Why EX & CX are Both Served Best Through a Bottom-up Lens
We know from copious testimonials, case studies, and research that the best lens for customer experience (CX) is a bottom-up lens. This is a key approach to including the employee experience (EX) in your CX initiatives because it ensures that the most important information -understanding of empathy, constraints, enablers, and motivations — is all coming from the people who are most important. The two main takeaways you should get from this read are:
- EX & CX should overlap
- Both should start with a bottom-up lens
In a previous post, I shared how even though they are typically treated as separate operations, the employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) are connected. One big takeaway from this previous article is that your brand is the sum of the experiences it offers, and if you’re only looking at the customer side of experience, you’re only looking at half of the brand. Including employees in your CX initiatives adds vital information to your research and innovation.
“Independently, each function leads to valuable relationships — with customers and employees — but when CX and EX are managed together, they create a unique, sustainable competitive advantage.” — Harvard Business Review
For one, it increases the breadth of knowledge your team will have about updating products and processes to serve your customers. Some of your frontline staff will be the ones who have to deliver those services, and without understanding what works or doesn’t work for them you may create additional work for your organization down the road. Including others at varying levels of hierarchy alongside the frontline employees can help to highlight how the staff, and your customers, will ultimately be supported.
Secondly, including employees at all levels of hierarchy in your research can create additional buy-in and collaboration for your initiatives. This sometimes can be difficult to do effectively when there are internal political personality and political differences in your organization. The benefit of effectively assembling a collaborative, diverse team is that red tape and roadblocks can be managed little by little during the process and your customers ultimately benefiting from the transparency this creates for your organization internally.
“Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back, and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees and the rest follows from that.” — Herb Kelleher, co-founder and Former CEO Southwest Airlines
Why is the top-down approach so bad? Companies have functioned this way for eons of time, right? True, and many of those companies weren’t measuring or catering to their customer or employee experiences. With the old top-down lens, shareholders would take a look at the business and tell the employees what they wanted and how to service the customers, never hearing from the customers themselves. With a bottom-up lens, business impacts are proven by the success of the employee and customer relationship, and that makes the shareholders happy. That relationship is what every organization should be trying to build.
If you’re not already doing it, I urge you to begin including employees into your customer experiences research even on a small scale. In our projects at Cast & Hue, we have seen tremendous value in combining insights to get a clearer picture and understanding in our research. These valuable insights serve future decisions, benchmarks, products, and innovations that ultimately put the right people first.