Imagine attempting to manually assemble a vehicle with a bunch of screwdrivers. As your patience runs out, you quickly realize that more appropriate tools would get the job done better, faster and safer.

Isn’t it odd that we organize our personal lives better with free tools than our business lives with costly “equivalents”? For instance, organizing an event, inviting folks to attend and keeping track of their interests can managed easily and free of charge on Facebook without any training. Finding a tool with similar properties for a business setting is a real mission. The point I’m indirectly getting at here is employee experience (EX).

In recent years, customer experience (CX) has dominated the discussion around achieving success in business. In contrast, EX, has hardly received any attention, yet employees are largely responsible for the provision of a differentiated CX. In particular marketeers who design the digital touch points that move customers closer to a purchase have seen budgets for tools shift from IT to marketing. This means technology has an unprecedented opportunity to improve EX for marketeers - a gateway to getting CX right as well.

You don’t need extensive research reports to observe that marketing staff spend years in training only to end up performing routine tasks that can be automated. I will however refer to a survey conducted by Sam Balter at Hubspot where he investigated how much time marketeers spend on routine tasks – an astounding 35%. So roughly a third of marketing’s focus is squandered on routine tasks, and we can imagine how seriously this affects productivity, morale and the whole EX generally.

“How do I make marketing stuff easier and simpler to find for my team?” A question I’m frequently asked by marketing directors. By “stuff” they mean all the collateral (images, videos, audio files, brochures, documents, lists etc) needed by marketeers to perform their jobs. Generally, such collateral can be found in thousands of places – I’m talking internal servers, shared drives, Dropbox, the list goes on, meaning staff need to know exactly where to dig to find these files. When marketeers spend time crawling through multiple folders to find the stuff they need, a number of costly outcomes ensue:

  1. Files are not easy to find so low-quality, or worse, out-dated versions are used, reducing the quality and consistency marketing communications.

  2. Files that already exist are re-created at a cost simply because they can’t be found.

  3. Poor visibility across folders means existing files are not re-purposed to save costs.

  4. Routine functions such as file conversions that can be automated are performed manually.

Marketeers being expected to deliver world class experiences to customers with sub-optimal tools is the “mechanic with a bunch of screw-drivers” scenario. We can similarly conclude that more appropriate tools would get the job done better, faster, cheaper etc.

A fundamental enabler of the CX value proposition is visibility over all customer interactions. So the more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them. Visibility is achieved by centralizing all customer information in a CRM system like Salesforce. Centralization then allows staff to access historical data and other key information to gain a complete picture of the customer without jumping in 4 or 5 different places with conflicting information. If you ring customer service about your late order and the agent seems lost, chances are all the relevant information is not in one place, therefore diminishing your experience.

EX, in this particular context, is the cumulative impact on a marketeer of the processes and technologies involved in the marketing lifecycle to deliver CX. In other words, EX is the mirror image of CX.

One way to solve the EX problem for marketeers is standardizing all marketing collateral, or digital assets onto a single platform with a metadata structure and controlled self-service access for users. The metadata approach enforces that all marketing content follows the same classification standard, and makes stuff much easier to find in one single place, reducing search time from hours to seconds. Controlled access means staff see only the stuff that is relevant to them because if I were shopping for shoes on Amazon but search results included shirts, it would make no sense.

Self-service removes the need for anyone to fire off an email to a marketeer requesting particular content as such requests distract the marketeer from higher value tasks to lower-value routine ones. Self-service also means zero lead time as a system, not a person, processes requests. In addition, the platform needs to rival Facebook in terms of usability to ensure universal adoption with no training. Such a platform should also elevate productivity by automating routine tasks - a key justification for investing in such a system.

Standardizing content on a single self-service platform with controlled access is only the first of many steps in improving the EX of marketeers. CX practitioners tend to investigate all the possible customer touch points and design an experience that drives value for the customer at each point. The intended result is a differentiated CX and loyal customers. Similarly, one has to examine the full end-to-end process of the marketing lifecycle to identify “touch points” or functions where the EX breaks down. A well designed EX similarly results in an engaging work culture and loyal employees.

Just like a customer might enjoy the purchase but dread calling customer service, the marketing team may love the lead management tool but hate the digital asset management piece because of a disjointed experience or a poor EX. Just as we would provide that mechanic with a proper set of tools or a world class assembly line to build that vehicle, organizations should be investing in EX to directly improve CX. In other words, EX should be a key pillar of any business that believes in CX. Nearly every company says people are its best assets and I say time to put the money where the mouth is!

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