The advantages of aligning internal and external digital channels

21 Aug 2019

Recently we wrote about the importance of employee experience and the contribution of digital channels and platforms in shaping and influencing this. In general employee experience doesn’t get the attention (and the budget) that customer experience tends to get, although in our view this disparity is short-sighted.  One reason is that actually employee experience can positively influence customer experience. There is an argument to suggest that the two are inextricably linked and that investing in employee experience can result in improvements to the service that customers receive. 

This is particularly true in the area of digital employee experience where, for example:

  • Strong collaboration tools can help employees to innovation and drive new services for customers, as well as work together to improve customer service
  • Workflow and automation on the internal digital workplace can enable smooth customer-related processes
  • High quality content presented internally about products and services can help frontline employees interact with customers and solve issues
  • Internal communications and engagement delivered via internal channels can help inspire good customer service and drive employee advocacy that will be felt externally through touchpoints with customers.

There has also been research that suggests good employee experience positively drives customer experience and business performance. A 2017 study carried out by Kristine Dery and Ina Sebastian from the MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) suggests that companies with higher levels of employee experience compared to those with lower levels of experience can have up to:

  • 51% better levels of innovation
  • double the customer satisfaction
  • 25% greater profitability.

What are the implications for digital teams?

The link between employee experience and customer experience has some implications for digital teams. Strategically, employee experience needs to be getting as much attention as customer experience and that includes investment in digital. 

Operationally, some of the approaches applied to customer experience could also be applied to employee experience, and there should be some level of consistency and alignment between employee- and customer-facing digital channels. We explore why ‘consistency and alignment’ is important below. 

Achieving consistency and alignment between external and internal channels

At Sitemorse we’re passionate about digital consistency and we’ve designed our platform around automated assessment processes that help teams to identify compliance and brand issues that potentially undermine a consistent experience. 

In terms of consistency and alignment we mean elements such as:

  • Visual branding
  • The language and tone of voice around products and services
  • The level of the “quality” of the user experience
  • Levels of compliance, for example around accessibility.

Although customers and employees are different audiences and have different needs, getting some level of consistency and alignment can help drive the positive link between customer and employee experience and reduce the risks that inconsistency can deliver. Here are five reasons why.

  1. Employees need to feel as valued as customers

    Employees read external-facing channels too and in companies such as retailers, utilities suppliers or high street banks, many employees may also be customers too. Where there is a clear disparity between customer and employee experiences (with the latter usually the poor relation) it can lead to disengagement from employees. 

  2. Brand consistency across customer touchpoints

    Frontline employees represent your brand to your customers. If there is inconsistent branding and content directed to employees and customers, it can cause inconsistency in the brand messages that customers receive across different touchpoints such as speaking to retail staff or call centre contacts.

  3. Product and services information

    Product and services information must be 100% consistent and accurate across internal and external channels otherwise customers may receive contradictory information and also support.

  4. Compliance is important for everybody 

    Accessibility standards, GDPR and other areas of compliance apply as much to employees as they do to customers. Internal and external channels should both benefit from the same processes that help drive compliance.

  5. Employee advocacy initiatives

    Employee advocacy initiatives are designed to facilitate employees sharing brand messages about your company on their own social media channels. This usually involves presenting messages internally and then allowing employees to easily share them externally. This requires complete consistency between the specific articles that are presented internally and the version that is promoted externally.  

How Sitemorse can help

Many teams already find Sitemorse’s automated assessment capability, identification of priority issues and targeted notifications makes a huge difference to the customer experience, driving compliance, better brand standards and higher quality content. Running the same automated assessment process across your internal channels too means that you can not only drive a better digital employee experience but also align customer and employee channels and experiences.

If you’d like more information on how Sitemorse can help drive consistency and alignment across your entire digital footprint and digital workplace then please get in touch!