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EX + CX: Why They’re Better Together


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This is a guest post from Jon Arnold, of JArnold and Associates. For an audio version of this content, check out the podcast

As cloud-based offerings mature, new options emerge for businesses to make collaboration a more powerful driver of growth. Most are legacy-based, and intended to be used in standalone fashion. With limited integration across applications, collaboration is often disjointed, inefficient and lacking in consistency for the user experience.

While many research studies validate that pain point, they tend to focus on the problem rather than the solution. This post distills findings from a recent study that addresses the problem and the solution, and in the process makes the case for an even broader approach to improving collaboration outcomes.

RingCentral recently published highlights of a 2019 global study conducted by CITE Research, and the findings provide a good roadmap for how businesses should be thinking about collaboration. Titled EX/CX Survey, the study is based on 2,000 online interviews conducted across all sizes of businesses. The core idea is that both EX and CX – employee experience and customer experience – need to be jointly considered to optimize your investment in collaboration solutions. To further explain, I’m going to highlight three key themes with supporting data points from the study.

Theme 1 – The cost of providing poor or bad CX

Continue reading below or listen to a podcast with Jon Arnold on the critical, and overlooked, cause of poor customer experience.

Your collaboration capabilities have a lot to do with this, so the starting point is to identify worst-case scenarios, and work backwards to root cause. Below are some data points to illustrate what bad CX looks like as well as what that leads to.

Table 1 – cost of bad CX



Stopped using product/service after having to repeat themselves over and over 41%
Stopped using product/service after being passed from rep to rep 41%
Hate having to repeat themselves when going through multiples channels/contacts 88%

Note how these examples reflect not just what customers do, but also how they feel. Bad CX doesn’t always directly result in lost business; it also sows the seeds of discontent that lead to this outcome later. Some customers have zero tolerance when dealing with your contact center, and others will take longer to reach their breaking point.

As such, things may be worse than they seem, and it’s easy to underestimate the risks around bad CX just from behavioral metrics such as lost customers. Don’t forget, most customers leave without saying goodbye, so this could well just be the tip of the iceberg.

Theme 2 – Getting to the root cause

Two distinct dynamics need to be understood, and both really need to be addressed for a holistic approach to better CX. The first pertains to how agents engage directly with customers, and historically, this has been the sole focus when planning contact center investments.

I would argue, however, that it’s equally important to understood how agents engage with co-workers when trying to support customers. Whether interacting with other agents, supervisors or co-workers based outside the contact center, this should be transparent to customers, and that’s very hard to do with legacy technology. Tables 2 and 3 below provide examples for each.

Table 2 – root cause: agent-customer interaction



Facing customer resistance to communicate via what mode agent is using 70%
Constantly toggling between applications to resolve customer needs 74%
Making customers go through longer than needed service times 77%

Table 3 – root cause: agent-co-worker interaction



Difficult to navigate across platforms to answer customer queries 70%
Have to leave app being used with customer to communicate with co-workers 71%
Have to put customers on hold to query co-workers when help is needed 78%

Theme 3 – Making the connection between EX and CX

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the benefit of integrating contact center with UC, and that approach is only possible via the cloud. This reflects the holistic view of collaboration being important organization-wide.

Aside from the technology being able to support this now, the rationale becomes stronger when you consider both the problems that come when you can’t do these things along with what gets better when you have them. Tables 4 and 5 support this, showing the impact of disjointed communications – the present state for most businesses – and the benefits of moving to an integrated platform.

Table 4 – when communications are disjointed

Impact of disjointed communications technology

Percent completely or somewhat agree

Negatively impacts employees 90%
Negatively impacts customer satisfaction and the bottom line 89%
Negatively affects workflow and job satisfaction 88%

Table 5 – when communications are integrated

Impact of integrated communications technology

Percent completely or somewhat agree

Would improve customer satisfaction scores 92%
Would make it easier for employees to keep customers happy 92%
Would improve both the employee and the customer experience 92%

Implications for IT

Even from these few examples, it should be clear that legacy tools are a drag on workplace productivity as well as a constraint for contact center agents. IT can certainly look at these as separate and unrelated problem sets, but the cloud allows them to consider integrated solutions that can address both at the same time. In this light, EX + CX can more closely align with digital transformation initiatives that seek to make the organization more agile as well as becoming more customer-centric.

So long as IT views UC and contact center as having standalone needs, that holistic vision won’t be realized. To some extent, this comes from IT viewing these needs as technology problems rather than business problems, in which case, a shift in mindset is needed. In essence, the intent is to help businesses evolve and become more strategic when investing in communications technology.

This means enabling effective teamwork that allows customers to see one company rather than a collection of silos, and makes collaboration more efficient with improved workflows. RingCentral calls this Work as One, and when EX and CX are seen as complementary, effective collaboration make everyone’s job easier, and from there, improved customer satisfaction will surely follow. If you want to learn more about how EX + CX can provide a richer return on collaboration, you’ll want to catch my follow-on podcast with RingCentral, coming soon.


Originally published Sep 17, 2019, updated Aug 11, 2020

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