How Employee Experience Shapes Brand Perception

How Employee Experience Shapes Brand Perception written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Tiffani Bova

Tiffani Bova, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Tiffani Bova. She is the global customer growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce and the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Growth IQ. Over the past two decades, she has led large revenue-producing divisions at businesses ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 500. Tiffani is also the host of the podcast What’s Next! with Tiffani Bova.  

Her new book The Experience Mindset: Changing the Way You Think About Growth, explores the relationship between employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) in businesses and how companies should adopt a mindset that strengthens both EX and CX simultaneously. Tiffani emphasizes the need for a balanced approach to company strategy that involves all stakeholders, including IT, Marketing, Sales, Operations, and HR.

Key Takeaway:

Prioritizing the employee experience alongside customer experience drives business success. Successful companies understand the correlation between happy employees and happy customers and prioritize both aspects. Effective leadership, a positive culture, and aligning the goals of the organization with the needs of employees are crucial for creating a balanced EX and CX. Companies should adopt an experience mindset that incorporates employee feedback and mirrors customer experience practices for employees to gain insights and make informed decisions that improve both experiences.

Questions I ask Tiffani Bova:

  • [02:12] How do you feel that emphasis on the customer is taking away from the employee experience?
  • [06:25] In most companies, the customer interacts with their employees. So it seems pretty logical that happy employees make happy customers, but not that many people invest in something that seems logical. What do you think?
  • [10:07] How much would you say is just leadership or is it maybe just culture?
  • [11:38] There’s a lot of research on the most important attributes for employees in their jobs. After their salary is having the necessary tools to do their job, right?
  • [15:11] Where does employer branding fit into the conversation of employee experience?
  • [17:18] What has remote work from home done to the concept of employee and changed the experience the employee has in a company? How has this become a challenge?
  • [20:29] How do you bring the employee experience meaningfully without it just being considered an overreaction?

More About Tiffani Bova:

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(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Tiffani Bova. She is a global customer growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce and the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Growth IQ. Over the past two decades, she has led large revenue producing divisions at businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 500. She’s also hosts the podcast called What’s Next! with Tiffani Bova. But today we’re gonna talk primarily about her latest book, The Experience Mindset: Changing the Way You Think About Growth. So welcome to the show Tiffani.

Tiffani Bova (01:41): Thank you for having me, John. I’m thrilled to be here.

John Jantsch (01:44): So when people talk about experience and growth, I think today they quite naturally think about customer experience because marketers are very, very attuned to that idea. But you actually take the emphasis on customer experience to task a little bit and kind of say that focus is actually contributing to what we’ve talked about lately, the great resignation, quite quitting and all those other things. So tell me, uh, let’s hear your thoughts on how you feel that emphasis on customer is taking away from the employee experience.

Tiffani Bova (02:17): Well, let me answer that with a little bit of history because I think especially with an audience that our marketers right, have been doing this for a long time. I need to set a little bit of context. So as was mentioned, John, I’ve been at Salesforce a little more than seven years, but prior to joining Salesforce, I was a research fellow at Gartner for a decade covering sales transformation, the impact of digital to the way brands market and engage with customers and really looking forward around the role of, if you will, experience in the way brands compete. So I was part of the team that made the prediction that the Chief Marketing Officer would spend more on technology than the chief information officer. And we did that all the way back in 2008 and we said it, everyone went, you know, absolutely no way not gonna happen.

(03:03): But you know, sap, Oracle, Microsoft and Salesforce all went out and bought marketing technology companies, right? The stack to get access to that budget. But we didn’t say that because of the fact we thought marketers needed to be spending money on technology. And by the way, this wasn’t about like online marketing, right? Or SEO optimization. This really was buying the stack. They were having their own UI designers, developers, they were getting their own infrastructure. I mean, it was a big investment. We really believed that customer experience was gonna be the next battleground. Now, you know, in 2023, people are going, well, you know, that’s nothing new like Tiffani, like we’ve been doing this a while, but remember this was 2008. Yep. And it was, you know, we actually then advocated for the Chief Marketing Officer to get a seat at the executive table really around this experience.

