Why Your Employee Experience Journey Matters
This week, Andy Newman wrote a great article in The New York Times about the life of a retail sales agent. He used the example of an Old Navy sales associate’s employee experience in Manhattan. And he walked the reader through the retail worker’s use of multiple apps needed to meet customers’ omnichannel expectations.
This quote says it all: “… dashing back and forth between stockroom and fitting room and sales floor, online and in-store, juggling the hats of cashier and cheerleader and personal shopper and visual merchandiser and database manager.”
This sounds all too familiar. Airline gate agents need to use a similar number of applications to seat a family together on a flight. Why is there so much complexity in employee life across industries? And what can we do as customer experience professionals to help our clients design better employee experiences?
A lot, actually. The three main solutions to frontline employee stressors are a well designed customer experience strategy; a mapped out employee journey that drives the design and integration of every new tool; and a cross functional, agile approach to building technology solutions that includes frontline employees in the design phase.
Customer Experience Strategy
Without a defined strategy that zooms in on the primary target customer, companies get lost trying to be everything to everyone. Sometimes, this is caused by fear of missing out on a future customer by not meeting his/her needs today. Other times, internal political dynamics drive indecisiveness. Still other times, it is the result of a missing corporate and brand strategy.
See, it is impossible to define a coherent customer experience strategy if it is not clear what an organization stands for. Or what its competitive advantage in a crowded market place is. Defined priorities and channels come from defined customer experience strategy.
Now, it is important to remember that brands cannot do everything at the same time. For instance, are you pushing loyalty/store credit card/email collection at the cashier retail touchpoint? In the Old Navy example, the store is doing all three. But it can get a bit too “salesy” when your frontline is pushing more than one thing at a single touchpoint. An alternate strategy could be to offer none of this in-store, in order to shorten lines.
Defining Customer Experiences
In the example of the airport terminal, the trade offs are always revenue generation versus elevated experience. At JetBlue, a defined customer experience strategy helped us decide against upsell screens at kiosks during the check-in touchpoint. We made this choice because we knew we wanted to eliminate lines at check-in.
The result created fast digital experience at the self check-in kiosks. So, what did that mean for our frontline employees? It meant they had no tools to solve time consuming problems. Further, it meant that we KNOWINGLY disabled employee technology features at that touchpoint in the name of speed.
To soften this blow, we trained our crewmembers on hospitality standards so they could direct our customers to the help desk in a warm and friendly way. The result? No long lines in the JFK lobby, even during peak hours. We could not have made these decisions and achieved this intended outcome without a well defined customer experience strategy supported by all members of the executive team.
Employee Experience Strategy, Employee Journey
The siloed view of employee experience is the main driver of the Frankenstein design of the employee journey. Organizations lack the one representation of frontline employees in the organization. As a result, employee use of technology is an afterthought. So inefficiencies and inconveniences emerge as more and more technologies are deployed in the field.
Often, new processes and procedures solve these employee pain points. Unfortunately, they are typically only patches, and they are not saleable. Call centers provide a good lesson here. Often, call centers are unable to see what a caller is seeing on the website. When mergers and acquisitions happen and booking or merchandise systems fail to merge, the staff is left to flip between two screens to find the information they need.
Every customer-facing application must be built with an administrator view and capabilities for employees. Unfortunately, that often requires more time and money. Brands choose to launch the customer-facing side and employees are left playing catch up.
Voice of Employee in Employee Experience Strategy
On the other hand, if the voice of the employees was in the room when those applications’ business cases and timelines are built, the employee control features would be part of the minimum viable product. They would not be part of phase two or three of a future deployment. When we were building self bag drop features of the JFK lobby, designing the features for the employee control screens and operational notifications (which belt is down and where is the problem) took longer than the customer facing application.
Another key element of designing frictionless employee experience is to take a moment and establish the context in which you introduce your new technology to the field. More often than you think, the frontline already has an existing system/interface they interact with every day. It is much more useful to those employees to integrate into the existing digital world in which they work, than to introduce yet another application. Avoid assuming you know the experience of the employees that you expect to work with the technology you are building for them. At the very least, visit their work place and interview them before you make decisions on their behalf.
Once the design of operational tools begins, remember to include your frontline employees in the process. A retail sales associate knows how many things he/she needs to do at the same time. That associate can tell project managers and developers the maximum number of fields she/he can input in an iPad to retrieve data. Any tool or application that is used IN FRONT of customers needs to have the same standards for seamlessness as a customer-facing application.
Yet, we often miss the context. We assume that, since the user is an employee, he/she has all the time in the world to do research/problem solve customer issues real time in front of the customer. The only way to bring that awareness in the design phase of technology is to have the sales associate or gate agent on the agile team while the application is being built. We have done it that way. And the adoption of the employee technology was unprecedented.
