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The Business Impact of Employee Experience on Customer Experience

I am working on a new trend report covering this topic in part and this is based on the work I do (disclosure) – more on the report here: Employee Customer Experience Connection. One of the primary assumptions I’m exploring for the report is that effectively driving a positive employee experience has interrelated benefits on the customer experience too. And as we all know, the customer is king so this seeming interrelationship would seem a slam dunk and of great interest.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence of the interrelationship, but I am not finding a huge amount of concrete evidence of this based on research. Still I am convinced and persist in my efforts. This post is in part an exploration of this and I am also trying to get others’ views so please take part in the poll at the end 🙏

This Forrester report on the The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Viva was commissioned by Microsoft. These kinds of reports are pretty standard for many technology vendors to try and justify, as the title suggests, the economic impact of using the technology. I thought this would be an excellent start since Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform launched by Microsoft not too long ago – more on it here: Employee Experience and Engagement | Microsoft Viva.

I have pasted a relevant piece from out of the report below (the diagram and section after it in yellow). This piece covers the benefits that derive from improved business outcomes. It seems natural to have expected that of the many benefits covered in the report (see full list below), this one would contain something to do with impact on customer related outcomes, like revenue growth, increased satisfaction and loyalty, reduced churn or improved retention, etc. Not so much. Although you could assume some indirect impact, like getting to market faster means customers can buy the product sooner and therefore incremental revenue is realised sooner, it’s still not what I am after.

Most of the benefits, like the many others (which are notable), are very much focused on internal metrics. I discuss this at the end of the post.

All benefits covered in the report:

  • Faster Onboarding Process
  • Improved Productivity from Content and Expert Discovery
  • Improved Employee Retention
  • Time Savings for Operations Teams
  • Improved Business Outcomes – see detail below
  • Unquantified Benefits
  • Flexibility

Improved Business Outcomes

Evidence and data

Enriching employee experiences resulted in better business outcomes, including better product development, greater innovation, and increased revenues. The Viva suite influenced key performance indicators such as time-to-market, product market fit, and utilization rates by tying actions to outcomes. Each app additionally improved employee competency, engagement, and motivation. This benefit increased with extended deployment, higher adoption, and tighter integration with Viva Goals to focus people. Achieving these benefits required business process redesign, leadership development, and change management.

The head of program management in software shared that Viva Goals enabled the launch of a product in eight new regions in fewer than four months, which would have taken nearly two years otherwise. Not executing this launch would have left millions of dollars in deals on the table.

The IT executive for workplace IT experience in professional services said that Viva improved time-to-deliver by enabling employees to quickly surface exemplars and best practices. The IT executive also said that Viva Insights creates focus time, which “has been a game changer and gives people time to concentrate on delivering more value to the company.”

The COO in electronics said that Viva Learning helped drive employee retention through increased engagement and motivation. This avoided hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in annual lost revenue because product engineering attrition delayed new product launches.

The product owner in CPG said that Viva Topics helped with cross-team collaboration and learning. This directly increased shared knowledge and knocked down silos, which ultimately improved R&D potential.

Modelling and assumptions

For the composite organization, Forrester assumes that:
It realizes $6 million in incremental revenue annually due to faster time-to-market.
Thirty percent of faster time-to-market is directly attributable to Viva.
There is a 45% gross margin applied.

Risks

The following factors may impact other organizations’ realization of this benefit category:
The value of faster time-to-market for the organization.
The extent to which Viva is leveraged to drive innovation and development velocity.
The organization’s average gross margin.

Results

To account for these risks, Forrester adjusted this benefit downward by 20%, yielding a
three-year risk-adjusted total PV of $1.6 million

Why are employee and customer experience outcomes not better aligned?

Read some of the articles I have curated or written on about the interrelationship of these two fields, either on the landing page at the bottom, or at the beginning on the landing page itself, where I crunch some numbers about the potential value of the market combined. You will see that there is a lot being said about this.

What is a struggle is to find verifiable, quantified, research backed evidence. I’m not sure why but let me hazard a guess or 2:

  1. This is not a thing and it is not a trend, i.e. employee experience has no bearing on customer experience and outcomes related to the latter. I struggle to believe this but must accept it’s a possibility.
  2. We are not there yet and the scientists and researchers have not cottoned onto this yet so have not done work on it yet. This is more likely the case.