(03:51): Do we create a new role? The chief customer officer, the chief customer experience officer, whatever you wanna call it, we were kind of in the thick of it trying to figure out how and where does this play? And it was kind of this, right? Your customers, your true north, you know, live and die on the hill of your customer. It’s, we’re customer centric. We’re the most customer obsessed company on the planet. Mm-hmm. , however you wanna say it. But along the way, what we did was we spent billions of dollars reducing the effort of the customer in to do business with us in order to increase their experience they had with us. Right? From, you know, when I first stood up, my very first e-commerce site literally was in 2001 , I was Eloqua or Eloqua’s beta client and constant contacts beta client. So I’ve been kind of on this journey for a minute and I will tell you that it was 10 clicks to buy something. Now it’s one click or one voice. We’ve made it really easy. But the intended or unintended consequence of all that investment in customer is we’ve left the employee behind.

John Jantsch (04:56): Yeah. You could maybe even say that. Making it easier for the customer came at the expense of making it harder for the employee to serve the customer in some cases .

Tiffani Bova (05:06): Well, yeah. So, you know, let’s just take, let’s just take customer as an example, right? We’ve moved from trying to make call centers a cost center to make it more of a revenue generation engine, right? So we have sales ops, we have, you know, marketing collaboration with sales, we have sales qualified leads. But does marketing enablement sales enablement also get leveraged in the call center? Or does the marketing team really focus on the connection with the sales team and don’t do the same level of enablement? Sure. Into the call center organization as an example, right, right, right. So now a customer calls in and I have a question and the call center agent is like working through the script. They don’t know about a promo that marketing has just done online. You know, they don’t know which products to upsell and cross-sell or what’s the best for customer. They’re not able to have access into the data of what the customer actually bought from us, you know, or bought from them. Like, you know, whatever the case might be. So then the call center agent is completely ill-equipped and what’s the result of that? A bad customer experience. And most marketers are responsible for net promoter score and customer satisfaction in many ways. So if your frontline team doesn’t have what they need, it shows itself in those experience metrics on the customer side.

John Jantsch (06:25): So it would seem pretty logical. I mean if you think about it, I mean most companies, the customer interaction is with their employees with frontline employees in many cases. So it seemed pretty logical. Happy employees make happy customers, but not that many people invest in something that seems awfully logical. Although I will say there are companies that are really good at it.

Tiffani Bova (06:47): Yeah, and I would totally agree with you. Look, I’m not the first to come up with this concept by any stretch. Herb Kelleher did it. Richard Branson has done it. I mean, there’s a lot of people that understood, but when you hold up best in class customer experience companies, isn’t it interesting that it tends to be those that are also really good on an employee? Yeah, they could. That you could argue, just because you’re really good on customer doesn’t mean you’re great on employee. Who is the most customer obsessed brand according to their mission statement on the planet. John, who is that?

John Jantsch (07:18): I, customer obsessed brand? I don’t know, apple

Tiffani Bova (07:22): . So starts with an A, the other one starts with an A. So that was the mantra. That was sort of what Bezos said, right? He was like, we are going to be the most customer obsessed company on the planet. You could argue that are their employees as happy as us as customers? Yeah. Well you could argue, maybe that’s not the case, right? Or you could say Starbucks really happy customers, less happy customers back to happy customers, but now not so happy employees. So just because you’re hitting on one cylinder doesn’t mean you’re hitting on both. So I was standing on stage and I made, I made this comment, I didn’t think it was a coincidence that Salesforce was a great place to work, you know, pretty much globally, one of the most innovative companies in the world, in the fastest growing enterprise software company.

