As the year ends, we often times find ourselves reflecting on what worked for our business and what didn’t work for us. What were the highs and lows? What are our goals for the year to come? Reflecting on 2020, we’ve been thinking how much the year’s events impacted Customer and Employee Experience.
While a rather modern term, the concept of “customer experience” harkens back to the early days of commerce when butchers, bakers, and dressmakers were focused entirely on in-person interactions. In those early days, successful businesses sought to demonstrate empathy throughout the customer journey. Recently, more and more businesses have been using empathy to understand their employees as much as their customers, and how that relationship works together.
What did 2020 teach us in the CX space? Don’t forget your employees.
The idea that companies need to relate to their customers’ wants and needs along the journey became more measurable and data-driven while also becoming increasingly accessible through digital tools. The focus on measurement allowed us to keep empathy slightly at arm’s reach.
Then 2020 came along. We are slowly being brought back to empathize with our employees as much as with our customers. Our shared ability to relate to the hardships of 2020 has led us to act with more understanding and grace. Whether it was being laid off, battling Covid-19, missing family during holidays and important milestones, feeling anxious in the midst of social unrest, or simply not being able to buy more toilet paper, 2020 brought change and uncertainty that no one could anticipate and no one could avoid. That drove us to start looking inward at our employees in addition to looking outward at our customers.
Key to success? Practice empathy with both customers and employees.
Increasingly, customers are looking at how we treat our employees as much as how we treat them as customers. Fortunately, in 2020 we saw many companies demonstrate unprecedented levels of empathy with their employees at a time when it was greatly needed. They increased communications and feedback loops to better understand how employees are feeling and what they can do to help. At record speed, businesses pivoted to remote work and increased customers’ ability to self-serve through digital methods. In turn, customers revealed more patience and grace with customer service.
Thank you, 2020, for humanizing everyone. You grounded us in what matters – empathy and acting with grace. You gave us the perspective to move forward and improve our Employee Experience so that those employees can in turn continue to improve Customer Experience in 2021. Employee Experience is here to stay and will continue to be at the heart of Customer Experience programs and efforts.