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Companies are investing massively in customer experience in their digital channels. They count and test every click. By contrast, they often neglect their own employees. Their digital experience in internal systems can be frustrating to the point of frustration. But this ultimately affects customers and their willingness to close the deal.

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A common customer journey scenario in e-commerce or online banking tends to be fine-tuned to the last detail. But when a customer arrives at a branch or gets in touch with a call centre, they often have a very different experience. The employee handling their request has to flip between multiple systems, manually enter the same information into multiple forms, search for the right procedure and ask specialized colleagues.  

A frustrated employee is not selling

The customer journeys of many frontline specialists are inefficient, awkward and unpleasant to use. A salesperson, broker, clerk or banker is transcribing data from one system to another, manually verifying and switching between even dozens of applications and communication channels that are not interconnected.  

It is no wonder that in such process chaos, people's productivity declines, as does their satisfaction. They are fed up, they find it hard to concentrate on their work and their frustration is reflected in their relationship with the client. The client can sense very well that he is dealing with a dissatisfied employee. Moreover, his visit takes longer than necessary, he has to wait in longer queues, and this is reflected in his own satisfaction with the company and the product. Users are increasingly looking for impersonal online interaction, but if they do contact an employee in person, they expect effective help.

A total experience

Oldřich Kotas, Innovation Architect at Trask, talks about the increasingly used concept of Total experience in this context: “Clients and employees form an interdependent, multifaceted relationship. Their experience is mutual and interacts significantly. When an employee interacts poorly with their own company's systems, the customer perceives it very clearly, if only subconsciously."  

It doesn't make a significant difference whether the customer interacts with the employee face-to-face, on the phone, or even on chat. Online frustration has no social brakes and makes the decision to end communication with a company quicker and more impulsive.  

The user experience of the customer and employee is indirectly but clearly imprinted on the other. The state and coherence of internal systems or the order between them says a lot about the overall environment in a company and its processes. If an employee has to deal with chaos in his applications, the customer perceives this as a message about the state of the company.  


What is the solution in this situation? "Ideally, as an employee, I should be able to complete the same experience across all channels as the customer," says Oldrich Kotas. "As a client, I want an analogous customer journey on mobile, on PC, and also maybe on WhatsApp or in the branch. As an employee, I should have the same option. What we now call EX - Employee experience, should be very close to Customer experience."

If I want to have happy clients, I need to have happy employees, whether in the front office or back office. The same recommendations and rules apply to them as to clients. The problem is that most companies don't yet realize this simple truth and invest little or nothing in the digital wellbeing of their employees.

A pebble triggers an avalanche

When a company starts thinking about the employee digital experience, it usually results in a number of positive changes. According to Oldrich Kotas, experience from projects implemented by Trask shows that it only takes one effective digital channel to set off a chain of changes in existing processes and channels. "Employees suddenly don't have to do some manual activities," explains Kotas, "in practice, for example, the back office no longer has to copy nationalities from the scan of an ID card because the system can extract the photos automatically and pre-populate the data for it. The workload and the volume of work has changed and the process has also become faster for the customer. The whole process has been digitised further over time because it has proved how convenient it is," he adds. And ultimately the client will feel this as a positive change.

Why are we lagging in employee experience?

There are primarily two reasons why Czech companies have neglected employee UX.  

The first one is that every redesign costs money - and factoring employee effectiveness into the business case is not the norm. Companies don't have a strategy realistically based on happy employees and often not even clients. They talk about them in a lot of nice sentences in company strategies, but don't actually do much for them. It's only when employees start to turnover at a higher rate that they start looking for a quick solution.

The second reason for the slow progress in the field is the natural resistance of both companies and the employees within them. A common, albeit somewhat proxy, argument for refusing to innovate is that the back office worker has been doing it their way forever and doesn't want to change. The fear of not being able to handle a new system is natural in humans, and any change raises fears. Not infrequently, it is more likely to be a reluctance to change the established rules with management, and the employees themselves welcome the greater comfort.

"We meet two types of managers," says Oldrich Kotas, "the first are progressive and are happy that changes will increase efficiency. They are looking forward to not having to send everything by post or press CTRL-C and CTRL-V thousands of times. But sometimes they don't have the mandate to push something major through. The latter are in tow of the set rules and don't want to undergo the inconvenience of change. Fortunately, there are fewer and fewer of them."

The important thing is to start

That said, the first real results of such thinking in a company often start a chain process. Many companies are self-centered and don't approach things with people in mind. Most processes are separate and unconnected. However, the first change in the employee experience often becomes a foundational piece of the puzzle, with pieces that had nowhere to be grabbed before gradually being added to the protruding and gnawed out pieces. Trask has plenty of experience with this with its corporate clients. The company's overall digitalisation rate then gradually increases and the more pieces are added, the more efficient the whole becomes. Ultimately, companies that have started to think about the employee experience in a new way are more successful than their competit

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