Companies spend a lot of time thinking about their customers’ digital experience. A good one can keep customers coming back, prompt them to buy more each time they visit, and turn them into raving fans (those who share their positive experiences with others). A bad digital experience can have the opposite effect, frustrating customers so much that they seek other providers and often never return.
But customers aren’t the only people evaluating the digital experience they have with your company. Employees are too. The impact of a poor digital employee experience (DEX) may at first seem like a minor issue. But consider that workers who experience a negative DEX are likely to be less productive, less helpful to customers, and less satisfied with their jobs overall.
These impacts can lead to a diminished company reputation, higher attrition rates, and loss of sales and revenue. In the following sections, we take a closer look at this issue, including potential company problems resulting from negative DEX, how hybrid work can make the problem worse, what employees are looking for in their DEX, and steps for improvement.
Why You Need to Address DEX
Negative DEX is about more than employees’ personal feelings. Their frustration can lead to many negative consequences, including sharing unflattering information about your company on websites like Glassdoor, making it more difficult for you to find qualified employees. On top of that, these team members may choose to leave, forcing you to spend additional resources and money as you seek to replace them. Difficulty finding workers plus more workers leaving equals fewer people to perform critical work.
Customers can be impacted in other ways as well. For example, the faulty or out-of-date technology that leads to negative DEX may be just as frustrating for care center callers who end up waiting for slow systems to return information or finding that their needs cannot be met. But these situations are just as challenging for employees as they are for customers, especially in industries like healthcare in which a helpful response is critical.
When customers start to be impacted, your business suffers. You may lose sales and revenue, leading to a downward spiral. Without the funds needed to upgrade your equipment and processes, it’s difficult to elevate DEX and, therefore, your level of customer service. As those factors continue to decline, sales fall even more, and so on.
The Impact of Hybrid Work
On top of all the pre-pandemic challenges that keep companies from offering a positive DEX, the recent spike in hybrid work has brought additional concerns, due largely to the lack of control IT teams have on remote work environments. The problem becomes amplified even more when remote workers travel, frequently switching between locations, such as airports, hotels, and coffee shops.
In these situations, employees may not have direct access to IT teams or even coworkers and may try to troubleshoot issues themselves. While they mean well, they may actually be making technical problems worse for themselves and for the company.
What Employees Want
What employees want in their digital experience isn’t hard to identify. They want the technologies they interact with at work to be as seamless as those they use in their personal lives. For example, requesting new office supplies should be as easy as ordering dinner using a food delivery app. Customer care programs should be as intuitive as a social media platform. The company intranet and knowledge base should be as simple to navigate as a well-designed shopping site.
Workers also want to know that, when they have a problem, someone will be there to help them solve it, and that someone at their company is responsible for creating a positive DEX. That’s why it’s important for organizations to assign that role to someone within the IT team and make it known to employees who that person is and how they can help.
Steps for Improving DEX
While not all DEX problems are technology-related, technology can provide a lot of support. The following suggestions can steer your company’s DEX in the right direction.
- Gain an employee perspective. To improve DEX, company leaders must understand what employees are experiencing. Take the time to conduct a survey, interviews, or both, to ascertain the biggest frustrations and impediments to productivity.
- Provide self-help options. Create an intranet section that team members can use as an initial resource to resolve their own issues.
- Provide 24/7 access to IT support. Employees who need more assistance should be able to reach an IT team member at any time. With hybrid working, you may have employees anywhere in the world, meaning support must be 24/7 to account for all time zones.
- Stop problems before they start. IT must take a proactive approach to troubleshoot employee technical issues. For example, team members can use IT management platforms to identify known software issues or even known employee behaviors that can lead to problems and send alerts to prevent them before they start.
- Assign responsibility to one person. As mentioned above, a big part of positive DEX is knowing employers are invested in making employees’ experience a good one. To help with this process, assign DEX responsibility to one person and task them with improving DEX company-wide and communicating initiatives to employees.
Watch for the Benefits
For companies that invest in DEX, many positive outcomes will eventually emerge. First, employees will be more satisfied with their jobs overall, and more productive, sometimes getting back hours per week to help your organization achieve its mission. As a result, retention will increase, reducing the burden and cost of hiring.
Customers will receive benefits as well, with faster and more efficient service, leading to more sales and higher revenue. Finally, some of the troubleshooting aspects get shifted away from IT, giving these teams time to create even better efficiencies, leading to greater success.