Customer experience

Deliver an Employee Experience that Achieves Great Customer Experience: Interview with Jill Raff

AskNicely Team

In a recent episode of the Frontline Magic podcast, host and frontline evangelist Susanne Axelsson sits with Jill Raff, a globally recognized EX2CX expert and one of the top 150 global customer experience thought leaders and influencers. Jill shares her invaluable insights on creating a connection culture within organizations, and focusing on employee experience (EX) to drive exceptional customer experience (CX). There are some many juicy takeaways in this conversation, so let’s dive in!

The Journey of a Georgia Girl

Jill's remarkable journey into the realm of CX began with her unique upbringing in Georgia, where her family opened one of the earliest McDonald's franchises. This experience left an indelible mark on her, cementing her belief in the pivotal role of people and culture in shaping any business. She shares, "I grew up in that franchise at a time when it was not the McDonald's that we all know today. It was growing. It was a big risk for my parents, and I was able to really be a part of both working everyday and going in and seeing my dad interact and engage with his employees”. The truly cemented the importance of people and culture.

Understanding EX and CX

Jill's philosophy revolves around the concept that EX (employee experience) serves as the foundation for exceptional CX (customer experience). She firmly believes that neglecting the well-being and satisfaction of employees can lead to subpar customer interactions. In her own words, "You cannot ignore your employees, your staff, you need to make sure that you're delivering a great employee experience first in order to achieve that great customer experience." We couldn't agree more. You can learn more about the EX → CX impact here. 

The Inside Out Framework

Jill introduces her proprietary process called the Inside Out Framework, stressing the importance of building a strong internal culture to bolster EX and CX efforts. She explains, "It starts from the inside. My background gave me the tools and the knowledge to create my proprietary process when I'm working with clients called the inside out framework." This framework involves establishing core values, vision, and mission while customizing them to meet the unique needs of the organization. It involves connecting each employee to the company's vision, creating a unique sense of purpose and motivation for every individual. 

Transforming Transactions into Interactions

One of Jill's core mantras is "transforming transactions into interactions." This concept entails shifting away from cold, unemotional exchanges of money for services (transactions) and moving towards authentic, human-to-human connections (interactions). She highlights the significance of building relationships with both customers and employees, asserting that this approach lies at the heart of delivering a remarkable experience. 

The Power of Engagement and Empathy

In her conversation, Jill underlines the pivotal role of engagement and empathy in creating a connection culture. Engaging with employees and customers is the stepping stone to building trust and fostering accountability within the organization. Jill passionately articulates, "Engaging with employees and customers leads to trust and accountability within the organization. Additionally, empathy is a vital ingredient, adding flavor to the entire culture, making employees feel valued and motivated." When you build genuine, long-lasting relationships with your employees, they in turn can build genuine, long-lasting relationships with your customers. 

Jill shares a personal experience while searching for an apartment, where the real estate agent's empathetic approach and genuine interest in her needs and feedback made a significant difference in the customer experience. This example underscores the profound impact of empathy in creating lasting and positive impressions.

The Challenge of Attracting and Retaining Talent

Jill acknowledges the ongoing challenges in the labor market, particularly concerning the attraction and retention of talent, with some industries grappling with high turnover rates. To address these challenges, she advises companies to focus on building a robust connection culture, creating leaders at every level, and providing opportunities for growth and development within the organization. She emphasizes, "I think one of the biggest problems is that they are not addressing the basic needs of their employees, that they're not looking at them as something beyond a transaction as well, that they really need to look at, how do we bring them in as partners?" 

Leading by Example

For those working on the frontline and aiming to elevate customer experiences, Jill recommends leading by example. Small acts of genuine interest, such as using a customer's name or inquiring about their experiences, can significantly enhance customer interactions. She emphasizes, "I think it starts with you. It starts inside. I think leading by example is really important." Her words echo the fundamental truth that exceptional customer experiences originate from within, emanating from the attitudes and behaviors of frontline staff. When employees themselves embody the values of genuine interest and authentic engagement, they set the standard for exceptional customer service. In this way, they inspire others within the organization to follow suit, creating a culture of customer-centricity that resonates throughout every customer interaction. 

The Power of the Mind and Attitude

Jill's favorite quote, attributed to Henry Ford, underscores the significance of the mind and attitude in achieving success. She quotes, "Whether you think you can or you think you cannot, either way, you're right. It's the power of our mind and attitude that makes a real big difference in our life and what we achieve and what we don't.". In the realm of customer experiences and employee interactions, this philosophy remains just as pertinent. A positive attitude, coupled with a belief in one's capacity to make a difference, along with a clear roadmap to success can inspire exceptional service, foster genuine connections, and lead to remarkable customer experiences. 

Understanding the fundamental link between EX and CX, Jill emphasizes that you simply cannot afford to overlook the well-being and satisfaction of your employees. When we create a culture of engagement, empathy, and mutual respect, we sow the seeds of exceptional customer interactions, ultimately reaping the rewards of loyalty and customer delight.

Tune into the full podcast episode here. 

AskNicely Team
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AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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