Customer and Employee Experience – two sides of the same coin

How many businesses have a Customer Experience focus? How many have an Employee Experience focus? How many have both?

I don’t have any statistical answers, but what I have noticed is that most businesses that do look at experience focus on one area or the other. And those that do focus on both tend to have them under totally separate business departments, with the two never interacting.

Firstly, lets understand what we mean by Customer and Employee Experience, as I am aware they sound a tad ‘fluffy’ to some people. Unfortunately, though, these terms are often misunderstood or not understood at all:

Customer Experience: Is the sum of all perceptions a customer has about the interactions they have had with your company.

Customer Experience is NOT the ‘new’ name for Customer Service. Nor is it the sole responsibility of the Customer Service team!

Similarly, Employee Experience is the sum of all perceptions an employee has about the interactions with the organisation he or she works. It is about the journey of an employee through an organisation, from recruitment to exit. (Source: PWC)

Also, Employee Experience is NOT the sole responsibility of HR, rather it’s a collective team effort. It’s everyone’s responsibility.

The Service-Profit Chain

So how are Customer and Employee Experiences linked, and why does it matter for your business that you have a grasp of both?

This is where I’ll bring in my favourite model, the Service-Profit Chain (Source: HBR) (FIG.1).

The Service-Profit Chain shows the relationships between business profitability, customer loyalty, and employee satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity.

Service-Profit-Chain Diagramme

Starting to the right of the chart, the links in the chain are as follows:

  • Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. (Loyalty in this instance means repeat business, retention, and recommendations).
  • Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction (keeping promises, being consistent, building trust).
  • Satisfaction is largely influenced by the perceived value of services provided to customers.
  • Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees.
  • Employee satisfaction comes from making improvements to various factors that impact a person’s overall well-being, engagement, and motivation. 
  • Internal services quality is measured by the feelings that employees have toward their jobs, colleagues, and company.

Internal Services Quality 

A number of areas are covered by the umbrella of Internal Services Quality, which is an early stage of the Service-Profit Chain. These areas underpin how people really feel about their work and any issues here will have a knock-on impact on the whole chain, ultimately affecting profitability and growth. It’s important to ask the right questions and analyse the answers in order to make improvements. 

Workplace Design/Environment

  • What does it feel like to work here
  • Is the environment I work in psychologically safe
  • Do my leaders inspire and motivate me?
  • Does my office space motivate/inspire me
  • Am I in a place where I never see daylight?
  • Is my work area to quiet/loud/hot/cold
  • Is my workwear warm/safe/dry/ good quality etc
  • Is my vehicle a decent spec to spend all day driving in?

Job Design

  • Do we have the right people on the right seats?
  • Are we utilising people’s capabilities, strengths and skills in roles that suit them?
  • Are we building teams that are diverse?
  • Do we encourage creativity and innovation?

Employee Selection and Development

  • Are we attracting and bringing in the right people into our teams from outside (for the culture we want to develop)?
  • Are we developing the right people with the right capability?
  • Is this a fair and consistent process?
  • Can people see a clear career path for their skills?

Reward and Recognition

  • Are we recognising and rewarding people enough?
  • Do people feel valued by the company?
  • Do they receive regular, timely recognition for a job well done?
  • Are pay and benefits fair and consistent?
  • Do we have relevant and appropriate benefits?

Correct tools and resources for doing your role to the best of your ability

  • Does my laptop work quickly?
  • Have I got the correct programmes/software?
  • Does my vehicle break-down / suffer issues?
  • Do I have to ‘fix’ a machine at the start of every shift to make it work?
  • Are the tools I need always close to my workstation?


By only focusing on Customer Experience, you are missing a huge part of the jigsaw that makes your business successful. Similarly, by only focusing on the Employee Experience you could be missing out on understanding the needs of your customer, resulting in you steering your business in the wrong direction.

So where to start… I’ll leave that for my next post! Or, if you don’t want to wait, please reach out to me directly and we can talk.

About Heather Grisedale

Heather is the Experience and Engagement lead for the Harrison Network. She helps both to develop the environments in which people flourish, and to connect people to their contribution.

Back to blog