Skip to main content Skip to footer

December 9, 2021

Why the customer and employee experience should be treated as one

By blending customer and employee journey maps, businesses can ensure both topline growth and employee retention.

Early on, the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed consumer and corporate buying habits as physical distribution channels became inaccessible. But not only did digital channels replace in-person sales calls and in-store purchases in many cases; they also improved on them. 

As companies across industries accelerate their push to digital, they’re focusing on improving the customer experience. A critical component of this shift is customer journey mapping, which is now a must-have in new-growth initiatives.

Now, the same thing is happening to the employee experience. On the heels of digital becoming a primary sales channel, companies across industries are grappling with the “Great Resignation,” as employees reconsider their current role and explore one of the most employee-friendly and competitive job markets in recent history. Necessity is the mother of invention, and organizations have rapidly turned to investing in the employee experience, mapping points of friction along the worker journey in an effort to attract and retain the best talent. 

But even as employee journey mapping takes its place alongside customer journey mapping, we’re seeing very little overlap between the initiatives — and we think this should change.

It just makes sense

It’s clear why a synchronized experience between customers and employees is imperative for customer-facing workers (contact center agents, sales reps, retailers), but it’s also invaluable for employees whose roles contribute indirectly to the customer experience (those working in manufacturing, supply chain and finance functions, for example). 

Using the new and redesigned digital sales channels as a foundation, companies can naturally extend the work they’ve done to evaluate and improve the customer experience to employees. Consider a hypothetical manufacturer of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products that is crafting new customer journeys to adapt to the digitized ordering expectations of its customers. Just as its plans to use the digital sales channel come into focus, the organization faces another challenge: creating a work environment that’s attractive enough to keep existing employees and lure new ones, who will be needed to meet the new growth goals. By extending the customer experience strategy to employees, the manufacturer can both grow the topline while improving employee retention rates.

Ultimately, any company’s success is built on its ability to design and deliver desirable products and services that are valuable to both customers and the company. A blended mapping effort can ensure everyone in the organization is ultimately working toward that common goal.

Three guidelines for map melding

To effectively blend their customer and employee experience strategies, we advise our clients to consider three significant changes to their operating model:

  1. Create an interlinked experience blueprint that connects the customer and employee journeys with the underlying operational levers that support them — the data, content, software, process and organizational structure. The blueprint is a complete view of how a journey is enabled and where the “moments that matter” fall in the flow, as well as a guide for building out a technology-enabled experience. By including both customer and employee journeys in the process, organizations can balance topline growth and employee retention.

    We recently worked with a leading insurer to create an experience blueprint that encompasses the moments that matter for both customers and employees working in the contact center, underwriting, compliance and claims. The blended effort supports the insurer’s goal to shift to a direct-to-consumer model while also allowing for a graceful transition to other channels if complications arise.
    As a result of this blueprint, employees better understand their role in driving customer satisfaction and sales conversion. Overall, the insurer is seeing a 25% conversion rate (up from 2% prior to the mapping).

  2. Empower a blended governance team. Customer- and employee-facing initiatives are typically led by very different parts of the organization. The marketing organization commonly leads customer experience engagements, while the operations department typically oversees employee experience improvements. To create an interlinked experience blueprint, the leadership team must represent both departments and have a unified mandate.

  3. Consider a common measurement framework. Customer initiatives are usually deemed successful when metrics such as wallet share, lifetime value and customer satisfaction are on the rise. Conversely, many employee initiatives are evaluated as successful based on efficiency metrics such as handle time, customer interactions per representative and call deflection. In the future, both customer and employee initiatives should be directly measured by their influence on lifetime value (LTV). By remapping, companies have a strategic opportunity to re-evaluate their current measures of success and reorient them toward LTV.

As companies finalize their 2022 planning, they have an opportunity to examine their customer and employee experience initiatives and seek out areas of intersection. Companies cannot grow without a stable employee base, and employees are more likely to stay with an organization in which their contributions are directly aligned with the success of the company.

John Mcvay
John McVay

John McVay is Head of Digital Experience Solutions at Cognizant, originally joining as part of the company's shift to digital through Cognizant Digital Works. With an MBA and BS in Economics, he also served as a naval aviator for 10 years.

Latest posts

Related posts

Subscribe for more and stay relevant

The Modern Business newsletter delivers monthly insights to help your business adapt, evolve, and respond—as if on intuition