I’m not giving up. I believe in this. At this stage, short of the type of evidence mentioned above, I’d love to just get some validation. Please let me know what you think and answer the poll below. If nothing else, it will ensure me I’m not going mad and others agree 🤪 Also, if you have come across any evidence, please share it in a comment.

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SenseMaking from the Web

This post is an aggregation of recent articles that I have collected over at Flipboard on my magazine there. It captures great sense making from others, in other words, great articles from other sites I thought worth capturing and sharing. Curating good articles is a discerning process and I’ve automated the delivery of it in WordPress using a Power Automate Flow to achieve this – more on that here.

Empower and energize employees with Microsoft Viva | Microsoft 365 Blog

Posted on September 23. Work trend index pulse report When employees thrive, companies flourish. Microsoft Viva, the first integrated employee experience platform for the …

Looking at 320 pitch decks, here’s what science tells us works best

Posted on September 23. Investors are spending 24% less time looking at pitch decks in 2022, compared to 2021. On average, you have just under three minutes to convince them to take a meeting with you. In fact, for decks that fail to raise funding, investors give up in just 2 minutes and 13 seconds. That’s not a lot of …

How Neuroscientists Use Brain Breaks to Boost Creativity at Work

Posted on September 22. Back-to-back meetings, endless screen time, long hours—the human mind is poorly designed for the typical workday. Neuroscientists take a different …

In Europe and beyond, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Pulse Report provides insights into how employees, leaders see hybrid work – Microsoft News Centre Europe

Posted on September 22. In France, the UK and Germany, as in the rest of the world, the last few years have brought profound changes in how we work. Microsoft’s latest Work …

Understanding Microsoft’s grand vision for building the next generation of apps

Posted on September 21. What Microsoft Collaborative Apps are and why they matter: An explainer. Over the past couple of years, Microsoft has introduced a grab bag of new …

Digital innovation and employee experience: making the connection

Posted on September 21. DXC and Pfizer leaders discuss the topic in an article by MIT SMR Connections

Adopting the Innovator’s Mindset

Posted on September 19. Too many innovations fail because they’re solutions looking for problems — not the result of a disciplined process.

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Microsoft Viva keeps growing – roundup of latest announcements

I have some new announcements to share on this subject, or should I say Microsoft has (disclosure) and the full details are captured in this blog post: Empower and energize employees with Microsoft Viva | Microsoft 365 Blog. In this post I just wanted to capture a few things I think are particularly noteworthy, especially the completely new announcements.

Viva Pulse

The Viva Pulse announcement includes the opportunity to join our Viva Pulse Customer Advisory Board Program – you can read about it in the post and sign up here: Viva Pulse Customer Advisory Board Program Sign Up. There is a lot of interest in this area form HR departments and if you are in one and interested, it would be wise to jump in there before it becomes oversubscribed. Also check out the People in Microsoft Viva announcement and more on that here – also of interest to HR types: People in Microsoft Viva – Putting people at the center of the employee experience. – Microsoft Tech Community.

Note this is not the same as what Glint will do when it is integrated into Viva (see announcement) but not entirely unrelated. The one will be for managers (Pulse) the other (Glint) for HR leaders.

Viva Amplify

This is an entirely new module announced covering employee comms (hence the yellow background). I’ve covered the use of a Teams App Template called Company Communicator before, see posts below (), which attempted to address this need, amongst others. See Viva Amplify as the successor to Company Communicator, on steroids 💪This is a hugely exciting module and I think internal comms teams everywhere will be champing at the bit to get their hands on it – you can apply to be in the Viva Amplify preview program so get signing up.

How to run a Hackathon for Microsoft Teams and Power Platform

Internal Communications is more important than ever but missing a trick

Considering Microsoft Teams as a Platform – get started with App templates

Viva Sales

I have also spoken about this module before (see post below ) and this announcement just gives more info on features and confirms that it will be GA (Generally Available) October 3rd. As part of this announcement comes the point that it is not going to be free for Salesforce customers, only D365 customers. More on the announcement here: Reimagine selling with Viva Sales – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

Microsoft Viva goes vertical – sales productivity module announced

Viva Connections

To streamline the Viva experience and help employees start their day on track, the new Viva Connections home experience will bring all the Microsoft Viva apps and services into one place.

