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A friend of mine recently shared a blog post with me that her stepdaughter had written for The Jay Group as part of her summer marketing intern position. In the post, she compares two important sales and marketing concepts—customer experience and customer engagement—that are often used interchangeably in the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) space. Below is an excerpt from her post:

“Customer experience is about the feelings you invoke in your customers regarding your brand. These are driven by all of the touchpoints that customers have with your brand, including those that you control and those that are outside of your control. Customer experience is arguably the most important driver of loyalty because, as the old adage goes, perception is reality. Customer engagement refers to a marketing strategy for how to interact in a two-way communication ecosystem with your customers. It’s both a strategy and a suite of tactics that companies use to create positive customer experiences and long-term customer loyalty.”

As I was reading this, I asked myself, ‘What would happen if companies took these same concepts and substituted the word “employee” for “customer”?

Employee Experience

“The feelings you invoke in your employees regarding your brand. These are driven by all of the touchpoints that employees have with your brand, including those that you control and those that are outside your control. Employee experience is arguably the most important driver of loyalty because, as the old adage goes, perception is reality. ”

According to The Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey released in June of 2014, only 47.7% of United States workers say they’re satisfied with their job. This rating has been more or less the same for the past eight years in a row. And just as dissatisfied customers don’t stay committed to your product, dissatisfied employees don’t stay committed to your company. In fact, the average worldwide voluntary turnover rates (people choosing to leave their jobs), according to The Hay Group, are expected to rise over the next 5 years, from 20.7% to 23.4%. That’s why true people leaders dedicate just as much time to employee experience as they do customer experience.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement refers to a strategy for how to interact in a two-way communication ecosystem with your employees. It’s both a strategy and a suite of tactics that companies use to create positive employee experiences and long-term employee loyalty.”

The Gallup Organization has done extensive research on employee engagement, defined by them as how active and productive employees are on their jobs. The latest Gallup study found that more than 70% of the American workforce is “unengaged,” which means they are showing up for work but are not effective while they’re there. But when you look at employee engagement in the same way companies look at customer engagement, it takes on a whole new meaning. I love the phrase “two-way communication ecosystem.” This, to me, means that there is an interaction between employees and leaders in an environment that promotes community and well-being for everyone. And this is what people leaders do: they embrace working with others to create positive outcomes, not just for themselves but for the team at large.

As a people leader, it’s crucial that you be as dedicated to strategizing, satisfying, and servicing your employees as you do your customers. If you do, you’ll be amazed at the positive results. After all, happy and loyal employees attract happy and loyal customers!

Reflection Question:   How would your employees say you treat them?  As resources or as customers?

Call for input: If you have a question about leading, supervising or managing people, please send an email to info@peopleleadership.com and the answer to your question may be featured in one of my weekly blog posts or weekly People Leadership Insights.

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