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The intrinsic link between customer and candidate experience

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The intrinsic link between customer and candidate experience

I’m a Customer Experience (CX) Director with a few years under my belt and a track record in transforming customer journeys.  Having recently looked to hire into my team, I applied the same principles used when mapping the customer journey to the candidate journey to understand just how valuable the candidate experience can be.

Embracing the candidate journey to the full, I sat on the other side of the desk and stepped into the shoes of the candidate. Immediately I became a passionate observer and judge, intrigued by the synergies applicable across the two use cases: customer and candidate. It’s fascinating how pertinent my experience during this journey mirrors the customer journeys that I extol passionately across my own company and in the wider world of business. 

There are multiple stages to the customer journey that create moments of truth, from the initial research stage right through to the post ‘purchase’ experience. Each stage is transient but leaves a powerful impression, and if executed well, enables the next stage with an increasing sense of confidence and optimism.

Research Stage

First off is the research stage.  Fundamentally, this stage underpins the whole experience. From a business perspective, be it recruitment or retail, brand attraction is key and increasingly dominated by our own set of values, from researching sustainability credentials to understanding the cultural priorities of a business. The importance of a company’s culture from a candidate experience is becoming increasingly important and almost a given, however, customers are also becoming so much more well informed. Cultural values are so prominent now. These values now dominate the all-encompassing CX agenda when viewed at an enterprise-wide level.

Select Stage

The select stage, where the candidate decides to progress their application or the user clicks the ‘buy’ button, is a significant ‘moment of truth’. The investment from a personal or user perspective escalates to the next level at this stage. That first contact point is known in the CX industry as a critical customer touchpoint, a measurable experience that can lead somewhere or nowhere depending on the quality of the interaction. The interaction channels may differ (online, face to face, telephone) but emotions are heightened in exactly the same way as the user braces themselves for buyer’s remorse or congratulates themselves for making a good choice. Either way, customer or candidate is king and the word ‘choice’ amplifies the power shift that has taken place over the last couple of decades.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

As the stages of the journey unfolded (and every business will have its own definition for each stage), the whole minefield of reactive and proactive communication came into play. All the usual rules apply: consistent, personalised and relevant communication both from a content and channel perspective creates a succession of opportunities to impress or to fail. All these touchpoints can and should be measured using sophisticated analytics to pick up on pain and pleasure points to enhance CX and focus on what is truly important for the end-user.

Belabouring the point slightly, data-driven decision-making is incredibly pertinent across CX and the more sophisticated the analytics, the greater the opportunities to get it right. The fact that customer expectations are evolving means last year’s data is no longer relevant; in some cases, last month’s data is no longer relevant. Apply that to candidates, who are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their wants and needs. The candidate is no longer the grateful recipient of a much sought-after job offer, but more likely to be the discerning decision-maker, where each interaction becomes a defining moment on their chosen career path. 

Final Stages

Reaching the final stages of the customer and candidate lifecycle may involve (and probably should involve) a number of key stakeholders in the business with specific skillsets. Applying the lens of the end-user, these experiences should be seamless and connected. Organising this at a business level requires a matrix approach that drives accountability, where owners understand their success measures that underpin each moment of truth and are relentlessly pursuing perfection for their own component part of the journey. In this way, all stakeholders understand the part they have to play and whether they are an experience enhancer or a detractor so they can respond accordingly.

Orchestrating this approach at an enterprise-wide level is no mean feat, however with comprehensive journey mapping, clear ownership, and accountability at a holistic (stage) level and more granular (component) level, the business has a blueprint for success. 

One take away from reflecting on the synergies I hope I have brought to life-  the intrinsic link between the candidate and the customer experience -is how transferable a skillset customer experience practitioners have whenever connected experiences require orchestrating into a successful outcome. That opens up a whole host of new opportunities …

About our Guest Blogger

Claire Hill is a highly impactful CX professional with 20 years’ experience in customer strategy design and delivery and has delivered multi-million-pound transformational projects with significant impact on both employees and customers 

Claire joined Studio Retail Ltd in Jan 2018 as Customer Experience Director, driving the enterprise- wide CX roadmap and service proposition, as well as taking responsibility for the UK and Philippines customer service operations with outsourced services across the globe. 

Previous to this role, Claire spent 2 years with boohoo.com as Customer Service Director, accountable for a global, multi-lingual customer service operation, launching Customer Services digital platforms for boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal. She previously held the role of Director of Customer Services  for N Brown Group, a FTSE 250 multi-channel retailer with group revenue in excess of £800m.

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