June 11th 2020
The Customerholic|Customer Success Specialist|Product Manager in Transit
Customers can generally be divided into two, Internal and external customers. Who are your internal customers? Your employees.
Forrester defines customer experience as
”every interaction, or touch-point, your customer has with your brand. It not only includes the whats (the interactions), but also the hows (perceptions, feelings) the customer experiences”.
While the CustomerExperience (CX) terminology is used to describe the experiences of external customers, the experiences of Internal customers is described by the concept of EmployeeExperience (EX).
Kabeh Abhari et al (2008), defined Employee experience as “what employees perceive during their interaction with career elements (e.g. firms, supervisors, coworkers, customer, environment, etc.) that affect their cognition (rational acquisition) and affection (internal and personal acquisition) and leads to their particular behaviours”.
Employees are undoubtedly one of the biggest touch-points of a brand. They are largely responsible for shaping customer experiences and promoting continuous innovation. Essentially, when customers interact with them, whether front-line or not, by virtue of this interaction a customer experience is formed.
“Employees have more meaningful interactions with customers than other touch-points and therefore, they have more reliable insight into customers’ needs and expectation. This high level of involvement and familiarity contribute to a better understanding of customers’ experiential needs, designing and delivering service experiences.
As a result, service providers depend on employees to improve customer experience and thereby establishing emotional bond, recovering service failure, and fostering trust and loyalty” (Berry et al, 2006).
The way an employee feels about a brand would reflect in the way they treats it’s customers. You would not expect an employee who is disgruntled because of their employer or otherwise, to commit to delivering an excellent experience for customers. Hence, employers need to do more to connect with employees through internal #branding and employee #marketing, and by designing and administering work experiences that foster satisfaction and delightment.
Even your favourite search engine knows it!
Richard Branson once said
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first, If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients”.
While it’s absolutely desirable to ensure employee retention, and secure their loyalty, employers who pursue employee #advocacy would derive much more value and yield better results through their workforce, which can directly improve customer experience.
Remember when we said- Forbes said #CX is the cumulative impact of multiple touch-points over the course of a customer’s interaction? Well, let me add that the list of touch-points for a brand is not necessarily exhaustive.
With that thought, pause for a minute and think about this:
Sizwe and Brother Jero are friends. Sizwe is a customer of Apartheid Inc. and Brother Jero a customer of Giant Ventures is considering switching service providers, so he approaches his friend Sizwe and tells him about his thought. Sizwe then narrates his recent experience with his service provider- Apartheid Inc., where an impostor was able to access his account and the company was unable to detect the impersonation, which led to the impostor siphoning the lot of Sizwe’s benefits. Obviously, this isn’t a pleasant experience, and for that reason Brother Jero decided not to do business with Apartheid Inc.
Would you say Brother Jero interacted with Apartheid’s brand?
If he did, there has to be a #touch-point (a point where he came in touch with the brand) right…? you see where I’m going with this?
Your present customers can also be your brand touch-point, especially for new customers.
All of the events experienced by customers before and after a purchase are part of the customer experience. What a customer experiences is personal and may involve sensory, emotional, rational and physical aspects to create a memorable experience (Erna Andajani, 2015)
Truth is, customer experience can be shaped by direct or indirect contact with a brand.
“Indirect contact often involves advertising, news reports, unplanned encounters with sales representatives, word-of-mouth recommendations or criticisms”(Meyer and Schwager, 2007).
Shouldn’t you consider your existing customers as a touch-point on your customer journey map?
Would you highlight existing customers as a possible influencing factor in the consideration phase of your buyer journey?
It’s noteworthy that the customers’ values, but your employees contribute largely to it; so to a large extent, you have control over the experiences your customers have, and you can influence it accordingly.
Your customers would talk about how you treat them, regardless of the quality of your products.
You can be doing so well to retain your customers, so much so that they remain loyal to your brand, but you’ll run faster if you focus on converting them to advocates of your brand. In the Net Promoter System (NPS) they’re called Promoters.
What do your customers say about you?
The level of concern brands give to what customers are saying about them, would ultimately reflect through the customers’ word-of-mouth.
Summarily, it is not enough to have loyal employees and loyal customers. To excel in the experience economy (that we are in today), brands have to be deliberate about ensuring that internal and external customers are actively promoting their businesses; and one sure way to achieve this, is by delivering on brand promises, and evoking delightsome experiences for employees and customers.