Do your employees believe in the product or service your company offers? If you’re a manager, odds are that more than one in five people working for you don’t. A recent GetApp survey found that a significant portion of workers express indifference or worse, pessimism, when asked to rate their employer’s product experience.

If you want to promote customer loyalty, it is essential that employees not only believe in your product but are also willing and able to communicate its value to customers. As businesses increasingly compete on customer experience, understanding your organizations CX drivers and shortcomings will be essential to remaining competitive.
 
To do this, start with two important points about customer experience:

  1. Product experience has the single greatest influence on CX and loyalty.
  2. Employee insights and buy-in are key to improving product experience.

Product experience drives customer loyalty

Gartner research (available to clients) suggests product experience (what the company does and how it feels to customers) has the single greatest ability to improve customer loyalty. Accounting for 36% of the change in Gartner’s attitudinal loyalty index, product experience is trailed by interaction experience at 30.4% and outperforms brand perception (20.4%) and price (13%) combined.
 
The four major components that define product experience are:

  • Life enrichment: Does the product make customer lives better?
  • Product Utility: Does the product work for customers?
  • Product Usability: Is the product easy for customers to use?
  • Customer needs alignment: Does the company’s product address changing customer needs?

How workers feel about their employer’s product experience

We saw 20% of business leaders and 36% of associates give neutral or negative responses when asked if the product their organization offers positively enriches the lives of its customers. While neutral responses are difficult to interpret, indifferent or negative opinions of important product experience metrics hints at underlying tension.

Chart showing if employees believe their product makes lives better

Similarly, 19% of leaders and 22% of associates expressed indifference or negativity when asked if the product their employer offers is easy to use. Associates consistently had a higher rate of neutral and negative responses compared with business leaders, while leaders consistently held more extreme positive views of their organization’s product experience

Chart showing what employees think about their product usability

Customers won’t love your product until employees love it first

It’s no secret that happy, engaged employees directly influence the economic performance of your company—but remember the door swings both ways. Unhappy, disengaged employees are likely to speak out against your product or organization and are increasingly empowered by the prevalence of social media.

Regardless of an employee’s role, be it customer-facing or not, they make critical contributions to customer experience and frequently have valuable ideas on how to make products better. Don’t let this resource go untapped by failing to simply ask workers how they perceive your product experience and how they might change it.

Employees can help you deliver a better product experience

Your employees are the first line of defense in safeguarding a positive product experience. As the designers, communicators, and ambassadors of your product, their opinions matter. If your business values customer loyalty, regularly survey your employees to understand where product experience might be falling short of expectations.

Keep this process simple by asking your employees these five questions about product experience:

  • Does our product make our customers’ lives better?
  • Does our product work for our customers?
  • Is our product easy for customers to use?
  • Does our product address our customers’ needs?
  • What, if anything, would you change about our product to make it better?

Interpreting these results may prove challenging but will also be illuminating. Keep in mind employee sentiment does not translate directly into action and should be corroborated with a direct sampling of customer sentiment.

Instead, view this as an opportunity to surface ideas from employees that may otherwise never speak out. In the event that a sizable portion of your employees doesn’t believe in your product, consider how you might alter perceptions by better communicating your organization’s unique value to customers.

How your company actually communicates its value is likely to vary wildly by industry, but the ultimate goal is fostering a workforce that admires the product they are creating or selling and to give customers comfort knowing that they’ve made a smart choice in doing business with you.

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Methodology

In May 2019, GetApp used Amazon Mechanical Turk to survey 346 business leaders and associates. Both groups were required to be employed full-time and reside in the United States. Respondents also had to work in a business with 500 or fewer employees. Over 90% of leaders and associates reported working for businesses earning USD 250 million or less in total annual revenue.

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