Aligning your employees with your customer experience agenda …using employee surveys productively


How do you bring your teams together behind your customer experience agenda? The point is that your customer experience is influenced to a large extent by the internal dynamics of the organization. Success is directly linked to the way people think and behave internally.

If they are happy with internal goings-on then they will reciprocate by putting their best foot forward, the contrast to this needs no mention, your guess is as good as mine. Ultimately the customer feels the vibes and can tell when things are going right through the barometer of personal interactions with your touchpoints.

Think about this common scenario in any organization, there is this ‘go-to’ person who gets things done and there is this other guy who has a reputation of unresponsiveness. The inconsistency here results in underperformance in your organization’s experience in the eyes of the customer.

How do you build a culture of consistency where the customer can attest to the fact that regardless of where they engage with you the story turns out the same? You need a suite of competency tools or resources to help you identify underperforming areas and address the inconsistencies effectively.

The following surveys are very useful tools and resources to help you identify pain points and appropriately address them to achieve consistency across the organization in your experience quest. First, the staff satisfaction surveys are very useful in helping uncover systemic problems in the organization.

Second, employee engagement and service climate survey more closely link with organizational performance as it links customer experience with business outcomes. Third, internal service surveys help you measure exact sentiments internally in contrast to relying on hearsay as a source of feedback from your frontlines.

Staff satisfaction survey

A good reason to understand the perspective of your employees is that they deal with customers variously daily and different scenarios play up in those dealings.  Note that in customer engagements at your frontlines how your employees react depends on their depth of understanding of customer experience. For example, a single customer can only share his/her experience with your brand.

Conversely, employees interact with hundreds of customers and so they tend to deal with hundreds of customer issues thereby developing a deeper insight into the customer experience.  The hearts and minds of employees are directly linked to the experiences they deliver. Simply put angry employees will typically not be motivated to help customers.

Throwback to my personal experience in a retail store in the heart of London, it resonates with this claim as a store attendant was unashamedly pointing me to the next store because they had better quality items and were more competitive price-wise than his, clearly an embittered employee betraying his paymasters.

A high satisfaction rate among your staff will positively impact your wider business in several ways. To begin with, happy employees equal happy customers. If your employees in customer-facing roles are dissatisfied, their impact on the quality of your customer service offering will be negative.

When you use employee input to shape your business processes, you gain their buy-in and full commitment because they own it and feel part of the solution. In a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of client Peakon (a software business), it was estimated that voluntary staff turnover was reduced by 10% after three years with Peakon due to their awareness of how leadership acted on their feedback from surveys.

Knowing that you are taking direct steps to improve their experience at work will have a positive impact on overall employee morale. A targeted satisfaction survey is an effective way to better understand the factors dictating the levels of employee satisfaction. It has a significant impact on key areas including employee retention, career development, training, and company culture among others.

Employee engagement and service climate 

Employee satisfaction surveys are a series of questions that provide insights into how people experience their work environment, and how positively they feel about the work environment. An engagement survey on the other hand delves further and examines the overarching mood and morale in your company.

It enables you to identify any issues and make the necessary adjustments to keep your employees happy. However, doesn’t mean sacrificing a focus on customers. Here it draws attention to employees’ shared practices and perceptions, procedures, and behaviours that are supported and rewarded by the organization concerning customer service.

According to researchers, Khan (1990), it is defined by the “simultaneous employment and expression of a person’s preferred self in tasks behaviours that promote connections to work and others, personal presence ((physical cognitive and emotion) and active full performance”.   Here’s why the employee engagement survey is different from the staff satisfaction survey.

A satisfaction survey is very focused as it measures only how happy an employee is at work. This however can be misleading as an employee can be happy at work without being engaged with your company’s mission and values.  An engagement survey looks at how invested an employee is in the company, factoring in the whole span of their day-to-day working life.

It pays to have employees who feel satisfied and happy with their work however this should be considered in the wider framework of their overall engagement. When workers are engaged they are generally more valuable as they show higher levels of dedication to your organization. Identifying the drivers of employee satisfaction, then measuring employee engagement is the way to go.

