How to Improve Customer Experience and Employee Engagement: Advice from 14 Leading Brands

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Each year we’re excited to bring together some of the most innovative and influential leaders who are doing the important work of transforming customer and employee experiences at businesses across industries at our annual Medallia Experience. This year’s Medallia Experience 21 was no exception, and we had the chance to hear from visionaries pioneering in the areas of employee engagement and customer experience at organizations like Facebook, Samsung, TD Bank, USAGov, Panera Bread, Northwestern Medicine, and many more. 

Here are nine best practices these and other customer experience and employee experience leaders shared at Medallia Experience 21 that your team can put into action to improve customer outcomes and employee engagement at your company. 

#1: Start small — with areas where you can have the greatest impact

“You want a program that you can scale when you want to grow, and a solution that can scale and grow with you. … Don’t try to boil the ocean, just start small, but with the area that you can have the most impact on.”

— Pegah Valeh, Global Head of CX, Facebook Reality Labs, whose organization recently launched a customer experience program to drive customer-centric decision-making and product innovation 

#2: Ensure internal alignment on your priorities

“To have a successful program, first and foremost, you need to align internally. You can’t do everything overnight, but if you have a really good plan on paper and everyone’s aligned, you can begin to see that all come to life.”

— Darla Johnson, Director of Voice of the Guest, Panera Bread 

“If you can get one business [unit] or two businesses going to build momentum, that goes a long way to garnering advocacy and support at the executive level to drive that transformation with speed.”

— Jasper Lam, AVP of Customer Experience, TD Bank, whose company has transformed its customer experience program into a more nimble one focused on continuous innovation using Medallia 

#3: Listen — to everyone, not just the vocal minority — in real time

We are putting the customer at the heart of everything we do, using real-time insights and action.”

— Guilherme Koga, Director of Care Analytics, CX and Strategy, Samsung

#4: Go beyond listening — and take the right action

“At 3M, we set up listening posts across the company and showed momentum with the first deployment. … We’ve got literally, systematically, hundreds of customer stories flowing through the company every day.”

— Hugh Murphy, CX Lead, Enterprise Operations, 3M

“We believe the public’s experience with the government should be easy, trusted, and reliable. And the only way to deliver that is to make sure we are listening to what our audience is telling us and responding, quickly, effectively, and making sure we take what we’re hearing into account as we make improvements to all of our products.”

— Jess Milcetich, Director of Customer Experience, USAGov, on how USAGov used text analytics to quickly develop insights and respond to emerging situations through the pandemic and 2020 U.S. election 

#5: Prioritize customer and employee experiences

“We plan to create positive crew experiences, which will lead to an improved client experience to ensure that Vanguard can continue taking a stand for all investors, treat them fairly, and give them the best chance for investment success.”

— Pam Haas, Voice of the Employee Strategist, Vanguard

“The deep insights from having customer and employee experience data all living under one roof has given us data to prove that employee happiness plays a significant role in how well employees deliver services to their clients.”

— Jon Terwilliger, Program Manager, the City of San Diego

“If you really want to disrupt and innovate, it’s empowering the frontlines and physicians with the tools and resources to get the meaningful insight they need in order to design care.”

— Chris Brainard, Senior Director of Patient Experience and Engagement, UAB Medicine, whose organization has used real-time patient insights to drive innovation and improve care 

#6: Understand and optimize the customer journey by segment

“In an ultra competitive, complex environment with a multifaceted guest journey, it was a game changer to understand that there were different moments that mattered for different guest segments across our journey.” 

— Jon Yuill, Manager, Research and Insights, WestJet, whose company used Medallia to better understand — and then serve — different segments of travelers 

#7: Go beyond scores — and focus on behaviors

“We attribute our success to really focusing on the behaviors. This enabled us to create a learning culture where feedback was more important than score.” 

— Connie Leary, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience Strategy and Programs, Santander

#8: Embrace new feedback methods (video)

“We use video feedback to create social media videos that reinforce our marketing claim that we have the most five-star reviews of any major window replacement company, which is a really fun way to use this feedback.” 

— Adam May, Senior Communications Manager, Renewal by Andersen 

#9: Lean into feedback to drive innovation and agility

“We’ve taken and pushed the way that we use comments deeper into the organization. And this has actually proven to be culturally one of the better things we’ve done throughout the organization to make improvements.”

— Stratis Bahaveolos, Vice President of Engagement at Northwestern Medicine

Ready for more inspiration? Download the “Medallia Experience 21: Experience Leaders” eBook to get real-world examples and inspirational stories from top brands that have put these best practices and generated gains in NPSⓇ, OSAT, and more.