Required Reading: The Experience Mindset Is All About a Balance
An overemphasis on customer experience came at the expense of employee experience, so it should surprise no one that employees have abandoned companies in droves, according to Tiffani Bova, global customer growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce. In The Experience Mindset: Changing the Way You Think About Growth, she argues that to achieve growth, leaders need to manage the employee experience and customer experience at the same time, from the top down. CRM editor Leonard Klie interviewed her to find out how this can be done.
CRM: What is the Experience Mindset and why does it matter?
Bova: While many companies are clear on the importance of seamless customer experience and its impact on growth, the role employee experience plays has yet to be fully quantified or understood. Leaders feel they can only focus on one stakeholder or the other: customers or employees.
Instead, they must leverage both customer experience and employee experience in a more intentional and balanced way to accelerate growth. An increased focus on employee experience can increase revenue by more than 50 percent and profits by nearly as much. Companies with high customer experience and employee experience exhibit a three-year compound annual growth rate almost double (8.5 percent) those with low customer and employee experience (4.4 percent).
Unfortunately, according to new research, nine in 10 C-suite executives encourage their employees to focus on customer needs above all else. The pervasive view is that executives must throw their time and resources behind customers and their experiences if they want to grow the business.
Therein lies the rub. For years, positive customer satisfaction scores and good-enough growth masked that the employee experience had been suffering at the hands of a maniacal focus on customer experience. Companies can have good customer experience and poor employee experience and still grow. They can even have good-enough employee experience and good-enough customer experience and still grow. But to multiply growth, you need to do both well.
Which departments should be reengineered with this mindset?
This is not about a new role in the C-suite, resources, budget, or headcount. Ultimately, having an Experience Mindset is a new operating model and an intentional, holistic approach that considers both employee and customer experiences when making decisions. There still needs to be accountability and a strategic mandate to get this moving forward. Recalibration must be supported from the top, but that doesn’t mean that middle managers and individual contributors won’t have a say. Due to the cross-functional requirements, there needs to be input and ownership from IT, HR, marketing, sales, and customer success.
How do companies instill this mindset among their employees, especially with so many still working remotely?
This is where company culture plays such a big role. If leadership has improved transparency and communication, allowing for greater alignment and understanding of the decisions made, employees will become more receptive. It does not mean that they will just agree and be happy with those decisions, but they will better understand why things are being done and how they will affect their day-to-day activities. High-performing organizations have clear lines of frequent, relevant communication that leads to greater connection between employers and employees.
Who should be responsible for instilling and maintaining this mindset?
This is the responsibility of the entire executive team, mid-level managers, and individual contributors. The entire organization must get on board. When done right, everyone would hold each other accountable for ensuring a better balance between efforts done for customers and for employees. Creating more work for employees just to satisfy the ever-increasing expectations of customers is a recipe for disaster.
You single out IBM, BestBuy, Airbnb, and others as successful case studies. How have they implemented this strategy, and what benefits have they seen as a result?
I chose those companies to highlight how each was already on the path to leading with an experience mindset, not that they followed my advice. Each was a way for me to share how others might want to develop a more balanced operating philosophy to take care of both customers and employees. Companies that got this right saw 1.8 times faster growth than those that were only good at CX or EX but not both.
What is the one message you want readers to take away from this book?
The fastest way to get customers to love your brand is to get employees to love their jobs.