21 Jun Face the Changes in CX and EX in Customer Service
Change is inevitable. (The order isn’t just: “A small coffee with cream.” It’s now: “A double shot oat milk latte with light foam and cinnamon. Please.”) Heraclitus, the ancient philosopher, knew it. He said “The only thing that is constant is change.” Business leader Jack Welch knew it. He said “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” (Coffee shops that don’t offer massive drink customization will be competing against many that do.) Businesses must evolve as the people who work for them and those who buy from them evolve. Changes in CX and EX have to come at the speed of change in the world as a whole.
The Rise of CX, EX and Customer Expectations
It’s no longer simply customer service. The ever increasing expectations of customers, and the awareness of the impact both CX and EX have on business’ has caused the industry to be much more nuanced. (Is the coffee from Kenya, Columbia or Yemen?)
From UX to CX
User experience (UX) used to be the hot term. However, UX and CX are not the same. The difference is significant though subtle. From CustomerThink: “The goal of CX is not only to ensure that users enjoy the product but to ensure that users have positive emotions toward the entire organization and will return for additional products or advocate for the organization within their networks.” (They love their local coffee shop so much they’re constantly taking pics of their coffee and putting it on Instagram.) By contrast, UX focuses on how the user operates or interacts with a product on a more technical level. (Where is the online order form for that latte?)
This advancement has been fueled by the change in what customers want and what they have come to expect as their options increase. If customers can email, text, chat, facetime or call their friends they want to be able to access companies through multiple channels too. (Now that they know a unicorn frappuccino exists they are no longer appeased by a mocha.)
They want speed, accuracy and their personal preferences anticipated. That kind of detail requires great agents who know the product and their customers.
The EX Connection
Another important part of the changes in CX is the growth of EX. (The employee wants the coffee the customer is having.) It’s been said many times, happy employees equal happy customers. Happy customers benefit their companies by sticking around longer. Companies get improved ROI on their employee training and the great veteran employees know the business so well the longer they stay the harder they are to replace.
Plus, letting employees experience the products the customers buy makes them more knowledgeable and helpful to the customers. (Try the new lavender cold brew nitro. It’s flowery and has a great kick!)
Ben Granger, XM Institute Sr. Principal, believes that EX is at the core of many upcoming positive changes. The initial investment in EX is worth it : “EX programs are kind of like diesel engines – they take a little while to get going but once they are running, they just keep on going.”
Investing in employees is good customer service. Employee engagement directly affects CX and the bottom line. From The Gallup “State of American Workplace” report 2018: “Compared with business units in the bottom quartile, those in the top quartile of engagement realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability.”
The competition for customers has become a competition for talent as well, and they are just as important to the success of a business. Employees want to matter to a business as much as customers do, and they should. Churn and burn is costly and not part of a long term view.
Changes in CX and EX in a Diverse World
One thing customers and employees have in common is that they prefer to engage with a company that reflects their values and their world (matcha from Japan, tea from Kenya and coffee from Tanzania). Diversity is part of that, and not just as a box to be checked.
Harvard Business Review conducted five studies surveying 2,500 people including professionals from the LGBTQ+ community, females in STEM industries and Black college students from the US. These studies showed that job candidates from these communities are far less interested in working with a company that has a diversity program based on its impact on the bottom line over diversity being valuable in and of itself as a fair practice. Concerns included the fear of being stereotyped, feeling they don’t belong and that they would be interchangeable to the company with any other member of their perceived group.
Additional studies out of Berkeley found that the way a diversity program is communicated and received impacts its efficacy. The message that diversity is good, combined with a realistic awareness of its complexity and that effort is required to support it, showed more positive results than a reductive ‘diversity is good’ narrative.
Another article by HBR scholars concurs, saying that for diversity initiatives to work “Four actions are key for leaders: building trust and creating a workplace where people feel free to express themselves; actively combating bias and systems of oppression; embracing a variety of styles and voices inside the organization; and using employees’ identity-related knowledge and experiences to learn how best to accomplish the firm’s core work.”
Customers Value Diversity Too
Like employees want to be heard and represented, so do customers. Research has shown that customers value diversity in marketing. However, research has also shown 66% of African-Americans and 53% of Latino and Hispanic Americans feel represented stereotypically.
Customer empathy is a vital part of CX. Part of that is a business taking the time and effort to really know their customers. To understand how to communicate with them effectively, it’s necessary to learn their perspective. A diverse CX team that is encouraged to share their experience, and a business willing to learn from them, supports such communication.
In the end, changes in CX and EX are inevitable and necessary. Understand the expectations and needs of both customers and workers, especially of those who have been historically overlooked. This helps to build thriving businesses for our cross-cultural world.
Customers value how you treat your employees. CSAT.AI supports your employees while they support your customers. Employees don’t have to raise their hand when they’ve been abused. CSAT.AI recognizes abusive language directed towards agents. It then lets managers know on their dashboard. This provides an opportunity for managers to be proactive, help agents recover and let them be heard.
(That Arabian Mocha Sanani coffee with grass fed milk tastes even better when served by a happy employee who is obviously glad to be there. )
(Updated 2023; originally posted March 2020)