Most organisations have long understood the importance of the customer experience (CX) when it comes to business success and growth.

Businesses have subscribed to the philosophy that ‘the customer is always right’ for more than a century. Consequently, CX programs abound at most organisations, with the focus on understanding how to delight customers to the extent that they become loyal for life.

More recently, businesses have started to understand that the quality of the employee experience (EX) can directly impact the CX. Happy staff members deliver better service, which leads to increased brand loyalty, more sales, and higher profits. The result of this nascent understanding has been the proliferation of employee engagement programs at many organisations.

However, savvy organisations are just starting to understand that the real magic happens at the intersection of CX and EX, and this is giving rise to a new role; the chief experience officer.

Effective CX and EX programs are facilitated by emerging technology, which lets companies move away from the old methods of gathering feedback, namely cumbersome, infrequent surveys. Instead, companies can use technology to gain real-time insights that are actionable. The key is to get the right information to the right people, at the right time, so they can make decisions that propel the company forward.

Furthermore, businesses need to merge their CX and EX efforts to get the best results. There are five ways organisations can do this:

1. Leadership

Bringing people together depends on a strong culture of collaboration, which can only be cemented through clear leadership. Creating this culture may require a mindset shift, and leaders must be aligned around the vision and be prepared to model the desired behaviour.

2. Customer-centricity

It’s easy for organisations to say they’re customer-centric. It’s another thing entirely to actually live those values in a tangible way. Leaders must commit to customer-centricity as a long-term strategy and remain focused on communicating this goal and aligning teams accordingly. When all team members display the agreed mindsets and behaviours, customers feel the benefits through improved service.

3. Connectedness

Measuring the quality of customer service is important but employees who are incentivised based on numbers such as net promoter scores (NPS) can often miss the point. It’s more effective to encourage employees to feel connected to the customer experience and to customer outcomes. To do this, leaders must shift the focus from metrics to empowerment. This can be done through immersion and engagement programs, and specifically requires employees to understand the why as well as the how of providing great customer experiences.

4. Innovation

The working environment can have a significant impact on employees’ ability to affect CX. Customers and employees are traditionally isolated from each other; creating a shared space that reinforces connection to the customer, to each other, and to the organisation as a whole creates a more innovative and inclusive environment.

5. Monitoring

Monitoring CX and EX requires a connected data approach that uncovers the correlations between the experiences delivered across customer, employee, product, and brand. This helps leaders understand the factors that affect these experiences, which can help inform improvements. Silos of measurement prevent this holistic approach and should be avoided.

Furthermore, it’s important to map any measurements to actual business outcomes so the organisation can fully understand the value and impact of CX and EX initiatives. When these tangible benefits can be demonstrated, it becomes easier to get buy-in from the entire organisation.

Steve Bennetts, Head of EX Solutions & Strategy, APJ, Qualtrics and Vicky Katsabaris, Head of CX Solutions & Strategy, APJ, Qualtrics