The Customer Experience Begins with Creating a Compelling Employee Experience

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John W. Sigmon

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Organizations spend billions each year to expand and leverage their understanding of consumer preferences and loyalties; constantly segmenting and targeting us in an effort to generate higher net promoter scores and lure new business.

Forward thinking and innovative organizations like Zappos, General Electric, and Nestle, have strategically invested in carefully crafted experiences that focus not only on the customer but on their employees’ experiences. Jacob Morgan (The Employee Experience Advantage, 2017) has carefully researched and many leading edge organizations that have successfully navigated the intersection of employee experience and consumer experience.

From the HR lens John Boudreau, Ian Ziskin, Ravin Jesuthasan and many others have researched and written extensively about the evolving landscape of automation, artificial intelligence (AI), the “gig economy”and their collective impact on work.

Everyday across the globe employees experience a significant disconnect between their day to day experiences as consumers and their experiences on the job. Let me give an example. Fifteen years ago I purchased a home and went to closing to get the keys, never having touched a piece of paper. When I went back to work the following week I was transported back to a work reality of “dumb” copiers, lethargic and clunky system applications, and archaic telecommunications.

Advances in cognitive technology (e.g., speech recognition) and AI have vastly improved consumer experiences. Chatbots represent an evolution/iteration of the ever ubiquitous messaging app. Chatbots engage in natural language conversations with users and perform a wide variety of tasks on their behalf. They act much like a messaging app, but only you are chatting with an AI platform (think Watson), rather than your friend or colleague.

The Aspect Consumer Experience Index shows that 65% of consumers feel good when they resolve a customer service issue without a live person, and 70% prefer to use chatbots to interact with companies for routine requests.

With the ever-increasing need for HR to dedicate resources to strategic initiatives along with headcount and budgetary pressures, two particular aspects of HR standout as prime candidates for AI overlays- talent acquisition and talent development.

Talent Acquisition platforms are ripe for use of chatbots to improve the candidate AND the employee experience. Candidates are often frustrated by career sites and abandonment rates can be quite high. Remember the consumer experience! If a candidate can ask Alexa/Siri/Google Home what movies are playing and get a response in 5 seconds, how patient is that candidate going to be with your career site? Now, imagine a quick pop up chatbot that interacts with your candidate in natural language and can point them to a particular job or invite them to enroll in your talent community. Your existing employees also benefit from begin able to navigate your job board quickly and easily, and in a manner that is comfortable and matches their external experience.

Figure 1. Sample Learning Management System Chatbot Conversation

Internal learning management systems are also prime candidates. Rather than employees scrolling around to find a particular offering they can opt to use a chat feature.

Additional applications are limited only by organizational willingness to invest effort and resources. Many organizations have a vast intranet feature as a way to embrace employee self-service and improve resource allocation. What a great idea… a decade ago! How much time do your employees spend trying to find information on your intranet? Probably much more than desirable. How much more efficient could your team be if all the intranet content was managed by an AI backend with an employee facing chat feature?

The future is here and the time for excuses and rationalizations is over, let’s move forward and create organizations where the employee experiences EXCEEDS their consumer experiences.

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