HR Customer Experience: Setting The Scene For Success

Jens Obermann

The customer experience (CX) is a trending topic in today’s business sphere. Consultants are turning to concepts and tools like design thinking, agile, and lean, and traditional companies are adopting lean startup concepts to improve the customer experience.

But just as the term customer experience itself is somewhat fuzzy, companies’ approaches to it are also often fragmented. That’s usually either because a common framework is missing or the project setup does not allow enough freedom. To address these challenges, companies must first:

  • Find a common definition of customer experience
  • Create the right mindset
  • Ask the right questions to frame the problem
  • Set up a good framework for implementation

Defining customer experience

The definition of customer experience depends on its context. Two broad categories can be identified by looking at customers who are external to the company and those who are internal. Here, we’ll focus on the internal customer perspective: employees, or customers of HR services. The experience is then defined as the interaction between employees and HR.

 Creating the right mindset

Addressing the customer experience starts with setting the right mindset within HR. Interaction points with employees are critical to reaching the next level of customer satisfaction with HR services, so it’s essential to keep the customer in mind for creation and delivery of new services.

To achieve the right mindset, always think from the customer’s perspective. Start by thinking about what experience you want to create for the customer, then design backward. Delivering services that focus on customers does not mean you need to abandon service principles for efficiency and cost-effectiveness—rather, find a way to make the service work for the customer first, and then figure out a sustainable way to deliver it.

Asking the right questions

Asking the right questions (known as “framing” in design thinking) saves time and resources that might otherwise be spent solving problems that don’t directly affect your customers. Learn what your customers value and what problems they face by interviewing them and doing research.

Setting up a good framework

A good framework combines methods, tools, governance, setup, and measurement. Design thinking and agile project management are popular and effective approaches to improving the customer experience. Governance is also necessary to ensure that customer feedback is managed properly. Measurement involves deciding which criteria comprise valuable interaction points and identifying the indicators of success.

In summary, taking a customer experience approach in HR can benefit both HR departments and employees, but it needs to be embedded in effective, well-managed processes.

For more insight on this topic, see “The Human Need That Can Make Or Break A Customer Experience.”


Jens Obermann

About Jens Obermann

As a senior project consultant for HR, Jens feels at home with global project management of large-scale transformation projects. Besides this engagement, he is also a seasoned Design Thinking coach and is facilitating workshops on a regular basis. A focus on customer experience and thinking activities through from a customer point of view is front and center in both activities.