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Customer-Centric is Great for CX, but Employee-Centric is Even Better

11 Apr, 2019

There's nothing wrong with being customer-centric. In fact, CX is the order of the day for almost any business you can imagine. But you may find problems with tipping the scale too far in that direction. 

You can't have truly good CX without equally good EX.

You have to make your employees happy before you can expect them to make dozens of customers happy every hour, day-in, day-out. 

No exceptions. 

Balancing CX and EX is Vital to your Strategy

As with all things, balancing your priorities is crucial when it comes to distributing resources between CX and EX. You can't generate repeat business without happy customers, but you can't possibly generate happy customers with unhappy employees.


perfectly balanced

That brings us to crux of the problem: making people happy. You can't force it. They can't really force it either. They can fake it, but contrary to popular belief, faking a smile can work both ways depending on the person, their situation, and their beliefs. 

So you say your customers are the most important thing to your organization? Why then are you overlooking the satisfaction and experience of your customer-facing employees?

CX expert Annette Franz on why employee experience comes first

Low-paid, customer-facing workers tend to have the worst EX

Pay is kind of a big deal; that's a no-brainer. Easing financial burdens is the reason people get jobs in the first place. But while paying employees adequately does wonders to their output, it is not enough to make that job experience "worth it".

Take Publix for example. The Florida-based supermarket chain has long made its value proposition about three things: cleanliness, customer service, and employee relations. Check, check and check --with a caveat: part-timers. 

publix

I used to work there for a few years while putting myself through college, so disclaimer: I may be a bit biased. But a trawl through Indeed.com and the numerous comments related to employee turnovers gave me reason to think my sub-par experience as a part-timer wasn't unique. 

It was a decent wage (about $10.75 an hour) but it was certainly nothing special, and still well below the growing national push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The problem is that although usually occupying front-end, customer-facing positions, part-timers tend to be the lowest priority of a company.

While to a degree it's understandable, given the fact that part-timers tend to be temporary, or high turnover. Companies many times feel that training and rewarding part-timers is a poor investment.

But as long as they work in your establishment, branding your logo on their shirts, these people are the embodiment of your company and your brand to your customers.

Customer facing positions are THE MOST IMPORTANT jobs in your organization and they require the very best training and incentives in order to do the very best job possible. 

Customer service and call-center workers are also overlooked

Service employees generate and handle more money for their corporation than they net for themselves by a huge margin, and that can make them feel sorely undervalued. 

170425-stressed-woman-at-desk-ac-1205p_c9250b2fa42f9278df54b975d7a46a32.nbcnews-fp-1200-630

Also, studies show that call-center and customer service workers deal with high stress, depression, and anxiety. The hours are long and the pay is low. It is one of the areas with highest burnout rates and employee turnover in the country. 

In fact, the QATC has found that the average annual turnover rate for contact center agents in the US ranges between 30-45 percent; more than double the average for all occupations in the U.S.

But these employees are the first line of defense for your company when an internal process or product fail. Customers tend to get on the line or chat with a representative in a combative stance-- ready to wage war. They are usually high-strung, aggravated, and in many cases, abusive.

Proper training, corporate wellness, and education programs can help employees deal with the emotional abuse, the stress, and other challenges of the job and even be more empathetic with customer issues. 

Shep Hyken on how to Create Loyalty with amazing customer service

The backbone of your profit lies on the shoulders of the employees your customers see 

I've experienced it firsthand, as has virtually anyone who's worked in retail. You can have the most beautiful, cleanest, best-stocked store in the world, or the most amazing service money can buy, but if the customer service experience is a wash, it won't matter.

Customers will gravitate to the company that values their time and their business, with few exceptions. Especially when access to all the information you could ever want about competing businesses is a quick google away. 

Setting up your employees to deliver the best possible experiences and giving them the tools to do so is essential to create positive memorability for your brand.

And never forget that your customers aren't the only people that can walk out the door. Employees have that power too, so treat them with the same respect you give your customers. 

You can't have truly good CX without equally good EX. It's like trying to put the cart before the horse. 

cart before horse

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