January 24, 2024
The Power of Alignment: A Deep Dive into the CX-EX Fusion Trend
In today’s evolving business landscape, a transformative trend is emerging as organizations recognize the symbiotic relationship between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). Rather than viewing CX and EX as separate entities, successful organizations are bringing customer and employee experience improvements together into one end-to-end strategy. In fact, according to NTT’s State of CX 2023 report, a substantial 95% of CEOs are confident that integrating customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) strategies will result in revenue growth, enhanced business agility, and increased resilience. Despite this optimistic outlook, there is a noticeable gap in the adoption rates, with 97% of companies prioritizing CX strategies and only 81% having dedicated employee experience strategies in place.
The Relationship between CX and EX
Organizations at the forefront of this trend share a common understanding—the correlation between CX and EX is pivotal. Simply put, exceptional customer experiences stem from engaging and empowering employees first. The key lies in recognizing employees as key contributors to the customer experience, understanding the intricacies that impact EX, and enabling agents as knowledge workers.
This paradigm shift is guided by the recognition that the experiences of both customers and employees are deeply intertwined. In fact, MIT Technology Review Insights discovered that employees seek the same attributes from a brand as customers: personalization, values, and efficiency.
“To build an engaged and high-performing workforce, organizations need to reshape their employee value proposition to mirror their customer proposition for fast, convenient, and personalized experiences,” the report read.
Leah Leachman, a senior director analyst at Gartner, succinctly captures this essence: “A lot of companies think it’s about pushing a message and winning the hearts of their employees. And it’s not really about that. Most employees do really care about customers, but it’s: Are you enabling me? Are you supporting me to live up to your brand promise that you’ve made publicly? And do we have the resources?”
Harmonizing CX and EX strategies entails prioritizing your employees in a manner akin to your customers. The focus is on providing employees with work experiences that are quick, convenient, and personalized, similar to the experiences the organization aims to deliver to its customers.
Adapting to Evolving Preferences That Influence EX
Over time, there has been a shift in employee preferences. Remote work, once considered uncommon, has now become a crucial factor influencing individuals' decisions to work with a company. Similarly, we have observed a growing trend where younger employees prioritize collaborating with companies that share similar values. To effectively align CX and EX strategies, prioritize factors influencing EX, including well-being, work/life balance, engaging and fulfilling work, acknowledgment of achievements, and fostering a zero-obstacle environment.
It's crucial to recognize that recruiting, engaging, and retaining staff, particularly in customer service, present significant challenges. A 2022 survey of CX executives revealed struggles in recruiting customer support agents, with 96% reporting difficulties and 62% experiencing increased hiring costs. As Generation Z becomes a predominant part of the workforce, organizations need to create jobs that resonate with this digitally native, values-driven cohort.
Furthermore, Gen Z has high expectations for workplace technology. In fact, roughly 33% expect their employer to provide modern workplace tools and 21% say they wouldn’t tolerate being asked to use outdated technology. The key to successful engagement lies in businesses finding innovative ways to connect with employees. This can involve empowering them with insights into their own performance, as well as personalizing the experience to their preferences and needs.
“It’s important to both employees and customers that we know who they are, and we think about them as individuals—that our approach is very tailored and personalized to them,” Stephenie Tiedens, Head of Workforce and Quality Management at Principal Financial Group.
Future of Employee Experience
The future of employee experience involves being supported with AI technology in every aspect of daily work and career development. Merijn te Booij, General Manager of Workforce Engagement at Genesys, emphasizes that AI's most significant impact in customer experience lies in augmenting human resources. AI supports agents by enabling them to do their job in a more productive and effective way, ensuring a seamless workflow.
In this technological landscape, modern tools should make work easy, flexible, and more enjoyable. For instance, generative AI has huge potential in delivering efficiency in back-office tasks. Notably, agents spend a considerable portion of their day, up to 60%, on post-call notes, a process that can be fully automated with AI.
“The most important thing is to help agents be responsive and empathetic to a customer’s needs,” says Tiedens. “AI-driven agent assist, ‘next best action’, and summarization tools are critical.”
AI serves as a valuable augmentation tool for agents, offering various capabilities, such as:
- AI-based Routing: Automatically categorizes, tags, and routes requests for efficient handling.
- Enrichment: Gathers pertinent information from internal systems to reduce system-swiveling
- Knowledge Base Search: Swiftly identifies relevant articles in the knowledge base
- Generating Personalized Responses: Creates personalized responses tailored to individual customer needs.
- Resolution: Manages end-to-end resolution of messages without human intervention.
- Translations: Translates messages seamlessly from one language to another, facilitating effective communication.
Based on the Customer Service Trends 2024 report by Intercom, AI technologies are already significantly reducing the workload for support teams. The most notable impacts of AI include the analysis of customer feedback (35%), the provision of suggested responses from knowledge base content (34%), the elaboration of notes or bullet points into comprehensive answers to customer inquiries (28%), and the summarization of customer dialogues (25%).
When it comes to AI adoption, support teams are already paving the way! A 2022 global survey of CX executives found that the majority were ready to deploy AI-based technologies in the customer service environment, with a notable 93% already using or planning to adopt AI-based coaching and training recommendations within the next one to two years. Similar enthusiasm is observed for AI-based performance evaluation (92%), AI-based chatbots (90%), and real-time sentiment analysis (86%). This signals a widespread acknowledgment of AI's potential to enhance various aspects of the customer and employee experience.
The increased utilization of AI in support teams is anticipated to lead to the emergence of new roles in customer service. Contrary to being a means of reducing headcount, executives view AI as a catalyst for creating new roles and career paths. “Developing conversational AI technology requires deep knowledge of the contact center,” says Baxter Yazbek, group enterprise architect at AXA. “We have new roles, like conversation designer and chatbot trainer. It’s difficult to find those people externally,” says Yazbek. “You can find UI designers, but a conversation designer needs to know how a call center works and what a customer says when he wants to make a claim. That’s a role evolution we see for CX staff, along with other roles that oversee continuous monitoring and improvement of chatbots.”
Organizations are acknowledging the interconnected relationship between Customer Experience (CX) and Employee Experience (EX), integrating them into a unified strategy for growth, agility, and resilience. This shift recognizes that exceptional customer experiences originate from engaging and empowering employees.
Over the next few years, employees will be positioned as customer influencers and advocates, utilizing next-generation tools and technologies as a means to identify opportunities for enhancing the customer journey. AI stands as a key strategic pillar in these initiatives, driving significant efficiencies throughout the customer service environment and transforming it into a hub of customer value.