While executives say they understand the importance of worker experience and its impact on customer experience—and, thus, on customer loyalty and revenue—many business leaders struggle to fully implement programs that create meaningful links between worker experience and customer experience, according to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of global services company Appiro.

The results of the study are based on interviews and an online survey carried out between February and April 2017 of 450 business leaders at the manager level and above in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, and Australia. The findings indicated that 90% of the business leaders surveyed believe engaged workers are able to provide superior customer service, and that 88% believe that worker experience directly affects their company’s bottom line, including revenue and the overall return on investment of business objectives.

However, 87% of the executives surveyed reported that they face hurdles when trying to improve worker experience in meaningful ways. Researchers also observed that many leaders lack focus in their approaches to improving worker experience: 70% of respondents identified more than eight solutions for improving worker experience, and 48% admitted that they address worker experience in an ad hoc way that results in less substantial implementation.

The findings further suggested that worker experience is not an implementation priority for most executives: only 26% of the business leaders surveyed said their company has a formal, dedicated worker experience program, and 20% admitted to doing nothing to address worker experience directly.

Researchers also pointed out that while there is a growing belief that worker experience affects customer experience and the bottom line, relatively few companies evaluate worker experience by assessing improvements in their customer experience rates. When the executives were asked what metrics they use to evaluate the success of worker experience efforts at their company, the top responses were worker productivity (56%), worker retention (46%), engagement with work (44%), and profitability (43%). By contrast, the respondents were less likely to say they use customer experience scores (42%) and customer retention (32%) to measure the success of worker experience initiatives.

The survey results also indicated that more than three-quarters (79%) of the respondents acknowledge that their business faces challenges in delivering a superior customer experience, several of which are related to worker experience. When asked to identify the sources of these problems, 29% said organization structures prevent the business from delivering the intended customer service, 28% admitted that workers aren’t empowered to fix the customer experience when they find problems, 26% said the business lacks the technology it needs to properly support customers, and 26% acknowledged that workers’ goals don’t reflect the business’ customer experience goals.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 60, Issue 8

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