Andy Newman captured the almost unrealistic expectations of the Old Navy sales associates very well. With a more focused strategy and clear target customer, there is a way to design both customer and employee experience omnichannel journeys.
Are you always going to meet your customers’ expectations? Most definitely not. But as long as that is by design, you will be safe to explain the why to your board.
How to Be an Entrepreneur: 5 Things I Learned in 5 Months as an Entrepreneur
The life of an entrepreneur is different every day, but the one thing that remains the same is that we are always learning. These are my lessons in how to…
Customer Experience Audit: Cadillac Scores Millennial Customers with Future-Forward Thinking
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a Customer Experience Audit series. See all the audit stories. The automotive industry is right next to the airline industry in terms of…
Paperless Customer Journey – JetBlue Deviceless Boarding
JetBlue Biometrics – Innovation and Disruption This year, JetBlue entered the ranks of the innovators who disrupt industries by applying customer experience technology. They not only imagine the future. They…
Poor Integration is Bad for Customer Journey and Worse for Brands
Although we all have bad customer experiences, there is still a big debate about “the CX field” and whether it will survive the test of time. There is no doubt…
Customer Experience Audit: New York Times Beats Google
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. In this series we walk you through customer experience examples across industries. We feature brands that made…
Aviation Industry, Coronavirus Isn’t the Only Thing Killing Us
Eighteen years ago, September 11th caused a three-day halt of the US commercial airlines and resulted in a 31.6% reduction in travel in September 2001 compared to the previous year….
Customer Experience Audit: Mobile Provider Eliminates Remote Workforce
How to balance the efficiency call center metric FCR (first call resolution) with wait and talk time? JetBlue promotes human interactions as a brand promise.
Digital Customer Experience Strategy – Top Three Mistakes
How many of you have interacted with financial and insurance institutions who seem to have forgotten the invention of the world wide web and applications design? In 2021, Major players…
What is Human-Centered Design and how to Leverage it in 2021?
At its core, design is about value creation. In the world of Customer Experience, value-driven design requires CX professionals to use empathy to imagine a future customer experience that is…
End to End Customer Experience – How to Get it Right
When we think of travel, we often think of the flight experience. But the end to end customer experience is complex, and includes all modes of transportation that get you…
Healthcare Whitepaper: Impact of Patient ‘I Wants’ in Healthcare
Rachel Dreyfus joins The Petrova Experience with a guest blog about patient experience. Background A culture of positive patient experience is increasingly important in Healthcare, affecting patient outcomes and satisfaction….
Customer Experience Plan is More Important than Ever
Last week we published eight Customer Experience Trends to look out for in 2021. Today we are diving deeper into the first one: Customer Experience is more important than ever…
Customer Experience Audit: Starbucks Bets On The Physical Experience
Starbucks is opting in for the physical experience in order to become a lifestyle brand while other brands are investing in omni-channel experience.
A Customer Experience Strategy will Define Your Success in 2021
While there may not be a magic pill to guarantee the perfect customer experience, there is one thing that every organization needs to transform into a customer-centric business. And that…
What is Customer Experience? What are the Faces of CX?
Each area of CX represents a path for CX professionals to impact business health and build successful careers. One of my favorite CX analogies is that it is like the blood in our bodies. When CX is done well, it touches every aspect of an organization. That’s what makes customer experience so much fun! You will never be bored working in CX.
How to talk to your CFO about customer experience and revenue growth
Last month we introduced the topic of Customer Experience ROI and the complexity of building a good business case for it. The Customer Experience business case is strong, but not easy to prove. Today we will focus on two big wins of a successful customer experience investment – revenue and customer growth of your business.
Culture Starts at the Top
Without a leader who believes that today’s business success is about acquiring and retaining customers, you cannot even begin the process of building a culture. Leaders who are passionate about the customer are also passionate about creating culture and employee engagement.
Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments
Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.
Holiday Wishes for Great CX: Career Advice Edition
Every successful customer experience initiative starts with a skilled CX team. Brush up on your CX skills to strengthen the business case for CX; to develop relationships within your organization; and to deliver standout customer experiences in the new year.
Coronavirus Travel: What Does Hospitality Mean Now?
I want to tell you about my recent passenger experience. Earlier this week, I traveled to New Orleans from JFK Terminal 5 in New York. I had planned an airport…
From Pain Points to Magical Moments: Transform the Customer Experience
Argyle Journal interviewed Liliana Petrova about emerging self service technology and meeting and exceeding customer expectations in airports. One such way, as Liliana explains, is to create magical customer experience…
Lessons Learned at the Forrester Conference: “Data is the New Sexy”
Once a year I look for an event to attend where I can learn something new and get better at what I do. This year, I attended an event hosted…
Customer Experience Tips and Best Practices In 2017?
