The primary responsibility for delivering exceptional customer experience (CX) lies with front-line sales staff, but they can only do so with access to best-practice tools and resources. When staff are equipped to succeed, their positive experience in the workplace (EX) contributes to improved CX, and hence business performance.
EX is traditionally driven by the HR function through remuneration and benefits policies, but this approach fails to address other critical factors affecting EX. A recent study by Harvard Business Review identified five key elements that empowered staff to optimise CX: seamless technology, recognition, alignment, C-Suite accountability & trust.
“The results were striking. Not only were we able to establish a clear link between employees and revenue, but the impact was substantial. In fact, if an average store could move from the bottom quartile to the top quartile in each of the employee experience metrics we studied, they would increase their revenue by more than 50%, and profits by nearly as much.” – The Value of Employee Experience
Perhaps more importantly, improving EX outcomes was a sound investment. Moving a store from the bottom quartile of performance to the top quartile in each of the EX factors delivered increased revenues that equated to a 150% ROI!
Drilling deeper into the reports, we find a few key causes, especially when it comes to the retail shop floor employees:
- CX takes precedent because it has more visible correlations to results
- Disconnect between C-Suite and Employee assessment of performance
- The pandemic slowed focus on store investments
A focus on customer satisfaction is embedded in most retail businesses… systems are in place to capture and report CX data, and executives play close attention. CX is high on the investment priority list, often to the detriment of other areas.
However, the Harvard Business Review report was able to demonstrate that the role of EX in improving CX is often not fully appreciated. The report showed that without a focus on – and investment in – EX, significant opportunities to increase revenue and profit were being foregone. In a typical store example, a further 50% increase in sales was seen compared with investing in CX alone.
“Executives sweat (a bit) when they think about pouring the same level of energy, intention, and resources into designing employee experiences as they do in crafting outstanding customer experiences. A quality employee experience is table stakes. Interconnected, seamless, and meaningful experiences that unlock employee energy and agency are essential for transformative customer experiences that win hearts, minds, and wallets to drive growth.” – Katherine von Jan, Chief Strategy Officer, Salesforce Innovation
There is a big difference between C-suite and employee perceptions of several critical EX factors including employee happiness, the level of employee engagement and the degree to which employees would recommend their workplace.
Source: Zeno DXI/Salesforce – The Experience Advantage
However, the greatest difference was seen in perceptions of the availability of seamless technology… information systems that work together to increase productivity and reduce the effort required to complete tasks.
Only 17% of customer-facing employees feel they are provided with seamless technology, where-as 52% of the C-Suite believe they are
Recent Salesforce research shows that whilst management and back-office functions may have effective technology, staff at the coal-face in a typical retail store are using 14 different apps to run day-to-day operations.
This mismatch in expectations increases the likelihood of staff churn, causing loss of valuable experience and intellectual property. The cost implications of losing talent and employee turnover are significant. Studies have shown that replacing an employee can cost up to 200% of their salary.
Source: Zeno DXI/Salesforce – The Experience Advantage; Enrich, 2021; Gallup, 2019; Bersin by Deloitte, 2013
The COVID pandemic generated a great deal of uncertainty around the future of traditional retail, resulting in a substantial reduction in store investment. For more than two years, retail held back investment in ‘bricks and mortar,’ but accelerated investment in online technologies, expecting the rise of digital to continue and accelerate. Post pandemic, there has been a return to pre-pandemic shopping patterns and trends, with people returning to stores. This has now increased the urgency for stores to invest in their people and supporting technology.
Source: Statista, 2022
“…the demand from consumers for physical experiences will force retailers to offer immersive, technology filled stores as standard” – Deloitte UK, Retail Trends 2023
The Harvard Business Review research clearly shows that improving employee experience (EX) directly impacts customer experience (CX), resulting in stronger business performance.
Access to seamless technology – a key EX performance metric – was shown to be an area in which frontline staff are lagging compared with their C-suite colleagues. Reducing the number of apps typically required for day-to-day retail operation would go a long way to improving this EX factor.
Consolidating the current average of 14 apps down to 2 or 3 would contribute dramatically to improved EX, resulting in increased revenue/profit, lower management costs and better staff retention.
Enhancing EX is a central objective of the Proximity Retail Super-App. Our all-in-one solution gives retail teams the power to excel in their role, and master operational efficiency everyday.