For those that want a single entry point for Viva modules and/or an Employee Hub (a concept many customers are keen to achieve), I think this is a really good development.

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SenseMaking from the Web

This post is an aggregation of recent articles that I have collected over at Flipboard on my magazine there. It captures great sense making from others, in other words, great articles from other sites I thought worth capturing and sharing. Curating good articles is a discerning process and I’ve automated the delivery of it in WordPress using a Power Automate Flow to achieve this – more on that here.

The Value of Content: Subscriptions and the Passion Economy | Digital Marketing Resource Hub

Posted on September 9. Have we now reached the point where the average internet user accepts that good content is worth paying for? Host Will Francis and digital marketing …

The Rise Of The Rundle: A New Trend For Subscription-Based Services

Posted on September 9. Two longstanding trends in business might be merging, createing a new way for us to purchase and consume. When it comes to poorly branded concepts in business, the “rundle” is high on the list. It’s the brainchild of the very outspoken NYU professor, L2 founder, serial podcaster, and occasionally …

Creating Shared Value

Posted on September 9. The capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business has been criticized as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely thought to be prospering at the expense of their communities. Trust in business has fallen to new lows, leading government …

3 Ways to Maximize the Benefits of Hyperautomation

Posted on September 9. All businesses should explore any opportunity to streamline workflows and speed up production. Hyperautomation (i.e., using technology to allow any processes to run without manual intervention) is a chance to give your business process automation efforts the jolt they need to reach their full …

Can humanity be recreated in the metaverse?

Posted on September 9. Today, the internet is a mostly 2D platform that we consume through a screen. It is a command-line prompt for the reality we live in. Instagram posts, Tiktoks, text messages, emails and voice memos are all digital artifacts things people create and receive in the physical world. But this will …

How Microsoft Digital improves its own Employee Experience—and yours—as Customer Zero – Inside Track Blog

Posted on September 9. Anyone who has been around the technology industry for a while is familiar with the concept of “dogfooding.” “Eat your own dog food” is a phrase that …

Product-Led Growth Companies Find a New Way to Serve Customers

Posted on September 7. • Data, AI, & Machine Learning • Strategy • Business Models • Quality & Service • AI & Machine Learning • Automation • Technology Innovation Strategy subscribe-icon …

How Employee Experience Can Transform Customer Experience

Posted on September 6. Sound the alarms! Everyone is talking about customer experience and digital transformation. For some, this is an exciting conversation and others it …

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Infinite experience at the intersection of employee and customer

As I am writing a new trend report on the subject (Employee Customer Experience Connection), I’m always on the lookout for new indicators that the trend is catching on through the writing or research of others. I’ve found two such pieces just today which are definitely good indicators, especially of the “connection” part.

The first is an article on Computer weekly that references Forrester Research, Qualtrics and others. It also includes case studies and some useful onward links – articles including the onward links below:

The other article is from the MIT Technology Review: Customer and employee experience: The new normal.

It is based on a survey of 277 business leaders and decision-makers globally – around 79% of whom are C-level executives or at director level and includes a full report you can download.

I won’t share a PDF version of the report I have for fear of transgressing copyright, I’ll just share pertinent points below but first I’ll make an important distinction.

Infinite or total experience is the key

Something both the articles above and the report from MIT refer to is the total experience. The total experience is when you look at EX and CX in combination. It’s the first time I have noticed this reference since I started writing about this combination, or connection as I refer to it. From the linked articles in the landing page for the trend report I am writing; you will see it has been at least 18 months I have been pushing this combination/connection as a key element of the trend. So, it’s really good to see it being validated.

In terms of terminology, I prefer a reference to infinite rather than total because of the use of the graphic and the way this shows the interconnectivity of EX and CX. Regardless of the term used, it is this connection and how this is managed that is the interesting thing – experience optimisation as I have called it.

You can read the articles I linked to and below are some interesting facts from the MIT report. You will see there is not too much emphasis on this so still something to be worked on.

Highlights of the research on employee and customer experience connecting

1 The pandemic accelerated already existing trends toward digitization of customer experiences (CX) and employee experiences (EX), as well as the adoption of more tech centric business models. This shift is happening in both expected industries (digitally native organizations) and legacy enterprises (traditional finance and public services organizations).

