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When we talk about experiences, most of us are probably referring to your customers interacting with your products or services. But there’s another important experience you might be overlooking: the employee experience. Your employees can be your greatest advocates. They know your products and services inside and out and understand your company’s culture and mission. But how often do you measure your employees’ experience with your product or services—and your culture and organization? Do you know how your employees feel about coming to work every day? How do you think their answers impact your customers’ experience? Focusing on your customer is important, but your employees are essentially your customers, too. Here are three reasons why you should be focused on your employees’ experience just as much as your customers’.
One of your best marketing strengths happens to be sitting at their desk right down the hall. According to a survey by Social Media Today, content that’s shared by employees enjoys a much higher engagement than that of brands themselves—up to eight times higher. A survey by Weber Shandwick reveals that an estimated 98% of employees engage with social media, and 50% of them are already posting about their employer. All this points to a huge opportunity for organizations to build brand awareness and advocacy—and more importantly, earn loyalty. With that potential exposure, however, your company could become famous or infamous depending on how your employees feel about their work. Think about how this impacts everyone that interacts with your brand. What do you think the first thing a potential customer does when they’re researching your company and your competitors? They Google you, scan your Twitter feed, look you up on Facebook, and check out your Instagram stories. What they find depends not only on your customers’ experience but, you guessed it, your employees’ experience, too. If your employees are engaged and feel connected and aligned with your company, your customers will likely see them retweeting company posts, commenting on the brand, and even proudly bragging about the product or their experience working for the company. Now imagine what happens if your employee has a terrible experience at work. That experience could make its way to social media for anyone to see and it’s probably not going to win you any points with your audience (or prospective employees). If you’re lucky enough to dodge any social media disasters, that doesn’t mean that you’re out of the woods. Word of mouth is still a powerful marketing tool, and when an employee has a lousy experience, they’re going to tell all their friends, family, dentist, garbage collector, mail carrier—anyone who will listen. And then each of those people tells two friends, and then they tell two friends...you get the picture. Your employees are your brand just as much as your product. They’re also your strongest brand advocates. Make sure that they know you value their experience just as much as your customers’ and you’ll cultivate a solid base of loyal supporters.
Employee engagement has become a buzzword for human resources and executives alike—and for good reason. Study after study shows that giving your employees the attention and culture they need translates, among many other benefits, into increased profits. Since 1998, the companies on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list outperformed the S&P by nearly two to one. There’s a reason that many of the companies that you find listed as a great place to work are household names. Those companies focus on creating an irresistible culture that empowers employees and makes them feel aligned with the company’s mission. They know that their competitive advantage is its employees, and they do everything they can to make sure they have an incredible experience.
Finding the right employee for the job and your company’s culture isn’t easy. So when you do find them, you want them to stick around. According to a study by Corporate Leadership Council, employees that have a great experience with a company are 87% less likely to look for another job. Can you really afford to lose great talent that makes such an impact on your business? Your employees have a lot of choices when it comes to where they work and they're smart—just like your customers. If your employees don’t get what they want or need from their experience working with you, they'll find it elsewhere—your customers probably will, too.
You’ve put a lot of effort into building your company. From hiring the best and brightest, to developing a fantastic product that you’ve tested until it’s just what your customers want and need—you may think that you’ve thought of everything. But if you’re not paying attention to one of the biggest factors in your customer experience, your employees, you’re missing out on a huge driver for growth and customer loyalty and trust. Create a culture that values honest, real-time feedback, and encourage your employees to chime in on everything from daily operations to product design. Your employees are your first customers, and they deserve an experience that’s just as phenomenal as the ones you’re designing for your customers. Your employee experience is where your customer experience begins.
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