The age of experience

Customer and employee experience are two halves of the same coin

Editor’s note: Dave Wright is the chief innovation officer of ServiceNow. He guest edited the Age of Experience issue of Workflow Quarterly.

During the pandemic, digital experiences became the primary way knowledge workers got things done.

This big shift won’t reverse itself when the virus is behind us. We’ve entered a new world of work defined by virtual experiences delivered on digital platforms.

To understand how successful organizations provide great experiences to all their stakeholders, ServiceNow and ThoughtLab conducted a survey of 1,000 global C-level executives working in five industry sectors across 13 countries. Annual revenues of their companies ranged from $350 million to more than $5 billion.

We identified best practices by categorizing respondents as beginners, intermediates, or leaders, based on the progress they have made in key areas of customer and employee experience, and correlated this with the benefits they are generating. This enabled us to show what leaders do differently than others, and the benefits to be gained by moving to the next stage of maturity.

More than half the respondents, across all industries, reported that digitizing and aligning customer and employee experiences yielded greater revenue—the top benefit reported. Investments in new workplace practices and digital tools created a virtuous cycle, contributing to employee well-being and to a better understanding of customer needs. In turn, this yielded better experiences for customers.

The survey identified challenges as well. An explosion of digital channels has given unhappy customers more paths to publicize their grievances. And for all the benefits of remote work (more time with family, fewer soul-crushing commutes), it has also increased worker isolation and blurred the boundary between work and personal life.

The survey identified employee resistance to change as the most pressing issue for companies that seek to deliver better experiences. Amazing tech won’t matter much if employees don’t use it.

(Other results from the customer experience survey are highlighted throughout the magazine.)

We packed this issue of Workflow Quarterly with stories designed to help your organization prosper in the age of experience. On page 8, we present an exclusive interview with customer experience guru Seth Earley, who explains how AI can help companies create bespoke experiences at moments that matter for customers. On page 10, Evan Ramzipoor reports on how business leaders can persuade employees to support digital transformation projects. And on page 16, I argue that well-crafted, measurable experiences are the future of business.

That’s just a taste of what’s in this issue. What we’ve learned—and experienced—we share with you.