto the CX, how can the employee be the integral part of CX that they are in this situation?
Monitor and manage the employee experience as well as the customer experience
It is all well and good to design and deliver the means of improving EX, but if we can't measure it, we cannot say if there has been any effect. Having the data to hand answers the question, so what? Now, as we cover in our Mastering the XMO course, we need to answer, what now? What can we do with all this data and context we have to improve EX? Taking the example above, we may look into and work to resolve any frustrations being encountered with the digital tech we use for our everyday roles.
One tool in which can help here is Nexthink. Nexthink allows for end-to-end digital employee experience analytics, and can empower employees to be more productive by enabling more productive workspaces to be maintained through proactive support for employee IT issues. If your CXO is able to monitor the ongoing digital experience of employees, either through Nexthink or another DEX tool, they will be able to identify and work to fix IT frustrations by pointing them out to the right people.
We've spoken a lot about employee experience here, but it should be emphasised again that there needs to be a balance between CX and EX. In just one example we've seen how they are both intrinsically linked. Maintaining a healthy 50-50 link between designing and executing purposeful customer and employee experiences is the optimum goal here. If you would like to learn more about how Bright Horse can support you in supporting your employees, feel free to explore our consulting services. Alternatively, you can contact us for more details. We'd love to hear from you.
Youtube.com. 2017. The Experience economy - the demise of the hotel's brand | Rom Hendler | TEDxEilat. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMhwojZBJVk&list=WL&index=21 Accessed: October 2022.