Leslie Stefanik, Vice President, Marketing, PublicRelay
The correlation between employee and customer experience is a natural one. A customer’s experience with your brand is ultimately shaped by the people they interact with, not by the positive article they read or catchy advertisement they saw on TV. Good marketing and PR will get a customer in the door, great customer service will keep them coming back. Nothing turns potential customers off like an employee that clearly doesn’t want to be at his or her job. An employee that wants to go to work each day with a positive attitude is one of the strongest endorsements a brand can receive – and customers notice.
A recent article from the Institute for Public Relations blog discusses the important relationship between employee and customer experience. CEO of Integral Communications and internal comms expert, Ethan McCarty, interviewed SVP of Communications and Marketing at Trinity Health, Bret Gallaway, on how smart communications can strengthen both employee and customer experience. Below are a couple of take-aways:
Employee and Customer Experience is About Listening
There are a variety of ways to collect employee and customer feedback – through surveys, reviews, focus groups, etc. At Trinity Health, the communications team has carved out time for storytelling sessions to promote employee and customer experience. Whatever the strategy may be, it is imperative that organizations get this feedback somehow and really listen. It’s not enough to compare the number of negative vs. positive reviews or find an average star rating and if it’s pretty good say the job is done. Organizations need to listen to their stakeholders’ stories and dig deep into the feedback they receive to uncover actionable insights that drive business decisions. What are the topics driving both positive and negative feedback? A single employee review might speak positively to managerial skills and workplace diversity, but negatively to company benefits and work/life balance.
Performing contextual analysis of stakeholder feedback to quantify topics like these will show where improvement is needed and where to capitalize on positive trends. If managerial skills are highly praised, HR will know the management training courses they’ve invested in are valuable and they should continue to allocate resources to those. Conversely, they can adjust and try new strategies if employees are dissatisfied.
Being an organization where employees and customers feel encouraged to share their experiences and feel heard can only help your brand. Really listening to your stakeholders’ stories and incorporating the feedback into business decisions will lead to greater satisfaction for both employees and customers. In turn, this will lead to less employee turnover, a better ability to attract top talent, and will strengthen your bottom line as customers will trust and continue to come back to your brand.
Communications Needs to Integrate and Align Business Units
Creating positive employee and customer experiences spans several departments. Communications is in a unique position to collaborate with other departments to listen, promote, and strengthen stakeholder experience. At Trinity Health, the communications team worked with the compliance department from the outset to collect and promote employee and customer stories. This way, everyone is aligned from the start on the necessary processes to most efficiently accomplish this business goal. On the front lines of customer and employee communications, the PR and Communications function has relevant insights to share with several departments such as, HR, recruitment, compliance, and operations that allow these colleagues to do their jobs better and work together to deliver business results.