The employee journey used to be not only predictable but relatively short. I know this because I used to embark on one, every day.
You’d commute from your home to your employer’s building. You would take up your perch in an office, a cubicle, or one of those hellish open concept spaces.
You might move occasionally to a boardroom, a breakout room, a client site or a conference. That was pretty much it.
Now, even though many employees are still physically at home and venturing no farther, they are going on far more varied and complex journeys.
They might not only be moving between applications that they had never used before March, but into and out of calls with their team, with clients and vendor partners.
They shuffle back and forth between Slack channels, e-mails and other modes of communication.
Most challenging, they may now journey through business processes that might start and end much differently than before the pandemic began.
Take it from MIT
Customer experience professionals have naturally been focused on customer journeys, and the importance of a strong employee experience has been preached so often that we all know it by heart. During the DX Summit on Wednesday, however, a research scientist from MIT’s Sloan School of Management showed me a better illustration of how the two need to interrelate.
Using the financial services firm DBS as an example, Kristine Dery made a point at once common-sensical but perhaps ignored within many organizations: that when customers are frustrated by an experience, employees likely feel the same way — because they haven’t been properly equipped to help them.
While DBS has mapped some 250 customer journeys at any one time, Dery said the bank has also looked at the digital capabilities its team needs in order to address training and skills development that will allow them to solve problems.
“When you look into that program, that it’s not just about specific data analytics skills. It’s about their ability to be able to put that together with domain knowledge, to apply that to different innovations across the organization and to be able to generate an overall change of mindset so that every person in the organization its able to leverage those skills and work in this more improvisational way,” she said.
“They can listen better, they can hear the needs of customers more effectively, and they can do that because they can draw upon those digital components.”
I realize that may sound like a bit of a mouthful, but Dery is using DBS to show what happens when you create a sort of employee experience overlay on your customer journey map.
This usually doesn’t happen right away because, in the case of COVID-19, most organizations were initially just focused on providing infrastructure to let them teams work remotely. They were offering automation but not necessarily training people to optimize their habits for the new ways of working.
Dery likened what needs to happen as a sort of digital fitness bootcamp. With more people working remotely, they will need to be able to better able to help themselves in order to address more customer needs.
The customer journey, in other words, may still be a long and winding road, but the paths they take need to include a lot of finely-honed short cuts.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.