(08:02): So I went to our C M O at the time and I said, I’d like to prove that out. So we did a study with Forbes Insight and we went to publicly traded companies in the US and we mapped it out. We looked at net promoter scores, CSAT scores, attrition rates, right? Best places to work, you know, Glassdoor ratings, great place to work ratings, like whatever it was, right? Everything we could get our hands on. Growth rates, churn rates. So all publicly a avail publicly traded for this obvious reason, cuz it was publicly available information. Lo and behold, what we found when we mapped it out on a two by two was those brands that were really good on both accesses customer and employee, had a 1.8 times faster growth rate than those that did not. So for a billion dollar brand, it was a 40 million impact.

(08:42): If you’re $5 million brand or a $1 million brand, you could do the math. So it was interesting, but what we didn’t then know was what are the attributes, right? Of the employee experience that have the greatest impact on customer? And in just full transparency, a little caveat here, a little asterisk, I am not an HR expert, I’m not a people or talent expert. This book, the experience mindset is about the intersection of those moments that matter when an employee touches a customer. So that’s what I’m talking about, right? Then what were those aspects of the employee day-to-day that had the greatest impact on improving cx? And that’s what we honed in on the second study, which was a global study across almost a year’s worth of time. And then, and through that we were able to find sort of the key areas needed for improvement. And then we did a third one in retail, specifically a that a brand that has a thousand outlets, retail storefronts in the us. I don’t know who it is. So I couldn’t tell you even if I had that information, is that those company that, that those storefronts that did really well on the employee side saw a 55 0% increase in revenue per hour per head for store employee five zero. So, you know, they used to generate $42 an hour, you know, and now they’re gen generating 85, 86, 80 $7 an hour. So significant

John Jantsch (10:06): H how much of that, what we’re talking about today, would you say is just leadership or is maybe just culture?

Tiffani Bova (10:13): So I, I’d say this, what we did was we asked the C-suite and we asked employees obviously a series of questions, but then we outlined sort of the top seven or eight areas that were the greatest challenges to growth on the employee side. Tied for number one was team members were leaving too often. So it’s disruptive to sure, resiliency, flow, collaboration, right? The other tied for number one was outdated technology. On the C-suite side, it was number six. So that was the largest disconnection between what the C-suite thought and what the employees thought was outdated tech. So then we said, well, hold on a second, let’s like, right, let’s double click, what does that mean? So 54% of the C-suite, once again globally, and it varied by region, felt that the technology they were providing was effective for them to do their job. Only 32% of employees agreed, like all up employees, only 23% of customer facing employees agreed that they had the right tech to collaborate effectively, do their job efficiently, you know, be very productive and achieve the goals of the organization. So we are greatly failing , our customer facing employees to the tune of, you know, 77, 70 8% of ’em aren’t happy with the technology they’re using to do their

John Jantsch (11:37): Jobs. Well, I’ve actually seen a lot of research on employees ranking, like what’s the most important attributes of their job? And like salary is below what you just mentioned. Do I have the tools to do my job? , you know, shows up higher than like, am I well paid?

Tiffani Bova (11:50): Well, yeah. So let’s just take it from a marketing perspective, right? A marketer sends a sales qualified lead over to the sales team. Okay, well first and foremost, do they even agree on what a defined qualified lead is? Sure. Right.

John Jantsch (12:03): Start there. Now I can say no

Tiffani Bova (12:05): . Yes. Pretty emphatic. No. Right? Sellers are like, it’s ready to close , right? Marketers are, it’s warm. And I’ve run both sales and marketing and I’ve argued with myself about this. So, you know, it’s a, the struggle is real. Next marketing is using one technology system, sales is using something else. So they might give it to ’em in something that then the salesperson has to enter that information into the CRM system, then they’re working that lead, right? And then they need to go and now they’re gonna send a white paper or they’re gonna send a video link, but they have to go to another system in order to grab that content, right? To draft that communication and send it out. And then what tracks the click through rates and download rates is another application. And then marketing goes back and has this, you know, feedback loop, which is not automated and then has to go as sales.

