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Poor Employee Experience is Hurting Customer Experience. That Must Change

I just came back from a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. What made the trip so special wasn’t the rides but the interactions with the employees. Disney calls its employees “cast members” and every single one of them delivered an amazing customer experience which made me ask myself “What is Disney doing to swim against the tide of the Great Resignation that is having such a huge impact on service companies across the country?”

Three things stood out to me:

  1. The employees really wanted to be there and deliver an excellent customer experience whether they were cleaning the street or dressed as Goofy.
  2. Everyone knew and followed the rules, including current health and safety guidelines.
  3. Despite the new measures, the Customer Experience at Disney World continued to be exceptional.

I think that what Disney has figured out is that if you want to deliver an exceptional Customer Experience then you have to start with the Employee Experience.

The Employee Experience (EX)  is composed of three components: People, Process, and Technology. Not all these components are weighted equally. The biggest element of Customer Experience at any organization is its employees. Employees interact with applications and the corresponding business processes to drive these outcomes. So why does investment in Employee Experience [expected to be $370 million USD by 2026, per Zion Market Research] pale in comparison to the$640 billion USD global spend on Customer Experience? How are companies measuring the lived experiences of their employees in the moments that matter the most?

There is plenty of incentive for companies to invest in the Employee Experience, beyond creating an environment where people want to come [and stay] work. According to a 2017 Accenture Study, CX leaders are 11% more profitable and have a 17% advantage regarding customer loyalty, compared to peers in their industry. A Gallup study found that disengaged employees cost US companies between $450-$550 billion USD annually.

At a time when there is a record number of employees quitting, companies must invest in Employee Experience. This goes beyond offering your employees unlimited Cold-Brew Coffee on tap or paid subscription to Headspace. The investment must happen across all components of EX and should be measurable in terms of the impact on the employee [and ultimately the customer] experience. This starts with senior leadership. Employee Experience (like Customer Experience) should be a part of the cultural identity of the organization. It is something that is defined at the top levels of the organization and must permeate throughout the organization. This means taking actions such as targeted training and development investments for team members, best-in-class application, and system performance, and having a roadmap of initiatives that will shape the Employee Experience now and in the future.