Conversations around ‘customer experience management’ often center around the customer. Does this interaction meet or exceed customer expectations? Would this innovation or process lead to consumer satisfaction and loyalty? But where does the customer journey truly begin if not with an employee? This article will be the first in a series of Voice of the Employee (VoE) blogs where I will reflect on how a strong customer experience strategy goes beyond thinking only about customers; listening to employees is just as important, also.

Many companies fall into the trap of thinking of customer experience first, and employees experience second. There’s little if any connection between the two events. If a business does consider employee experience, typically it’s as an afterthought, happier customers will lead to happier employees. I believe a strong CX strategy starts with employee engagement; rather than ending with it.

Let’s explore what likely comes to mind when we talk about employee engagement. Often, businesses listen to employees through periodic, structured annual surveys/reviews, likely with the support of Talent/Human Resource teams. The information is collated at an aggregate level and given to upper management. Reflecting back on my previous blogs, we know that effective feedback is timely feedback. There’s no reason why the same principles that govern strong VoC programs can’t apply to VoE as well. Here’s an example, let’s say you have 2,400 people in your company. From ResponseTek’s perspective, we would recommend an annual semi-structured survey as well as cross functional sampling of 200 employees per month, or 50 people weekly. With the ability to check in with employees on a regular basis, you have a better pulse on what impedes and enables your employees to do their job effectively and can therefore act accordingly.

I think the first step in achieving CX is by putting employees first. We need to break the stereotype of what employee feedback should be by turning to technology to solve this problem, with real time daily and weekly feedback data points. This information should be used to inform future management decisions and strategy through the company, offer organizational insight and add to a company’s competitive advantage. If the beginning of any customer journey starts with an employee, so too should your CX strategy.