I watched this video on social media once where a young man in a moves company had to journey some miles to start work at a client’s house the next day. Because he didn’t have a means of transport nor the means to get there he decided to walk all night to make the journey. He got there in good time and was able to do the work however his determination and dedication are what caught everyone’s attention.

The changing face of work due to the new (covid-19 induced) norm has made this even more compelling. With a lot more people working from home the direct consequence is that there is a growing disconnect at the workplace. Corporate leaders are now having to creatively introduce policies to look out for their teams in these tough times.  By complementing your engagement strategy with employee satisfaction surveys, you gain priceless insights into what policies will best suit your employees and support them adequately in their career journey.

Internal service surveys

One area you need to respond to quickly on your internal CX is underperforming departments as these become a nuisance the longer, they plague your organization. Even more concerning is that they can cost you, customers. Long processing times, cumbersome and unnecessary red tape and general unresponsiveness internally will ultimately reflect on your frontlines failing to serve customers effectively. The solution is simple, move away from hearsay and gossip as a method of gathering important information and focus on a more disciplined and actionable approach.

Dave fish (2021) recommends the following key steps to help us address these pitfalls as it enables you to bring teams together and focus on your external CX measure simultaneously.

Step 1: Determine what matters in your culture – Each culture is unique in terms of what constitutes a good customer experience. Therefore, by introducing a few key questions in your survey you are well placed to address the following domains;

  1. Ease to do business with – Do other departments throw up roadblocks, or is it easy to do business with them? Do they respond promptly?
  2. Domain competence – Do you have the skillset as a department that enables you to render internal services effectively? Can you get done what you are supposed to get done?
  • Empathy – Do you treat (internal) customers as important and understand their needs from their point of view or are you seen to focus on your viewpoint only in providing service?

It is suggested that you can also draw in questions such as trust, quality, value, range of services, and relationships. The caveat here is not to try and address too many questions at a go. Focus on what matters to your organization and the way to get this right is through a series of workgroup discussions with different parts of the organization. This way you get buy-in on what metric works best for you.

Step 2: Determine what the core deliverables are for your department – if you are in accounting, you keep track of budgets, while marketing help promote the company’s products and services, HR focuses on recruiting, selecting, onboarding, and engaging in employee relations. Pick between 3 to 5 deliverables for which your department is responsible and ask people to evaluate. Establish a baseline and assess how you are improving as you deploy this process.

Step 3: Develop a departmental classification – It is recommended that you use controlled numbers for good effect. Therefore, in grouping participating departments ensure that you don’t end up with huge numbers. Some departments (depending on the size of your organization) have large numbers, for example, if you group say corporate communications with brand, product, and retail marketing what numbers do you end with. Keeping small numbers is helpful to ensure that you do not lose the trail.

Step 4: Decide if you want transactional or relational measures – This happens right after an interaction and focuses specifically on the interaction. Relational studies ask about things in general with the department. There is no one best approach and in fact, are both used simultaneously in Voice of the Customer (VOC) Programmes. Your choice of how to apply either one depends on whether your departments have a beginning and endpoint in interaction. Usually, that is not the case as services are rendered on an ongoing basis. This makes the relational approach a better option due to the need for continuity.

Step 5: This is where it is advisable to use technology. Invest in paid self-service platforms (Qualtrics if you want to do it yourself). Evaluate how the departments interact with each other and seek out the outcomes of these interactions. What do they say about each other? Do they hand out praise or constructive criticism to help colleagues in other departments improve their interactions?

Step 6:  Analyze – With the help of dashboards and analytic platforms analyze the data. Examples of tools are Tableau or any other visualization platform that will serve your purpose. You may invest in a prebuilt dashboard with access-level restrictions incorporated for effective control and management of information.

Getting a hang of who is doing well and who is not doing well in delivering services will help throw more light on workflows as well as areas for investment and coaching to improve performance. Ultimately this, in turn, will help your organization deliver a better experience to those who are paying the bills, your customers.


Build a resilient customer experience governance model The Writer is a Management Consultant. He can be reached on 059 175 7205, [email protected],





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