Foster connection as a two-way street

People need to be heard. You’re probably familiar with this expression. After the changes of the last year and a half, it feels as true as ever. People employees and customers alike need to meaningfully connect with the organisations they support, and it starts with being heard and understood.

Karyn Furstman

You’ve arrived at part four of our CMO white paper blog series. Just diving in? Check out part one, How can you turn a moment into a movement?’ part two, Create a humanity-centred brand strategy’, and part three, Make your way through the data labyrinth for insights from marketing and customer experience leaders around the globe to help you leverage change today and prepare your brand for the challenges of tomorrow.

With so many rapid changes in the last eighteen months, it’s easy to overlook just how many customer and employee interactions have become entirely digital. In many ways, the shift to digital experiences has opened amazing opportunities. At the same time, it’s introduced an ongoing challenge: How can you meaningfully engage with your employees and customers?

Many of the marketing and customer experience (CX) leaders in our white paper, When upheaval leads to elevation, view engagement as a top priority. In fact, 82% of them are creating new content and updated employee and customer experiences to gain a competitive edge. Overwhelmingly, they are focused on the need for conversation, storytelling, and connection with employees, prospects, customers, partners, and vendors. And to meet the new landscape, many leaders are adjusting their strategic approach with updated messaging.

Engagement is a major priority today, and the most successful brands expect that it’ll continue to be a top priority tomorrow. Looking to the future, 62% of executives cite a need for a 360-degree view of their customers to establish a meaningful, two-way connection, and 81% believe personalisation will be critical to the customer experience. It’s clear that new ways of keeping people engaged internally and externally, and having a plan for how to evolve, will be key to success.

To connect with your customers, connect with your employees

Marketing and business leaders realise that customer connection is integral to their business, but it’s not the only piece. Engaging employees and building relationships is also crucial to a holistic CX approach. The majority of executives – 81% – are betting on employee engagement as a competitive strategy.

In this complex landscape, you might be wondering what employees really want. The good news is that there are observable sentiments and needs expressed by employees across diverse industries and types of work. Simply put, employees are looking for the same level of transparency and two-way dialogue that customers want from the brands they support. And with many organisations having shifted to a hybrid or remote work model, employees need to feel connected and engaged on a new level.

Like customers, employees want to feel that the company they work for cares about them and holds values that mirror their own. When employees can see that the vision, mission, and core values of their organisation are an integral part of their day-to-day and reflected across how the company does business, brands not only retain talent, they also create a culture that puts the customer at the centre and enables achievement of broader business and CX goals.

So, how can you achieve a 360-degree connection?

To meet the tremendous need to drive authentic communication across the spectrum of stakeholders, you’ll need inventive ways to break down barriers and create genuine connections. If you haven’t already, consider a CXM (customer experience management) framework as part of your approach. Wondering what that entails? Let’s break it down.

Creating a successful CXM framework starts with getting clarity on your customer’s journey. All experiences have peaks and valleys – the key to delivering exceptional experiences is to listen to your customer, recognise how their peak moments equate to your key growth metrics, and then deliver on those moments.

Implementing a CXM framework enables your teams to understand outside-in perceptions about the customer experience and make informed decisions on how to manage it. Equipped with an effective CX strategy, you can ultimately create meaningful connections with employees and customers, cultivate a data-driven, customer-focused culture, and empower your teams to deliver on long-term business goals.

For more insights from marketing leaders and CXOs, check out our white paper, ‘When upheaval leads to elevation'.