Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

For a Successful CX You Must Have a Successful EX

A successful customer experience strategy is a result of the company’s culture. In other words, and I’ve said it many times before, what’s happening on the inside of the company is going to felt on the outside of the company by the customer.

So, let’s look at the inside of the company. Let’s look at the EX, which is the Employee Experience. The EX is part of the culture. It starts with how leadership wants their employees to feel about working for their company. One of my favorite concepts to write and talk about is the Employee Golden Rule, which is to treat employees like you want the customer to be treated. The EX is what will make or break the CX.

First, let’s talk about the customer experience. What department is in charge of CX? Is it marketing? Customer support? It’s both – and much more. A good CX is the responsibility of everyone in the company. It’s not a department. It’s the entire company, and it’s important for everyone in the company to know the role they play when it comes to CX.

If someone in the accounting department sends out an errant invoice, it impacts (negatively) the CX. If someone in the warehouse doesn’t properly pack a product, it may show up broken at the customer’s home or office. That’s a definite negative CX.

Then there is the employee experience, also known as the EX. What do employees experience when they come to work? For example, if you have an employee break room, how do your employees feel about it? Is it a tiny, dirty, rundown part of the building? Or, does it measure up to the experience you would want your customers to have? Years ago I wrote about when the Ritz-Carlton took over a hotel that needed serious renovations. The first area they remodeled was the employee entrance. They made it nice, and the message that sent to their employees was in alignment with their customer service “credo,” which is: We’re ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. Simply put, if you want your employees to treat customers like ladies and gentlemen, then treat the employees like ladies and gentlemen. And, the perfect place to start is the first experience they encounter when they come to work; the employee entrance.

Another example of creating a good EX is finding the one thing that your employees enjoy doing most, and let that be part of their job. For example, Stephanie in our office loves recording and editing video. It’s her favorite thing to do, so we made it one of her main responsibilities. Every week she has “video time.” By the way, if you want to see her work, just click here and you’ll be taken to This is my YouTube channel, and she has been a part of almost 150 of the videos on that site.

So, when you’re considering your CX, take a good look at your EX. The EX affects the CX, or worth stating again, what’s happening on the inside of the organization is felt on the outside by your customers.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

  1. Cassie McInnes says:

    Nice read Shep! Lucky Stephanie, I bet she deserves it, great videos. Couldn’t agree more with your words. The challenge is keeping up that EX. Always.

  2. Really nice article, though the fundamental premise is at least partially incorrect. My own research on 340 large US companies that sell to consumers shows that EX only matters for high-touch businesses like retail, hotels and airlines. It does not matter at all for low-touch businesses where employees never meet customers. Facebook and LinkedIn are examples of the latter category. Facebook and LinkedIn employees love them, while their customers hate them. Cable TV companies and ISPs are also good examples of quasi-monopolies with happy employees and unhappy customers.

  3. Great statement and well explained Shep!
    In the same way I relate the way employees interact within a company will reflect external jnteractions. Employees first when you try to improve your CX. Work on your internal communication. This is how people communicate as a cultural aspect and what is the quality of information transmission.
    Hope to interact with you soon, Thanks Shep

    • Thanks, Alexander. Appreciate your comment. Same philosophy, just different words. Communication is a big part of the culture. That concept by itself can be a great article.

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