From the Inside Out: How Employee Experience Drives Exceptional Customer Experiences

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Ron Doney

Founder and CEO

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Recently, I’ve been reflecting on Think Up’s last 20 years and how we have grown and evolved as an organization. I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities Think Up has had to work with some of the world’s leading brands – brands that are known for their ability to capture the hearts and minds of their customers. These organizations come with unique offerings, opportunities, and challenges, yet the majority recognize that an exceptional customer experience is the key to achieving next-level business outcomes.

Over the years, we have delved deeply into understanding what sets these successful brands apart from the rest. Our work has revealed that the most powerful way to elevate the customer experience is from the “inside out.” In other words, an organization’s internal culture and employee experience play a fundamental role in shaping its external brand differentiation and customer interactions.

Through our partnerships with clients, we have witnessed time and again that organizations that prioritize their people, connecting them to the brand, strategy, and culture, are the same ones that excel in growth, loyalty, and market leadership. This crucial insight underscores the symbiotic relationship between employee experience and brand differentiation. When employees are genuinely engaged, they become brand advocates and ambassadors, fostering a positive and authentic customer experience that transcends mere transactions.

Anyone who has visited Disney, shopped at an Apple store, or ordered shoes from Zappos understands the lasting impact and sense of loyalty that is created based on the quality of the experience, which often places the employees in a role that is central to embodying the brand.

And while few would argue that the intangibles play an important role, data now confirms that the customer experience is critical to brand success. In fact, a recent study by PwC showed that 73% of consumers say that a good experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. In addition, 65% of US customers find a positive experience with a brand to be more compelling than great advertising.

Moreover, recent research reveals that employee experience is the secret sauce to achieving a positive customer experience. A recent study published by Harvard Business Review reports brands that invest in a top-level employee experience can see up to 150% ROI in revenue.

Think Up has had the privilege of working closely with organizations who understand the important connection between their employees and its customers. Whether we are partnering with others to develop and implement a change management strategy, create a learning program that engages employees to embody the brand, or design an event that serves as a launching pad for cultural building, we have seen the transformative effects of investing in employees to activate an experience.

Looking to the future, we predict that more companies will begin to view employee experience as a clear path to driving revenue and high-impact outcomes. We look forward to the next 20 years of helping our clients drive success by elevating the customer experience from the inside out.


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