Prioritising all your stakeholder relationships, instead of only focusing on the customer experience, is the only priority that matters.

For many companies globally, there has been a shift towards customer-first policies and practices. The consensus is that improving your customer experience has a direct, positive impact on a company’s bottom line. Makes sense, right?

However, does this approach take the full picture into account? The business best practice is widening its lens beyond the customer experience. This wider lens takes at least two other stakeholder groups into account too: the workforce and business partners. Lines between these groups are already blurred.

The unseen connections between stakeholders that lead to achieving the business outcomes are clear. This clarity calls for a holistic and measurable strategy across all three parts of an enterprise’s ecosystem. Treating each stakeholder as a separate silo (in terms of engagement, marketing, and measurement) just doesn’t cut it anymore.

The empowered consumer is an active driver of business decisions. An example of the is adopting different workforce roles to accommodate workforce evolution. Today’s newly-configured workforce doesn’t fit neatly into a box. It finds itself skating between being a business partner and consumer, most like the next big business promoter.

According to Dr. Renata Schoeman, a psychiatrist and associate professor in leadership at the University of Stellenbosch Business School explains that undervaluing the treatment of an enterprise’s workforce “increases conflict, stress, staff turnover, and absenteeism.” The approach “reduces productivity and collective social responsibility, eroding corporate culture and ethical standards, and diminishing shareholder value and returns on investment.

The loss of productivity and collective social responsibility is a reason to shift the focus beyond just the consumer experience. The lack of an inclusive human interaction approach cost South Africa R40bn in 2016* and is escalating.

Maximising profit lies in treating every stakeholder, not least of all your workforce, as your priority.

The need for an interconnected, holistic strategy is clear, creating a journey for all stakeholders that mirrors and matches consumer experience. Today, it boils down to the human experience. Connecting the dots between under-utilised data mines, and centres of control (like marketing for the consumer experience and human resources for the workforce experience) is the key to success here.

“Understanding, managing, tracking, and improving ‘human experiences’ should be more integrated,” explains Deloitte Insights.

The three most significant measurement categories to track stakeholder loyalty or retention risk are as follows:

  1. The ease of the interaction – was it marked by low effort and low complexity?
  2. Recommendation or promotion likelihood – will your interaction result in a recommendation?
  3. Satisfaction following the interaction – tap into the emotions of critical stakeholders to understand satisfaction scores.

Each of these metrics will enable you to get the big picture – in four dimensions! So, how exactly do you get from where you are, to executing a holistic human measurement strategy?

The objective of a universal measurement system is to improve all stakeholders’ experiences. To this end, abandon the soiled traditional siloed structure. Marketing teams and human resources teams, along with operations and information teams, need to collaborate and develop shared metrics.

Next, look at how you can use technology to enable the collection, reporting, and analysis that empowers you to react and respond adequately. Sure, human-human face-to-face interactions are always the priority. However, the power of digital should be leveraged to measure, track, and manage relationships in a way that’s simple and non-invasive.

Lastly, think about the expectations you create, whether consciously or non-consciously. Expectations are the root of all disappointment, so do what you can to take charge of the expectations that are designed to avoid over-promising and under-delivering!

Yes, the customer is always right. However, every interaction that your brand has, directly and indirectly, impacts your profitability. The bottom line is simple: track, measure, and manage each of your relationships holistically. This approach will bring about solutions that run across your entire value chain.