Customer experience management company Medallia has teamed up with Fred Reichheld and formed will serve as the exclusive licensing partner for his employee engagement platform HuddleUp. "The relationship [with Reichheld] is four years on paper right now," Dorian Stone, vice president of customer experience strategy at Medallia, says; but he suggests that it is likely to extend for longer as the parties continue to work together.
One major focus of the partnership, Stone says, is "unlocking the value of employees," and "pushing thinking in the space."
Reichheld is best known for inventing the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Introduced in 2003, the NPS is a widely used customer loyalty metric that relies on user feedback to determine how likely a customer is to recommend a product or service. It has been incorporated into the offerings of a number of CRM providers, such as Zendesk.
Medallia believes the key to improving customer experience lies not just in being totally customer-centric, but also in building a committed workforce that takes pleasure in its contributions. Stone mentions that while not widely advertised, Medallia has done work and research on employee engagement and found that many businesses could use a boost in this department. In most businesses, he says, less than 30 percent of employees are engaged. One mistake companies make is in not realizing that employee satisfaction can lead to increased customer satisfaction, and that the two are connected. "If you have a world where more and more customers are empowered, those customers are also employees," Stone points out, "[and] they're bringing a lot of [their] expectations into the workforce."
"The continuity of customer experience starts at the employee level," Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research, says. "If you don't know the sentiment of your customer-facing employees, how can you succeed? I think this is a smart partnership and good first start.
While the initiative might seem like a change of direction for Medallia, a company that has been largely dedicated to customer experience over the years, Stone suggests it is more in line with its overall vision than it would appear. By teaming with HuddleUp, the company hopes to leverage the expertise of its experienced staff to broaden the offerings of its own platform.
HuddleUp allows employees to share feedback with each other on performance and gives mangers detailed reports that aim to foster better collaboration. "Openness and collaboration" are areas that are "critical to staying aligned around changing customer needs," the company said in a statement. Stone anticipates that the workplace is going to be further effected by changes that are not entirely clear yet, but nevertheless imminent.
The companies haven't begun developing any products yet, but Stone assures that the thought leadership and direction of Reichheld will factor into future projects. "We'd like to accelerate the learning and thinking on [the employee engagement] front into Medallia for future product development," he says. "That [includes] tangible functionality, workflows, [and] simple...,very effective user experience and front end for a whole new level of engagement."