Last month, Gartner released its hotly anticipated tech trend predictions for 2021—and among the most noteworthy was a new idea called TX. Short for total experience, the concept looks at the intersections between customer, employee, and user experiences as a way to elevate overall business results.

While this holistic approach offers some exciting benefits (we unpack them in this blog post), it also suggests that there are gains to be had from implementing a simple shift in thinking: to thrive during COVID and beyond, leading-edge tech companies need to borrow a page from their customer playbooks and start treating employees more like clients.

Improving business performance: the happy employee advantage

We already know what a significant differentiator providing excellent customer service can be. Companies that strive to reduce the frustration and friction of interactions, streamline communications, and provide friendly, human service reap the rewards: loyalty, greater spend per customer (up to 16% more, depending on the category), and more referrals from their customers’ networks, according to PwC.

Meanwhile, tech companies have long recognized how closely employee experience is also linked to business performance. Engaged employees are more likely to display key traits that drive product and service innovation; companies that give employees more flexibility and control over how they work develop larger pools of high performers; and engaged employees play a critical role in success after a merger or acquisition—which are expected to play a significant role in post-COVID recovery, particularly within tech (some 63% of global tech leaders and entrepreneurs say they expect to pursue new acquisitions in the coming months).

And as the workforce adapts to a new normal—including the likely rise of permanent remote work—employee satisfaction will become even more of an imperative. That’s because with hiring pools expanded to virtually everywhere, there will be more pressure on tech companies to hone the employee experience as a competitive differentiator for recruiting top talent.

Employee experience during COVID

Even amid the challenges of lockdowns and economic uncertainty, tech companies have done a pretty good job maintaining employee satisfaction this year. According to Gartner:

  • 87% of tech employees say their company has made them feel valued during the pandemic (that’s 12 points higher than the average score across industries)
  • 81% say their company culture has improved (compared to a cross-sector average of 70%)

But the current picture of employee satisfaction isn’t all rosy:

  • 73% of respondents working in tech said their job is more demanding now than it was before COVID—a significantly higher level than in other sectors
  • 68% reported work-life balance challenges—also higher than in any other sector

These are challenges that could be overcome by applying winning customer experience principles to transform the employee experience.

Applying customer experience to employee experience: tech is a key differentiator

A clearly established brand and culture; a human touch; convenient and seamless experiences. These are all qualities people want to see in the companies they patronize—and the ones they work for.

A PwC report entitled Experience is Everything identifies technology as a key enabler of the makings of “phenomenal customer experiences,” noting that:

82% of the top-performing companies report paying close attention to the human experience around digital and tech.

Employing new digital tools to transform experiences is so powerful because it does the following (and more):

  • Helps businesses meet customer needs with increased speed, convenience, friendliness, and knowledge
  • Reduced friction
  • By providing clearer data and eliminating obstacles that stand in the way of service delivery, tech helps businesses refocus priorities in order to create even more innovative experiences

Bringing these benefits to fruition hinges upon choosing the right technology to meet customer needs and expectations. This is true when it comes to improving the employee experience too.  And given that communications technology enables some of the main cornerstones of work life—how work gets done and connections between coworkers—focusing here can set a strong foundation for transforming employee experiences.

Though many businesses use separate solutions for instant messaging, phone calls and videos (layered upon dozens of other business apps employees need to do their job every day), a unified platform like RingCentral helps employees streamline the work of collaborating and sharing information. Reduce drag and wasted time, and improve upon some of the main pain points that have emerged during COVID-19 (and that don’t appear to be going anywhere)? For better employee experiences, communication tools are a winning start.