(12:52): And we could go on and on. Only 28% of a salesperson’s time is spent selling and half of them will misquote. So if we’re not giving ’em enough time to sell, it’s in the systems and processes, not necessarily the tech. I mean, I’m not saying technology doesn’t have room for improvement. Obviously I work at Salesforce, it’s not lost on me, but technologically we just don’t have a problem. Technology can do pretty much anything we’d like it to do. On the marketing and sales side, it’s the people and process side. Going back to your comment a few minutes ago, people culture, like are you willing to do the work that you need to, if you’ve journey mapped the customer, which you would do in marketing? Have you journey mapped what the employee has to do for the customer, what they want you to do, right? And these are the kinds of things that are very mindset focused, right? Where if you’re gonna do something for the customer, what is the intended or unintended consequence for your employees?

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(15:10): Where does employer branding fit into this equation for you? You know, as a marketer, primarily I have seen companies that have great employee experiences. It’s a great place to work, have kind of pivoted to the fact that let’s tell the market what a great place this is to work. Because frankly, that’s a good marketing message as well. So how does that fit into the conversation of employee experience?

Tiffani Bova (15:34): Yeah. On another study, not as part of this research that I did, we had one again from Salesforce called the Connected Customer. And it actually asked customers when deciding on a brand what’s important to the customer. And it wasn’t just like, you know, was the product or service, great. 88% of ’em said the experience they provide is as important as the products and services they sell. So experience matters, which to anybody listening to this particular podcast, you’re gonna go, yeah, tell me something I don’t know. Right? That’s, we know that, right? But what else also it said was how do you treat your employees? How do you treat the planet? Yeah. Like what’s your stance on things? You know, it is now broader sort of the role of brand in decision making. Especially when you’re not talking about a high dollar value item, not a transactional, like, you know, I’m buying toilet paper.

(16:25): You know, you may actually say, hold on a second. Like is it recyclable? You know, the inside, right? Is the paper bamboo? Is it, what are we cutting down 10 million trees? You know, you may care about that and then you may choose to use a different brand. So consumers are, and B2B and B2C are starting to make decisions beyond the normal brand. Is the product and service good? Is the price fair? Right? It’s now these other things. So I would say to you how companies treat their employees. So what we saw over Covid, right? Getting fired over Zoom or you know, we’ve seen all the videos, right? We’re make big faux PAs, then you’ve got a pipeline of open roles. Does someone wanna go work for a leader like that? , right? You’ve just totally hurt your ability to retain and attract talent. Yeah. Or people going, I’m gonna leave, like I don’t wanna work here. Right? And then that gets disruptive to what we were just talking a few minutes ago.

John Jantsch (17:17): So let’s throw another wrench in there. I mean, what is all the remote work from home, you know, done to even, you know, this concept of employee, I mean, it’s really changed what the experience the employee has dramatically in a company and certainly changed the way in which communication happens and leadership happens and the way you even interact with employees. So how has that made an a greater challenge?

Tiffani Bova (17:43): Yeah, and it’s a great question because I think what we’ve definitely learned over the last two and a half years is it’s, oh, everything is gonna go remote. Everyone is gonna work remote, right? Like, we’re never gonna go back to the office and we’ve seen, right? That isn’t necessarily good either, right? Mm-hmm , you lose the collaboration, you lose teaming, right? You lose that happenstance conversation. All the things we know, right? Yeah. And also just mental health and wellbeing and all those things. It’s a complex question. I don’t like the top down time to come back to the office. I don’t like the top down time to stay home. , I like the, hold on a second. Like by team, by group, you may have, listen, there are lots of people in the corporate world who never worked from home during all this because they had to be in the office because it was mission critical to, you know, keeping the systems up and running or whatever it might be.

