Recently I attended the inaugural Customer360 Africa conference in Sandton, Johannesburg, with a few of my colleagues. It was a great event! We gained several new friends, as well as some interesting new perspectives to digest.

As anticipated, many of the key CX topics were covered by some high-caliber speakers, including silos, big data processing, metrics and analytics, AI and ML, personalization, loyalty, journey mapping and CX technology.

But there was one topic in particular that stood out for me as a core theme: Employee Experience (EX) vs Customer Experience (CX), can one survive without the other? I was surprised to see how many corporate speakers either touched on or covered this topic, and how many came to the same conclusion.

Research shows that CX leaders have more engaged employees:

Source: Temking Group

Shane Petersen, Head of Customer Operations at Shell probably summarized it best, “Without happy employees, you won’t have engaged employees. And, a lack of engagement has a direct impact on customer experience.”

“86 percent of CX executives ranked employee engagement as having an equal or greater impact than other factors such as project management and data skills.” – Gartner, Inc. survey

Do you have an EX initiative included in your CX strategy?

In our business, we regularly assist our clients with defining CX and digital communication strategies.

Typically, the strategy starts off by identifying known problem areas, prioritizing and then targeting them first. This usually results in a list of items that includes “Customer on-boarding”, “Customer retention” and “Acquisition of millennials” in the top five.

Interestingly however, I am yet to facilitate a session where an EX initiative has been prioritized as one of the key CX focus areas. Yet, so many organizations identify it as critical to achieving a great CX.

This insight was a great take away for me and something that I will be adding to my CX arsenal of considerations and questions going forward. As Chantel Botha from Brandlove so eloquently put it, “it is crucial that we dip all of our employees into some ’customer sauce’.”

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