2 CX and EX are just two facets of a more holistic “total experience” that enterprises must seek to deliver over the coming months and years. On top of service-oriented digital offerings that transcend transactional use cases, enterprises are also developing hybrid experiences that blend both digital and real-world elements.

3 Disintermediation—engaging, serving, and delivering directly to the end user—will be a critical component of success for enterprises as they build effective “total experience” ecosystems. Another key component will be establishing and sustaining digital trust among users.

An interesting stat from the survey responses

And I love this quote from a customer case study:

“We aren’t just focusing on digital transformation from an IT perspective. We’re thinking, ‘What is it that we need to work with our communities? With our residents and businesses? Who are the people who have interactions with us? And how do we enrich their experience?’”

Rehana Ramesh, Head of Digital Transformation, Brent Council

It resonates with me because it illustrates so well, like the 3 reasons retailers are leading at the intersection of employee and customer experience that I captured, how public services can be a key driver of this connection.

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At the intersection of inner and outer worlds – the individual and company

The inner and outer worlds are indivisible and if you are to make a sucess of yourself as an individual, you need to think of both. When it comes to work, companies also have to think about these worlds, in relation to employees and customers. We have to think about how we, as individuals, bring our best to how we live and work every day. Leaders of companies need to think of how to enable this, so the most important stakeholder of a business is satisfied: the customer.

Click to enlarge

How to optimise a strategy for personal and company success

1. Start with yourself first and look inside

We are often tempted to focus on externals. Material things, how we look, how we attain wealth, etc. Thats because these may appear more tangible and easier to quantify and handle.

But it would all be for nothing if we are not happy and healthy, and this work starts first on the inside.

Start with your thoughts and take care of them. As Buddha once said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”

Thoughts give rise to emotions so you are best placed to start with thoughts, but emotions are also highly spontaneous and can be leveraged or managed for successful living.

All these thoughts and emotions go to creating an inner set of beliefs and values over time and help mould your purpose.

2. Monitor your lived experience

No man is an island, as John Donne famously penned in a poem and no plan survives first encounter with the enemy as German field marshal Moltke the Elder once said.

Unless you want to become a hermit or are debilitatingly introverted, you have to interact with people.

The way you come across is a reflection of how you see and value yourself.

Being acutely aware of your interactions and the impact your personality and identity have on others when you are interacting with them is fundamental for success.

The behaviours you display and elicit are a reflection of you and ultimately effects the experience others have with you. And this needs to be understood and evolved as you do, and change based on the feedback you get.

3. People power

Few companies and leaders understand the importance of their most important asset – people. A lot of lip service is given to employee well-being, but still not enough is done.

With the advent of technologies like AI, automation and robots, there is also a danger that people are overlooked for these sexier alternatives.

But that is changing. Many are now realising the importance of the employee experience and the impact this has on the bottom line and ultimately, the company’s success.

Employee experience is the culmination of efforts a company takes to ensure the well-being of employees while optimising their capabilities around a company’s strategy and execution.

The outcomes, if managed well, are higher levels of productivity and therefore business performance and a positive company culture which has material impacts on the same.

In essence: The Key to Happy Customers? Happy Employees.

4. Customer Success

Customer success is when your customer reaches their desired outcomes while using your product or service.

Assuming this happens, you will have satisfied customers and satisfied customers tend to want to stick around and continue using your company’s products and services.

Now there will be many more factors at play than just the people generally responsible for ensuring the customer is successful with your product or service. Things like systems, processes, methodologies and technologies.

But it is when the people efforts (all people and all efforts, not just of those with customer success in their titles), all come together and connect to make exceptional customer experiences, that you have magic.

This connection, the middle bit of the diagram above, is something I am writing a trend report about and you can find out more about it by clicking on the link below.

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How Microsoft Viva can drive Performance – Correlating and Tracking Business Outcomes

I’m doing a lot of Microsoft Viva work with customers (disclosure) as well as working on a trend report on a related subject, so I am constantly thinking about where this work leads to. The obvious question is what kind of business outcome you are trying to achieve and how do you measure it. This post is to share some initial thinking. Anyone who reads this and is involved in similar work, I’d love your input so I can advance this very quick attempt (hence thought rocket).