This is Post 2 of Liliana Petrova’s series on customer experience. She shares customer experience tips, lessons learned, and best practices for the new year. And dives into organizational culture…
How To Define Your Purpose And Have Unique Culture
If you Google the word “purpose” you get the definition “the reason for which something exists.” This is a challenge if you think about it in the context of organizational…
How a Personal Interaction builds Repeat Customers
A customer-centric methodology is key to the successful outcome of my interaction with Hello Spud. It is the reason this story appears here, and not among the CX Big Fails! The company did not send an automated response. It did not deliver a message stating “sorry we couldn’t help you, would you like something else.” Instead, the company co-founder reached out to me personally across multiple channels (a handwritten note, followed by personal emails).
Customer Experience Audit: Domino’s Making the Right CX Choices
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audit – as series of articles featuring examples of good customer experience and bad customer experience in practice….
Hospitality Experience and Why We lack Seamless Travel Experiences
Hospitality is taken for granted across government agencies, airlines and hotels. In my line of work, I often hear “I want to have the JetBlue customer experience.” Although many claim…
Airport Experience – Are You Letting Down Your Precious 2021 Travelers?
A month and a half ago, as part of our ongoing conversation about airport experience, we introduced the concept of revenge travel. We pleaded with the public to trust us…
CX Skills Builders: You May Have a CX Job and Not Know It
Last week we talked about the identity crisis of CX professionals and we urged you to fix any small problem or seam on the customer journey in order to build internal brand equity and buy in.
Employee Engagement and Wellness In The Workplace: Guest Post
Today, The Petrova Experience brings you a guest article about employee engagement and organizational culture. This piece is by Natalie DeVito, of Commonwealth Joe. Commonwealth Joe is an innovative company,…
Do You Know Why The Iconic Brand Toys ‘R’ Us Closed Doors Despite All Our Memories? #RetailBlues
The year is 2016. You are the CEO of Toys ‘R’ Us. Your brand still controls 13.6% of the toy market although the company is highly leveraged, a strategy of…
3 Challenges of Hybrid Working and How to Overcome Them
According to a Gallup study, 53% of Americans expect to work in a hybrid arrangement in 2022 and beyond. This number is significant enough for corporate America to get hybrid…
Even the US Government is Jumping on the Customer Experience Train
As we get ready for 2021, we have been diving in to the top customer experience trends we see on the horizon. So far, we have looked at why customer…
2021 Customer Loyalty Strategy – Relationships over Transactions
According to the Salesforce Connected Customer Report, 90% of consumers expect companies to clearly demonstrate their values and 66% expect brands to demonstrate empathy. In other words, when thinking about…
Why you need a defined culture for customer experience?
When designed and built correctly, customer experience expresses an organization’s brand. Your brand and marketing promises serve as a guiding light to your experience team. Similarly, organizational culture serves as a goalpost for the service side of customer experience.
Why CX Design Needs to be in Your Transportation Project RFP
Ever heard this line while working on an RFP? “I know your value, but I don’t know where to put you.” We hear it all the time. Why? Because, historically,…
The Great Re-onboading: How to Bring Back Your Employees
Re-onboarding is the next employee experience organizations need to tackle. Since March 2020, leaders have encountered pandemic shutdowns, remote workforce transitions, and the Great Resignation. As restrictions lift and we…
Liliana Petrova Talks Patient Experience in Healthcare Podcast
Recently, we recorded a podcast on patient experience in healthcare with Stacey Richter. Today, we are excited to share it with you. On the episode, we discuss travel and healthcare…
Why Customer Retention is the True Measure of SaaS Success
Guest Post by Callie Reynolds for The Petrova Experience In SaaS (Software as a Service), like in most businesses, sales is king. Sales gets the glory, and while I’d like…
Would You Pitch In To Save Toys “R” Us For Your Children To Experience? #ToysRUsGoFundMe
Last week we laid out the big moves that the leadership of Toys ‘R’ Us failed to take to evolve with customer needs and thus joins other brands as examples of…
Organizational Culture and Access to Information
By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet. It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.
Let’s Get You Certified as a Customer Experience Professional!
Like all mature professions, customer experience has a certification that is internationally recognized. Adding it to your resume will signal to the business community that you are serious about customer experience and your aspiration to be part of its leadership ranks…
Customer Experience Trends – 8 Actionable Tactics in 2021
As we begin Q4 of an eventful 2020, it’s time to look out for the 2021 customer experience trends and tactics for creating exceptional experiences in increasingly complex environments. We…