With a raging pandemic and the “great resignation” upon us, customer experience (CX) and employee engagement (also known as employee experience, or EX) have been at the top of just about every company’s “must solve for” list.
Now while these two things are important — critical even — something is missing. For some time now, we’ve been addressing and attempting to solve for the customer experience and employee experience as two separate initiatives, treating them as siloes. When in fact, these two initiatives tie together more closely than we may have realized.
An employee will never treat a customer better than they treat themselves. Therefore without an employee experience plan in place, any customer experience plan will fail. And without customers, there’s no need for employee experience! The two are interrelated — and to demonstrate how to bridge those initiatives, here’s a brief FAQ on the important questions I’m asking and answering in this space.
Q. So now that we have customers and we know we need employees to serve those customers, what’s the bridge between employee experience and customer experience?
A. Spoiler alert, workforce management (WFM) is the answer! It is the great equalizer. In its simplest form, workforce management is the art and science of ensuring a company has the right people with the right skills doing the right task at the right time.
While workforce management, also coined as workforce engagement management (WEM), has always been a fairly complex topic to tackle for organizations. With all these improvements to technology like AI, agent assist, machine learning, etc., we’ve added an extra layer of complexity that we (the industry) haven’t started to look at yet.
Q. Why does this extra layer of technological complexity matter?
A. Well, consider this. When workforce management was simple (and I say that lightly), we had single channels like phone, email, chat in which customers could engage with us.
For the workforce management teams, this meant we would forecast that channel’s volume and staffing requirements.
As we introduce more and more technology like AI that allows a customer to engage with bots, move to a chat powered by conversational AI, then to a video call in a single interaction, this prompts us to think about workforce management much differently.
Until this industry problem gets resolved, it runs the risk of still having a customer experience and employee experience gap. You either have drastically overstaffed companies, which means employees are bored out of their minds and unengaged — and you’re paying the price. Or — you’ll be understaffed because workforce management professionals have miscalculated the staff required to pick up where the AI or other enhanced technology left off.
Q. Do I have a complete answer to this equation?
A. Nope. But I do believe that companies must start with the discipline of WFM and reverse engineer to solve for the greater challenge on the horizon of customer experience and employee experiences.
Q. Do I foresee this coming as a problem down the line?
A. Absolutely. How we begin to address this will be critical to the success of how we roll out customer experience and employee experience programs.
Now you tell me – how has your company started to address this issue? Please contact me
to submit questions and inquiries on this particular topic.