So first let me elaborate on the format briefly. It’s just a simple table. I felt it was a nice way to achieve what I wanted. Aside from the structure you can create, it kind of helps to list things out. I wanted to have almost a catalogue that I could capture existing work with but also help stimulate future work (or at least thinking around it). The table below is a combination of those things. Considering there are so many modules in Viva, the structure was helpful to work around them too.

Click to enlarge

I don’t think the structure and the breakdowns need much more elaboration – they are fairly self-evident. What is much more important is what goes inside them and the references and descriptions I use.

I’ve had to make this generic and I’ve not added specific targets but the clues to what those would be is in the KPI/Outcome column.

As mentioned, some of these are based on real work and some just ideas. As mentioned, would love any input – just add a comment if you have any. This is still very much a work in progress and any work I do or input I receive I’ll progress this perspective further with.

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Microsoft Viva goes vertical – sales productivity module announced

I have been writing a lot on Microsoft Viva lately since I work with customers on it (disclosure) and since it is an employee experience platform (EXP), I am working on a new trend report that is related: Employee Customer Experience Connection. More specifically, I have been saying in relation to my work and the trend report, that sales is a sweet spot for an EXP. Some of my recent posts on this below.

Microsoft Teams and CRM for Sales Productivity

Microsoft 365 customer questions – Sales Productivity

What do I mean by vertical?

Just last week I announce two other modules that had recently been launched: Employee Experience platform offering grows with new Microsoft Viva modules. These modules along with all the original four are modules that can touch all parts of the organisation – hence horizontal. They are not specific to any one department, in other words vertical. In the case of Viva Sales, the focus is squarely on the sales department and function and on supporting revenue growth.

Here is an official post from Microsoft on the latest addition: Introducing Viva Sales, a modern way of selling that brings together any CRM, Microsoft 365 and Teams – The Official Microsoft Blog

And a video with some good demos:

Why sales is the sweet spot for the employee customer connection?

  1. Sales is the front line. It is where the interaction between employees and customers is most tangible and critical and where great experiences matter. To improve the customer experience, you should start with the employee experience. It doesn’t matter if most of your sales are online now, and customers don’t need to interact much during the actual selling process. At some point, customers will interact with your company, post purchase or in the lead up to it, direct or indirect. Everyone is always selling, whether it is in their title or not and every interaction with your company is a reflection of an experience with it and influences sales. The retail industry is where employee customer interaction is keenest and most critical as I wrote about here: 3 reasons retailers are leading at the intersection of employee and customer experience.
  2. Sales and growing revenue is number one. It is always a high priority for companies – maybe the highest, especially in tough times. So getting sales performance right is a top priority. Understanding it is a first step. Viva Insights is a great module for this specifically as I recounted in both of the articles I referenced earlier; through the work I am doing with customers. Second and ongoing is to conduct thoughtful experiments that will improve sales performance and productivity and measuring that impact of those through Viva Insights. Viva Sales will make the delivery of improved sales performance and productivity easier in Teams, through the flow of work. This point is stressed in an interview with Microsoft’s Chief Commercial Officer: Judson Althoff discusses the companies’ newest expansion, Viva Sales (cnbc.com)
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Employee Experience platform offering grows with new Microsoft Viva modules

I’m writing this post because I am working on a new trend report covering the subject: Employee Customer Experience Connection. So I have an interest in new developments in related fields and I also want to use these posts as a way to collate all these new developments so I can add them to the trend report as I go. I also am working with and advising customers in this space through my role at Microsoft (disclosure).

Viva Goals

So the first new concrete addition to the Microsoft Viva platform is Viva Goals, which was announced publicly a few weeks back. But this has been in the pipeline ever since and as a result of the Ally acquisition last year.

At left is the video heralding the announcement and it has a demo to show what it’s all about.

In a nutshell, Viva Goals incorporates OKR functionality into the platform. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results.

This is an extremely important addition that makes concrete sense for a company that wants to manage business outcomes more holistically. OKR’s is a way to set and track company goals and trickle them down into smaller outcomes (key results) and throughout the organisation to those responsible for achieving them.

