The link between employee technology and customer smiles

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Technology plays an important role in a brand’s ability to interact, and close the brand interaction gap. SmileDirectClub is a brand that understands this fundamentally. They are particularly forward thinking in their approach to technology and testing new ways to elevate their customer experience. 

We wanted to learn more about their approach to selecting and implementing tech, so we connected with Nathan Dawson, the Senior Director of IT for Global Customer Care Technologies for SmileDirectClub. He has years of hands-on experience assessing, implementing, and iterating on software projects, and is just the person to talk to about the intersection of tech and CX, and project program management.

Empowering your internal customers

SmileDirectClub is an oral care company that’s also a groundbreaking med-tech platform. This vertical integration puts technology at the center of every customer experience — and every employee experience

When your employees are happy, your customers are happier, too. So it’s just as important to focus on giving your stakeholders, or as Nathan calls them, your “internal customers,” an excellent experience. When it comes to rolling out new tech or even updates, that means making it easy for employees to learn in whatever way works best for them. 

“A big trend we’re starting to see that’s really helped drive adoption is offering more robust self-service options,” Nathan says. While some people learn best with live training, others prefer remote. So, offer both options. SmileDirectClub has also recently implemented a tool that walks team members through tech updates directly within the system, giving them hands-on knowledge and understanding in context. 

When you tailor your approach to change-adoption to what team members actually prefer, you get better results and engagement

Nathan’s other rule of thumb for innovation and change management is “perfect is the enemy of good.” He explains, “We’re big believers in getting something out there, iterating on it, improving it, and getting feedback from people rather than trying to get the product perfect on day one.” This goes for both customer and employee facing experiences. 

Technology should help, not hinder, great CX

In our tech-saturated world, it’s important to keep in mind that not all technology leads to a better experience. Nathan gives the example of self-checkout, which should make life easier for customers but, in fact, often makes it harder. If you’ve ever tried to look up a produce code, weigh your fruit or veggies, and put it in the bag without triggering an intervention from the one checker overseeing eight self-checkout stands, you know what we’re talking about. 

On the other hand, host Perri Chaikof gives an example of technology actually elevating the grocery-shopping CX: ordering online and having someone deliver your groceries into the trunk of your car. The key, according to Nathan, is to prioritize what’s most important for your company, either in terms of CX or EX, and invest there first.

Make it easy for people to do their jobs, create great experiences for your customers. Don't let technology get in the way of great CX

Get the right people on board

Once you’ve decided to invest in a particular software, how do you make sure that implementation is successful? Nathan says the most important thing is to make sure you have all the right people involved from the get go. While this may seem obvious, it’s often overlooked. 

He explains, “When you’re almost at the finish line and you realize you should have talked to, for example, marketing, now all of a sudden it’s going to be another three or four months because you’ve got all these new stakeholders that you have to get feedback from.”

You may not be able to have everyone in the room, but Nathan advises erring on the side of “including more people than you need.” You can always scale back, but backtracking is difficult if you forget someone important. Plus, omitting key stakeholders can break trust within the organization, which not only affects your project but can impact the business as a whole.

I truly view our internal stakeholders as customers. I use those terms interchangeably

Get the full scoop

Check out this week’s episode on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform to hear our whole conversation with Nathan and dig deeper into these key takeaways:

  • How empowering your employees translates into better CX
  • How to ensure technology doesn’t get in the way of a great experience
  • The best way to implement new software and navigate change-management

You can find Nathan on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to sign up for the Brand Interaction Digest for exclusive content from the episode.

Lynn Pine
Lynn Pine

Lynn’s career has spanned across different kinds of content, from copywriting, to journalism, to marketing, and even mystery puzzle games. She brings facets from all these disciplines into her work at Ada. Outside of that, Lynn loves playing games, hiking, and reading about trees.

More info about Lynn Pine: LinkedIn

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