Customer Experience and the Employee Experience


This year’s annual Forrester’s CX Index™ 2019 results show some improvement across various consumer brands, with Amazon Whole Foods coming in with surprising gains this year.  While many theories percolate as to how Amazon pulled off this amazing feat (they were expected to plummet in their CX scores), the fact is that Amazon invested in watching, analyzing, and ultimately thrilling their most valued Prime members.  Their employees were then set on a mission to service them with low prices, convenience, and a reason to come into the stores.

Our experience has shown that the best B2B brands also connect employee metrics with customer experience objectives. Letting employees decide what it means to be customer obsessed leaves a dangerous gap that, if left open to interpretation, can mean disaster.  Implementing customer obsession means installing metrics, implementing training, and measuring performance with rewards for executing. Focusing on having employees obtain customer defined metrics can ensure that measures for CX improve steadily and regularly.

Here are a few steps inspired by the Amazon/Whole Foods Customer Experience score improvement:

  • Ongoing feedback loop. Ensure you have regular ongoing surveys to determine what constitutes a thrilled customer, using that to define what constitutes a high performing employee. Just surveying one group or another is not enough to achieve lasting performance gain; what makes a customer happy must be what an employee will make happen, and be rewarded for it.  Too often, we see the process start and stop with the customer, and not take into account how the legacy systems within an organization will be affected.  Employee metrics must be set on what customers value.

  • The power of 1% gains. Small improvements can be massive revenue and profit gains.  As this Motley Fool article points out, one point increase in a CX score for a customer results in an a 2% revenue gain from that same customer.  The small incremental improvements are magnified in revenue results.

  • Structural vs Superficial CX changes.  Decide to either go for the biggest impact or easiest to fix, but do not let them happen by default, have a strategy to implement the changes.  Amazon focused on their Prime members; As Amazon combined its Prime service and Whole Foods shopping experience, it got even more insight into how the same person shops on and offline knowing if they can get them into the store more, they will see outsized revenue gains. While these moves infamously upset some long term Whole Foods employees, it left Prime members thrilled.  You must ask yourself, are you listening to your most valued customers?

  • Feel vs ease of use. One big surprise with this year’s Forrester report on Customer Experience leaders has been that customers now begin to place more importance on feeling.  “How an experience makes a customer feel is likely to have a bigger influence than effectiveness or ease of use”.  For Amazon/Whole Foods, that has meant connecting the customer’s mobile phone with a membership app and a physical location.  The theme can be replicated in B2B, and you must ask yourself, how can we make our customers feel more successful?

Ultimately, make sure that you send surveys to your best customers to define your success metrics, create an omnichannel presence, and measure if your employees are executing and making your customers feel successful. These simple steps will help you push your B2B #CX scores higher.