(18:32): Yeah. So, you know, and or you had salespeople who were always in the field and not in the office, right? So like, I haven’t worked from an office in 17 years, like long before pandemic, right? Right. And so, but I think that there is value in saying for our particular team, you know, one week a month we’re all coming in, that’s when we’re gonna do our this and that, and then let people go and do their work if they wanna come in and schedule it. But during this time, we are all going to be in the office. And that makes sense to someone to go, okay, I get it. I know why it’s not a blanket mandate and it keeps me connected, especially for the generation that has never worked in an office, never had the opportunity to create these relationships. Getting that FaceTime is critical to the long-term understanding of what it means to be a leader, be part of a team, you know, launch a product and execute on that. Those things are the subtleties that we’ve all had at our fingertips by working in an office for so long.

John Jantsch (19:29): . Yeah. The blanket bandaid unfortunately just says we don’t trust you.

Tiffani Bova (19:33): . Oh, well that’s, I listened. You know, so I actually say it in the book, it’s like what we were just talking about, the investments we made technically in customer experience versus the investments we made in employee experience, right? Pandemic hits. Yeah. People, many are forced to go and work from home. And one of the very first things many organizations did was they went out and purchased employee tracking software, right? , it was like a 4000% increase in sales, right? And some call center agents were having to leave their cameras on all the time. And not everybody has the luxury of having a private room by which they can work from and do video from. It might be their bedroom, it might be their kitchen, it might be their kids’ room. I mean, you know, we don’t all have the luxury of having a, you know, carved out space where we can work. So that just said, I trusted you last week, , I don’t trust you anymore. Right? Yeah.

John Jantsch (20:28): All right. So if I’m listening to this and I’m a company that thinks, oh gosh, yeah, we really have gone too all in customer service. We need to turn this around like words. What’s the first act? Where’s the first place to look? Uh, again, so many employee initiatives come off as like, oh, I just read this new book and here’s the new way. You know, how, how do you actually bring this to light in a meaningful way without it just being an overreaction?

Tiffani Bova (20:53): Yeah. So you know, as I started this conversation out, giving a little context of, you know, really advocating for their, becoming a role for a customer, you know, in the C M O. Yeah. To have this conversation around experience. In this particular case, I am not advocating for a new C-suite role. Chief Employee Experience officer. Yeah. That’s why I called it mindset. That’s why I called it experience mindset. My ask would be the next time you do or say something on behalf of the customer, like I’ve got a customer advisory board. Great. Do you have an employee advisory board? And I don’t mean an E R G, I mean an employee advisory board that might talk about some of the things we’ve talked about. What are the systems and processes and integration and collaboration tools they’re using to do their job? Are they working right?

(21:36): Like if you’re doing nps, are you doing E NPSs? If you’re doing customer sat, are you doing employee sat? If you’re doing customer effort scores, are you doing employee effort scores? Have you journey mapped the customer buyer journey? Okay, we’ll have you journey mapped the employee’s role in making that buyer journey seamless and frictionless in all the words we buzz around on. So I’d say to you that this is not, this is an aircraft carrier subject, but right now it’s kind of a speed bone of activities, right? It is a manner by which you can say, what are the things that we are tracking in CX and do we have a correlating ex?

John Jantsch (22:16): Yeah. That when that actually should be easy, right? Because you’ve already got supposedly a roadmap. Yeah.

Tiffani Bova (22:21): Right? And that’s where it can start with just mirroring what you have for customer, for employee. That is going to tell you a whole lot of things you don’t know.

John Jantsch (22:31): Yeah. Well, Tiffani, I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. You want to, where would you like to invite people to connect with you and obviously pick up a copy of the Experience Mindset?

Tiffani Bova (22:42): Well, you can get The Experience Mindset wherever you buy books. It’s in Audible and ebook, so whichever format you would like. And you can follow me on social media. I’m very active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and less so on Facebook. But I am there. But you know, I’m always looking for feedback. If you work for a company that’s gotten this right or things you’ve learned along the way, those are those amazing nuggets that I love to hear. So please share them with me. But thank you, John, for having me.

John Jantsch (23:07): Awesome. Well, again, thank you for taking time out of your day and hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

(23:12): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @marketingassessment.co, not.com. Co check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just marketing assessment.co. I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

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