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.
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.
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…
4 Career Tips to obtain a Customer Experience Role
In honor of the 4th of July, we are rounding up 4 career tips for CX professionals. Set aside some time during the break from work to take stock in your CX career and evaluate the steps you need to get to the next level.
Freelance Customer Experience Lessons for Freelancers
For small businesses and freelancers alike, it’s important to recognize that your business is as strong as the relationships you build with your customers. That’s just one of the key…
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…
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 Audit: eBay’s Vibrant Marketplace of the Future
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. They highlight advances in artificial intelligence in retail and other technologies. See all audit stories. Two years…
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….
Is Covid19 What We Needed to Build Seamless End-to-End Travel Experience?
On January 10th, we published an article called The Future of Travel We Deserve. In it, we laid out the foundation necessary to implement innovation at scale. Four months later,…
Travel Experience Stories: How Not to Leave Customers Stranded
Meet Diane. Diane is traveling with her 2 year old and 5 year old to her in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving. This is the one annual trip she takes. And she…
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.
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…
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…
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.
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,…
Leadership During the Pandemic: Guest Post by Rachel Dreyfus
This is a guest post by Rachel Dreyfus, President, Dreyfus Advisors, who researched leadership and organizational culture during the pandemic. How has Covid19 influenced leadership over the past three months?…
5 Tips to Create Great Customer Experience Design Strategy
A customer experience design strategy that is sustainable and successful starts by having a vision and knowing who your customer is. This launching point enables you to design customer experiences…
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…
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…
Why Bt2B Businesses Must Think Like B2C in the Next Decade
B2B vs B2B thinking makes a real difference when it comes to customer experience. According to Gartner at least 80% of B2B buyers now expect the same buying experience as…
Human Experience: Do You Really Know Your Customers?
Steve Jobs said: “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need before they realize it themselves.” He did not just say 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.
Why You Need Culture Not Call Center Training for Customer-Centric CX
If the organization does not understand what customer experience is, you will not get the funding or organizational support you need to build customer-centric experiences.
The One CX Goal You Need to Set for 2019
For 2019, I urge you to make only one CX goal – bring about business success with your customer experience work. Don’t just do work in the general sense. Rather, set a CX goal that has a real impact on your customers and their experiences with your brand.
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: 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…
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.
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…
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…
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…
Customer Facing Experience: Communication and Hospitality
Today, we are talking about communication as part of the customer facing experience. This is one of the most misused and misinterpreted notions both in our professional lives and our…
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.
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…
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…
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.
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…
3 Ways to Create a Better Employee Experience Strategy
Guest Post by Gabe Smith, CCXP for The Petrova Experience The relationship between employee experience strategy and customer experience has long been discussed. Without engaged employees, we’re told, it’s difficult…
Autonomous Customers, Traveler Privacy and More Questions for CX Professionals in a Changing World
“As we move toward a more automated culture, most travelers will adapt to a Jetsonian, automated lifestyle. Every industry we know will be disrupted. For those of us in aviation,…
United CEO does not care about #customers happiness. Really?
Lately, I have been thinking about United Airlines and its organizational culture. Initially, I thought about United Airlines culture because someone asked whether it is possible to build a customer-centric…
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 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.
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…