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What CX and EX can learn from each other

Lynn Pine
Lead Content Producer

Customer experience and employee experience share the same purpose — to help someone get something done. The similarities don’t end there. In fact, there’s a lot that the two can learn from each other.

In this episode, we’re talking to Zach Dunn , VP Customer Experience & Co-Founder at Robin , about the twin worlds of CX and EX. Join us as we discuss the paradigm shift in CX and EX, leveling up EX in a digital world, and why delight is overrated.

Listen to the interview with Zach Dunn

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The paradigm shift in CX and EX

Zach leads the strategy for a CX team at a company that offers a platform for EX. He’s ideally positioned to share insights on the parallels between customer experience and employee experience and what these functions can learn from each other. 

His company, Robin, helps workplaces adopt flexible, hybrid work environments . We’re all abundantly aware that the workplace has changed, so Robin helps make sure it's changing in the right ways.

"Customer experience and employee experience both have the same job to do — you're helping somebody get something done."

Zach Dunn
Co-Founder and VP of Customer Experience

What employees need from employers to be successful remotely

  • A recognition that the office and the workplace are two different things
  • Employer commitment to great workplaces as well as great offices
  • A quickness in learning and teaching about successful hybrid work
  • An open feedback loop

Three years ago, it wouldn’t have been so common to have a work call with someone in different locations or time zones.

“This is a very fast change,” Zach pointed out. “Businesses need to be able to adapt and make the best decisions they could with the data.” Neither companies nor employees had much choice that change was happening, and they had to figure it out with what data they had.

In business-school lingo, hybrid/remote work is a permanent paradigm shift in the workplace.

Leveling up EX in a digital world

To retain a competitive edge, brands need to level up their employee experience in this increasingly digital world. Zach’s CX team is made up of three branches: sales engineers, customer success, and technical support.

Not only do those groups each talk with employers, but they also talk to employees. “Sometimes we have to broker that relationship because we hear feedback from the employees trying to use the application,” Zach said.

Understanding feedback

Zach’s team is skilled at parsing feedback quickly — and this is a necessary skill for employers to develop, too.

In terms of customer support, Zach pushes his team to think outside of the ticket. (In fact, one of Zach’s best experiences with a brand was when support noticed him thinking aloud on Twitter and proactively reached out to address his confusion.)

“Treat confusion from users as a bug for the design team, and you'll actually end up making a far more interesting and better product,” Zach explained.

This methodology serves users well and puts the CS team in their rightful sphere as the heroes of the situation.

"Treat confusion from users as a bug for the design team."

Zach Dunn
Co-Founder and VP of Customer Experience

The importance of feedback loops

Anyone in EX can attest that the one person with a problem represents many more people who didn’t voice their questions. Zach reframes the very existence of tickets into something positive with this question:

"How can we take advantage of this opportunity that someone took time out of their day to send us a ticket, and then do something bigger or better than just solve the immediate problem for this one person?"

That feedback loop is vital… both hearing from the employee and acting as a conduit or guide to answer the expressed (and unexpressed) need. Zach suggests taking a proactive approach. “The next problem they bring to you, they give you the opportunity to participate in that, too. That's where a lot of innovation happens.”

Organizationally, viewing confusion from even one person as a design flaw is a next-level way to support employees.

"Proactively thinking about how the product of the team that you're supporting might break is a really great skill."

Zach Dunn
Co-Founder and VP of Customer Experience

Why delight is overrated

What can EX and CX learn from each other as functions? Plenty.

“We see the workplace as a way to reach and influence employee experience,” Zach said.

  • Shared goals. EX and CX have the same job, to help someone get something done.
  • Milestones. It’s important for EX and CX to leave the other person with a sense of optimism about their progress toward their goals.
  • Pragmatism. Far from the fuzzies that the word “experience” raises, EX and CX must prioritize delivering value to those who need it most.
  • Problem solving. EX and CX as functions must accept that they are guides through the messy, uncomfortable problems that face a business.
  • Delight. Delivering a feel-good mentality all the time at the exclusion of all else is not realistic for EX and CX, but delivering confident and optimistic expertise is.

Both employees and customers appreciate proactive, authentic touchpoints from their employers and businesses.

Finally, regarding delight and why it’s overrated. Experience, whether EX or CX, is about helping people get a job done when they reach out to you — or, even better, proactively reaching out to them to help.

Interviews with customer service leaders

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