I have been using Ally in its existing form only as a way to test the functionality. I’m really impressed with how simple it is made and they also provide good, templated solutions to help create your own.

I think when it comes to good use of an OKR tool, the devil is in the details and it is how you word the OKR’s and how you tangibly create goals that are achievable and realistic that matters. This is as much art as science but the good thing is you can track effectiveness and get better over time.

Glint

It’s no secret that Glint, a similar Microsoft acquisition through LinkedIn, and Viva play nice together and there is much value to be gained in its eventual and complete integration.

In this video from a year ago you see how Glint can integrate especially well with Viva Insights.

Glint is more than just a survey tool but essentially it is used to manage qualitative feedback from employees. Marrying the outcomes from this to more quantitative measures like you would get from Viva Insights makes the combination super powerful.

It is going to be excellent to see how this area of the employee experience evolves as it is a key addition to the Viva platform.

What’s next

Obviously, I cannot say all that I know, suffice it to say that key business scenarios are going to play a leading role.

Imagine aligning Insights to specific functions like sales as I have already described here based on recent work I did and am still doing: Microsoft 365 customer questions – Sales Productivity.

The scenarios described in the post above are pretty clear I hope but you should understand they are cobbled together solutions at the moment. Far better will be when they are integrated fully into the Viva suite.

I’ll say no more than that for now, indeed I can’t. But watch this space 👀

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The employee customer experience connection – 6 reasons to focus

With a world that is so binary I’m not surprised there isn’t more attention on this topic. People are either in the one camp, or the other, mostly. There are some, and I consider myself one, that straddle both sides. Here is why I think this is going to become increasingly important and a key differentiator for businesses if focused on properly.

First a little elaboration on my interest and role. I am watching a trend that eventually will become a report on the subject – more on that and other writing here: Employee Customer Experience Connection.

As for my role, I work as a customer success professional in the employee experience industry. Okay, the industry has only just recently identified itself thus and only in part, but effectively that is what its about.

At Microsoft where I work (disclosure), a massive part of its business, the Microsoft 365 part, is about employee or personal productivity. Formally, it’s a “productivity cloud that delivers innovative and intelligent experiences, rich organizational insights, and a trusted platform to help people and organizations get more done”.

The employee experience part that I am now heavily involved in has just recently been emphasised through a product called Microsoft Viva.

But my point is, the majority of my work has been (in the last decade or more) with people in companies concerned with helping their employees get more done for the success of the organisation. This ultimately comes through being successful with customers.

Why the employee customer experience connection matters

  1. Co-dependency. You can spend all the time in the world creating the best employee experience but if you don’t know if or how it impacts on the customer experience and outcomes, you are missing the bottom line. Customers are where the rubber hits the road and revenue and profits are earned – without this being optimised, you wont have employees for long. The rub is, it’s through employees you achieve this 🤔
  2. Data insights gold. There are tons of insights to be had on either side of the equation but if you don’t map it at the intersection, and there should be no reason why you cant, it’s wasted. At this intersection, you find the holy grail. If employee experience is the input side, the customer experience is the output side and how to optimise this, the ideal.
  3. Culture matters. What you do inside is reflected outside and the way you treat people is a linear relationship with the way employees treat customers. Company culture creation is at the forefront of that. Culture efforts are normally focused internally because it is within your control to a greater degree. Company culture impacts on and influences the culture that customer feel and lives too, so best you get it right.
  4. Proximity matters. A great example of this is the retail industry which I recently wrote about: 3 reasons retailers are leading at the intersection of employee and customer experience. Retail stores that give an employee a good experience have low turnover, and, in addition, they have a much better experience. And the firms that focus on this show higher profitability and growth. It doesn’t mean this proximity cannot be achieved in the digital realm, it’s just that in this context and for this industry, the physical experience has greater impact.
  5. Employees as customers and vice versa. You have to keep in mind that outside of your company, your employees and customers operate in both realms and get to experience good or bad encounters as a result of them. If an employee has a great experience as a customer with another company and comes back to yours to realise it’s terrible in comparison, they may not stay around for too long.
  6. Common purpose. Customers and employees alike have aspirations they strive to achieve, aligned with a sense of purpose. This cannot really be separated or compartmentalised. So you need to think about the vision of your company and what you are setting out to achieve and how you are bringing value to the world in the context of both groups alike.
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3 reasons retailers are leading at the intersection of employee and customer experience

As the featured image suggests, this is a thought rocket, some sensemaking on the fly – essentially some quick thoughts on a recent development, announcement, etc.

