Customer experience leaders starting to allocate bugets to employee experience

We’ve been hearing that customer experience won’t exist without employee experience for such a long time that we see it eventually happening. According to my observations, many businesses are following the same path. At the beginning they agree that employee experience is key but since budgets belong to IT and marketing, since it’s the customer that keeps the business alive, they start with the customer experience and postpone the employee side.

That’s an approach I agree with. My own experience tells me that having a tangible and visible impact on the customer is required to make employees change. As a matter of fact when people benchmark their practices to their colleagues and not to the external competition there are very few reasons to change.

No customer experience without employee experience…but how long between them ?

So the question is not about where to start but how long to wait to start with employee experience. Some businesses start the internal side very little time after the client one to deliver both synchronously, some wait to have their backs to the wall to care about the internal impact of their customer experience projects.

If the second category is only starting to deal with employee experience issues, the first is advanced enough to demonstrate tangible and measurable results.

That’s the topic of a recent IBM Institute for Business Value study, titled The Experience Revolution : New teams new rules, which is the third part of a series of studies focused on the experience revolution and its impact. The main idea carried by this study is that businesses that bet on experience must accept to challenge its internal rules and welcome new staff profiles.

Experience needs a leader, the CDO is the future CEO

The first impact of the experience orientation can be seen at the top of the organization with the emergence of new roles.

Most businesses chose to have a Chief Customer Officer, then, later, a Chief Digital Officer and more recently a Chief Experience Officer and most of these roles can coexist. The question is to know how perennial they are.

The study gives two interesting insights to find out how long these roles will last. The first one is that the Chief Digital Officer is a transitory role. I’ve always had in mind that the CDO had to organize his own obsolescence (having a CDO in 10 years would mean a huge failure) but what the study teaches us is that the CDO is the last step before a CEO position. 32% of the top performers say so…but only 6% of the others.

The CDO is the head of modernization

In fact, in the most mature businesses, the CDO is rather in charge of modernization than of digital strictly speaking. Once he makes the business enter a new era in terms of business model, process and operating models, it’s logical for him to be in charge of leading the the company he reinvented.

Besides that, leaders consider that all customer-oriented clients will eventually merge : marketing, digital services, customer insights, customer service will become part of a single entity to avoid redundancy and silos.

Another point : marketing as we know it is dead. 45% of the top performers say that “old” marketing is dead and that everything is digital now. I was very surprised to read that since I consider that physical and digital channels must complete one another but that none will disappear. But if it means that there’s won’t we such thing as marketing and digital marketing coexisting in the same organization, I agree with that.

Employee experience is structural and organizational.

I spent a lot of time fighting against the idea that employee experience is mainly about well being and cuddling them where they’re not…doing their job. What I summarize by saying “putting a spa next to the torture chamber”.

On the contrary the study show the tangible impact of employee experience. It’s about reinventing : job descriptions, processes, reporting, structures, the way to interact with customers. Working on these challenges also opens opportunities to think about work flexibility, collaboration and workspace redesign.

Employee experience has an impact and that’s why it gets funding !

The top performers in customer experience are convinced of the customer experience imperative. As shown here :


The most interesting number in my opinion is that 62% of top performers are reallocating budgets to employee experience to make it a priority. There’s often a disconnect between what businesses say is a priority and how it’s being translated into budgets, above all when it’s about employee-facing initiatives. It seems we’re headed in the right direction.

Change management not in the way you expect it

Last interesting point : the way change is driven.

Totally against received ideas, top performers adopt a top-down, structured, prescribed approach. They use communication campaigns, trainings and give strict deadlines to managers and staff. The others have a more organic and viral approach, empowering staff to progress at their own pace.

Photo credit : Fotolia

Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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