When was the last time you had an experience you really enjoyed—as a customer, an employee, or just a human being? Hopefully, this is a fairly easy question to answer. But here’s a different one: How would you rate your satisfaction with that experience on a scale from one to 10?
Quantifying experience isn’t easy. Despite this level of difficulty—or perhaps because of it—entire industries have sprung up to help companies measure the experiences they deliver to employees and customers. Capturing and measuring experience is as vital as it is elusive.
If we can quantify experiences, we can improve them. So far, surveys have represented our best efforts in this arena. Many of us are familiar with net promoter score surveys, which help us put a finger on the customer’s pulse, or voice of employee surveys, which do something similar for employees.
Corporate organizations aren’t the only ones trying to put a number on experience. Gallup’s Global Emotions Report measures people’s positive and negative experiences worldwide. Every year, Gallup surveys about a thousand respondents in each country, asking questions about how often they’ve laughed, felt pain, gotten angry, or cried recently. These individual moments—having a laugh, lashing out at a loved one—are sorted into “positive” and “negative” experiences.
When we talk about moments that matter in the business world, we’re really trying to do the same thing as Gallup. Maybe we’re not asking our customers and employees about the last time they wept, but the principle is the same. Breaking down a human experience into discrete moments helps us understand what makes people tick.
Lately, it’s become clear to me that we’re going about this the wrong way. Currently, customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) are on two different tracks. Different departments and teams are in charge of measuring and improving experiences for customers and employees. When I talk to business leaders, they think they have to make a choice. They can either allocate money toward better experiences for their customers, or they can make life better for their employees. To me, that’s the wrong way to think about it.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. ServiceNow recently surveyed 1,000 C-level executives around the world about how they deliver CX and EX. I found their answers illuminating. Put simply, companies that excel at experience delivery don’t think of the two as separate. Instead, they align EX and CX to multiply the effects of each. Rather than tracking and improving one or the other, they’re looking for ways to do both at once.
More than half of all organizations that took this tack ended up increasing their revenue, improving the quality of their products and services, and advancing their strategic goals. That’s a stunning figure. And it’s not just about the money. Executives at leading experience organizations reported their employees were happier, safer, and more loyal. Teamwork came easier for them. Collaboration was smoother and more enjoyable.
These results tell me we’re in a new era of total experience. That’s a good thing. It also means that managers must learn how to improve experiences across the board.