From Customer Experience to Operating Result

By Eric Lemage - Business Coach

Recently, my son-in-law, Fredo De Smet gave me a book about the impact of Artificial Intelligence on customer experience. This was the trigger for me to find out what the relationship is between 'Customer Experience' and 'Employee Experience' on the one hand, and to what extent the same technologies can be used for both of them.

Why focus on both CX and EX?

Both Customer Experience (CX) and Employee Experience (EX) are top-of-mind for every manager. The reason is simple. Standing out from the competition by means of a unique product and/or service is no longer a viable solution today. The only solution is to optimise the experience of the customer and the employee throughout their entire life cycle. But why both CX and EX? Because in the meantime it has been undeniably proved that the experience and the commitment of your employees have a huge impact on the way your company, product or service is perceived by your (potential) customers.

This is all a fascinating and at the same time extremely challenging situation and there are several reasons for this. The first is certainly the fact that both CX and EX are evidence of a holistic approach, which once and for all puts an end to silo (departmental) thinking and working. A second reason is the fact that both CX and EX are cyclic processes. So they have both a start and an end-point but they repeat themselves again and again. Both are subject to changes in time and each phase is inevitably influenced by the previous one. The proposed sequence in my images is consequently not compulsory. A third reason is that optimal monitoring, influencing and optimising both customer experience and employees experience without technological support has become impossible. On the one hand, to steer the cross-functional processes in the right direction and, on the other hand, to be able to process the mass of cross-functional data into useful policy information.

So, is silo-thinking and working wrong then? 

When you look at both the Customer Life Cycle and the Employee Lifecycle, you notice that for each phase you're really using different ways and means to obtain positive customer/employee experience. But at the same time, it becomes clear that different people from different departments often have to contribute their part even phase by phase. Mutual consultation and feedback is essential to ensure that the total experience cycle of both the customer and the employee is positive. A good example of this can be found in the second part of my interview with Jonas Van Herck, HR & Culture Manager at Protime. So, a more nuanced answer. On the one hand, 'silo' thinking and working is needed, so that the employees concerned don’t lose their focus while doing their jobs but, on the other hand, 'silo' thinking and working with blindfolds on (without cross-functional consultation and feedback) is more than ever fundamentally wrong.

This approach also requires us not only to revise our vision of productivity but also how we can improve it. In a purely production environment, the work will initially be to improve productivity in the production process. It's hardly surprising that the dimension of time in this kind of environment is so important. But the commitment of the employee also comes into play here. Take a look at my interview with Erik Vandyck, HR-Manager of the chemical production company Arlanxeo in this connection. In all other sectors of industry, the productivity of the company is much more dependent on the performance of the employees themselves. So, the processes may be clear, but the efficiency and quality of implementation remain difficult to analyse and improve. Take a look at my interview with HR-Manager of a bank in Luxemburg in this regard. In fact, you can only influence them. So this explains the end of the ‘Command & Control’ era. But what is the alternative? How do you get a grip on the productivity of your employees? There are four important dimensions to which you as a manager today must pay attention: the commitment of your employees, the effectiveness of their efforts, the cross-functional collaboration in your company and finally the efficiency of your business processes.

Hope to see you soon

In my next article I will look in detail at the importance of introducing new technologies and how certain technologies in the context of 'Customer Experience' slowly but surely find their way to the benefit of the 'Employee Experience'. 

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