Companies that make the mistake of creating poor employee experiences cannot realistically expect those same employees to create great experiences for their customers, a leading organisational psychologist has advised.

Speaking at the recent Experiential Marketing Summit in Singapore, Padmini Pandya, who also works as principal APAC digital strategist at Adobe’s digital strategy group, emphasised that great employee experience leads to great customer experience.

“We talk about experiences often as if they happen out of thin air, like they create themselves, but the truth is they don’t create themselves,” she said.

“It’s actually your employees who create these incredible customer experiences: your employees are in fact your first customers, not your customers themselves.” (For more, including tips on organisational transformation, read WARC’s report: How empowering employees creates better customer experience.)

Great employee experiences also go beyond the feel-good factor and make a notable impact on sales growth, she said, as she pointed to research by McKinsey, the international consultancy, which analysed the outcomes of better employee experience on companies’ top and bottom lines.

According to the McKinsey study, great employee experiences improved customer satisfaction by 20%, delivered 20% to 30% more engaged staff as well as boosting topline revenue growth by 10% to 15%.

“They didn’t have to get new customers. They didn’t have to retain old customers. They didn’t have to sell a single thing. Because the employees... [had] less churn, there was more upsell, they worked hard on acquisition, and then finally lowered cost to serve,” Pandya said.

By way of example, she cited low-cost American carrier Southwest Airlines, which encourages flight attendants to make witty flight safety announcements.

While that might sound risky on the face of it, Southwest Airlines discovered on examining their customer data that loyal customers who were on a flight with a funny flight safety announcement flew an average of a half-flight more in the next year compared with those who did not hear one.

“[They] realised that if they doubled the number of customers who heard humourous flight safety announcements as opposed to regular ones, they would in fact increase top growing revenue of US$140m dollars annually… just for creating that one- to two-minute customer experience,” said Pandya.

Sourced from WARC