Employee Experience vs Customer Satisfaction: Why you need to know the difference

In this article we tell you the difference between Employee Experience and Customer Satisfaction

For many years, businesses have agonised over understanding and improving customer satisfaction. From ‘putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes’ to sending out 10 page annual surveys, it sometimes feels like we have tried everything. A concept we often come back to is ‘look after your employees and they will look after the customers’. It is an important concept, which has been proven time and time again to be true. However, for many leaders it feels like an overly ‘fluffy’ concept and one that is hard or impossible to collect substantial data or evidence around. In this article, we’ll start to put that right, help you to intimately understand how you can discuss this within your organisation and easily collect the supporting data you need to make it happen.

Definitions and misconceptions

There is a missing link to between customer satisfaction and employee experience for sure. This is most likely due to the popular understandings of each term being quite different from person to person and business to business. Customer satisfaction is well-established, however employee experience has a far less mature and shared understanding around. To us, employee experience is about how manage and improving how engaged employees are with each other, their workplace and their customers. Then harnessing this engagement in order to create positive change within a business. This could to some seem like an overly complex view; but the reality is that if we see it as anything simpler, we lose our ability to see people as our greatest asset in our organisations!

The ideas of Employee Experience are often seen as an HR function; sending annual staff surveys, organising team building days, putting in place tools to track staff performance and so on. However, the most competitive businesses in today’s world, are the one who see employee experience as everyone’s job and empower all internally provided services to own their part in this. And with digital becoming the heartbeat of nearly every business, IT’s role in this is becoming far greater, if not essential!

Whether IT is a part of a shared service or provides a more independent service to its business, more and more requests for business services are coming through IT and this is a great opportunity for IT leaders and CIOs to grab their part in managing employee experience by the horns and make an impact. Not only this, but IT can now start building a far more accurate and reliable picture of how the services they provide internally, directly impact the profitability of the business and the happiness of the end customer.

What can employee experience do for the business, which customer satisfaction cannot?

When it’s managed and realised, the business value created when teams such as IT take an active role in employee experience can have a highly positive impact on the business and the customer. Let’s take a look at some of the sorts of metrics and measures we can put around this and methods available to collect them.

Lost work time

…or if you are feeling more positive, ‘re-gained work time’! A key part of persons experience at work is feeling like they are being productive and purposeful with their time. IT has the ability to directly contribute towards this through measuring the impact of lost work time created by incidents and awaited changes. More and more IT teams are using ‘lost work time’ as a key metric to better understand how other metrics such as ‘time to resolution’ and ‘call wait time’ are making a positive or negative impact on their business and employees.


It’s a simple one, but often overlooked as something too difficult or ‘fluffy’ to measure. But this doesn’t have to be the case and it is now something that is much easier to measure in real-time and thus a more relevant and manageable metric. Using tools such as HappySignals, to engage with employees on a daily basis to better understand how their relationship and work with IT is affecting their happiness at work, is a really powerful insight to have. Especially when you can break it up into other factors such as are customers that are support by phone vs email, or in UK vs USA happier or unhappier?

Read more on why it's important to rethink your IT strategy.

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