Customer and employee experiences matter
Taking a balanced look beyond the obvious workflow touchpoints of your company can lead to important discoveries about the how and why of your customers’ and employees’ behaviors. This can lead to a better understanding of how to serve your team and customers better because your teams’ experience is tied to your customers’ experience.
The best places to find customer-employee interactions are at touchpoints or places where either the customer, employee, or both interact with your company. But what about those touchpoints that happen before and after the customer or employee interacts directly with the service of your business?
I’ve been told to start at the parking lot when designing or investigating a service. This is great advice because you can observe for example, do the customers know where to park, can they find your business once they’ve parked, what are the obstacle to parking in your area. This is also important for your team. You can observe how far do your employees have to park from your business to allow customers closer access? Parking far might not be bad on a nice day but how does this affect your employees’ mood coming into work on a rainy or cold day?
Outside experiences affect mood
So how does this affect the decisions being made by your customers or employees? What’s the first thing that goes through their head when they think of your business?
“I really want to have lunch there but the parking is so bad.”
I’m so cold by the time I walk from the parking lot to work it takes me ten extra minutes just to get my head in the game.”
Then the same customer and employee meet after their experiences. The customer wants their food faster because parking took so long and they have to get back to work. The employee is still more focused on getting warm than really paying attention to the order.
Your parking lot situation may have just cost you a customer and extinguished your employees’ productivity for the day.
Needless to say I think parking should be considered a service.
Mapping the Customer and Employee experience
Lets break this scenario down into three steps.
Our scenario, the parking lot experience.
Our actors, the employee, a cafe team member, he has to park further away from the café to allow customers closer parking. The customer; she on her lunch break and can’t find parking.
The end goal is to enter your café and get lunch to go.
The main touchpoints: The parking lot, the café, and ordering area.
Armed with this information we can start to build out an assumption of the current state of the journey.
Let’s start with what happens during the time in the parking lot and work our way out to the before and after steps in the journey.
The customer and employee have two very different situations finding parking but the overall experience for both of them is not great.
Lets see what happened before and after all of this took place.
Before arriving at the restaurant the anticipation despite the knowledge of the parking situation was good overall. Even the employee felt prepared. However, the experience in the parking lot continued into the cafe with a rushed customer and employee, and mistakes were made that affected the employee long after the order was completed.
This map provides us with a brief insight to discover insights and needs for both the customer and employee. Seeing how the experience can affect people at the point of interaction can help you avoid this problem in the future.
What are their needs.
Even just based on assumptions we can start to work out the needs of the customer and employee. However, if you get the chance to talk to your customer and employee about parking you will be able to confirm your assumptions and gain even better insights. It’s also a way to explore and discover customer/employee needs that you didn’t see before.
For now, let’s generate some needs and see if they can make for a better experience. Keep in mind these are assumptions-based needs but it gives us a good road map to craft questions around when we talk to our customers and employees.
Customer-Employee needs lead to unique insights
If you compare the needs of the customer with the employee you will be able to draw some interesting insights that you might not have seen if you had only tracked one of the experiences. For example, if you’re telling your customers about alternative parking that’s a quarter-mile away why would they walk that far in the cold if your employees don’t like it. This insight will require a decision jam or two with your team.
Another find would be now you know not to put an arriving employee immediately in a customer interactive role. Without knowing about the employee need you could have made the mistake if you decided to add employees to take early orders from customers in line. This could have led to incorrect orders and the feedback loop of frustrated employees and customers.
Understanding how your customer and employees experience a specific scenario that occurs indirectly to your business such as parking and what its downstream effects are will lead to discoveries that will allow you to improve your services and experiences for both the customer and employee. This will also help you avoid the assumption that the customers’ and employees’ needs don’t affect each other and a solid reminder that the customer experience is tied to the employees’ experience.