This post is related to a trend I am watching: Employee Customer Experience Connection. My thinking is captured in the title, in essence. It came to me on discovering the video from Samsung after which I have also added some additional thoughts:

This is really inspiring and makes total sense. It’s well within the realm of the possible so I don’t think this is just marketing fluff.

I dug a little deeper and found this article: Here’s how retailers can improve employee and customer experiences.

So clearly the hero’s of this video are Scandit technology and the Galaxy XCover Pro. But Microsoft Teams on which I work a lot (disclosure) also cracks a nod in the article.

That makes total sense and Microsoft is doing a lot of work with retailers on this – check this video out showing how the venerable institution that is Marks & Spencer in the UK, is using Teams to support their frontline workers.

Here’s why retailers are leading

  1. Frontline workers often kept things afloat and profitable during the pandemic and are the face of employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX). It’s where the rubber hits the road. Frontline workers in retail (unlike in manufacturing) are interacting with customers all the time – there really does have to be a meeting of these two experience connections as I have posited in the trend that I am watching – see infographic below which I created for this. The Samsung video really illustrates this superbly for this industry specifically.
  2. In 2022, labour shortages in general but acutely for this industry will force organisations to take a closer look at the intersection of their experience data. They will need to optimise these experiences to wring out every possible efficiency in an highly pressured and competitive environment – those that do so will win. The way to do it is through insight as to how the company is delivering through and for these two critical stakeholder groups – employee and customer.
  3. Employees want what customers already have – consumer grade experiences. And nowhere is it more evident than in retail and especially when online shopping has also exploded. So consumers have become expert at using digital to enhance their shopping experience. Employees had better be up to the same level and need/want to be – often customers in store will confront employees with the fruits of their expertise and knowledge. Internal employee tools are often not up to scratch but that is changing – see the M&S experience and how vendors like Microsoft are beefing up their support to the retail industry.

I’ve also written about the retail industry in a special section of my latest trend report – you can find out more about that and get the report by hitting the button:

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Microsoft 365 customer questions – Future of Work Vision and Strategy

I work in the business of dealing with customer questions on Microsoft 365 all the time (disclosure), either directly or indirectly. This is part of a series of posts where I share them if they can be of help to others. Where I can of course and naturally, not just the questions but the answers too. All questions and answers strive to respect both sides sensitivities (parts will have been redacted and/or anonymised) and the main topic is covered in each post title.

Question:

We need to work on a Future of Work (FoW) Vision and Strategy, can you share a good framework for arriving at one and managing its implementation as well as Microsoft’s own Vision and Strategy for FoW?

Answer:

Now I cannot share what was provided for the second part of the question, but I can for the first. For the second part though, you can get a very good view from all of the public material on the subject:

As for the first part of the question, here are two slides then a bit of elaboration.

This doesn’t need to much explanation although there is a fair bit of it accompanying the Vision and Strategy Framework which I can’t share.

Also, the Vision and Strategy Framework goes beyond just FoW considerations (the point bottom left of the slide) but it will do just fine to help formulate the thinking in this regard. This framework is actually used for digital transformation which anyway is central to FoW.

But it’s the Readiness Dashboard that really covers the specific aspects of a FoW Vision and Strategy. Now I’m not suggesting the elements covered are complete and fully comprehensive. FoW covers a huge area of work. These will probably do to get you started but the point is you can add to them, change them, remove them, etc. The point is to make them relevant to your organisation.

The point is these are both simple, iterative and accountable ways to arrive at a high level vision and strategy and a way to track progress as a you execute.

Obviously there is a lot of detail missing from this but hopefully this helps.

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Microsoft 365 customer questions – Sales Productivity

I work in the business of dealing with customers questions on Microsoft 365 all the time (disclosure), either directly or indirectly. This is part of a series of posts where I share them if they can be of help to others. Where I can of course and naturally, not just the questions but the answers too. All questions and answers strive to respect both sides sensitivities (parts will have been redacted and/or anonymised) and the main topic is covered in each post title.

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