Customer experience and employee experience are now two of the driving forces of business. Independently, each function leads to valuable relationships — with customers and employees — but when CX and EX are managed together, they create a unique, sustainable competitive advantage. Companies should consider integrating the two disciplines and installing a chief experience officer to lead the combined effort across the entire organization.

What a lot of companies miss is that a great employee experience leads to a great customer experience. Skillful leadership that integrates and aligns the customer and employee experiences is needed in the C-suite. A chief experience officer, or CXO, can help an organization develop and unleash the combined power of both disciplines.

If an organization separates leadership of CX from EX, disconnects are likely to arise, even if those roles are part of the executive team. Moreover, separating the functions leads to competition between the two for resources and attention. Integrating them into a single department, or at least uniting the two departments under a single leader, lets companies take advantage of synergies between the two. A CXO can be responsible for:

— Increasing customer understanding among all employees.

— Increasing employee understanding among company leaders.

— Driving deliberate, disciplined design and delivery of experiences to customers and employees.

— Creating connections between CX and EX, and advocating for the integration they require.

— Championing customers’ and employees’ perspectives in the company’s strategic decision-making.

— Measuring the impact of CX on employees, the impact of EX on customers and the impact of both on the company’s key performance indicators.

Written by Denise Lee Yohn, a leading authority on positioning great brands and building exceptional organizations.