CX Science: to improve CX, include photos of your employees on your website
Having photos of your employees on your website increases customers' evaluation of the website.
Interestingly, it also shapes the memories people have of previous service interactions. Customers evaluate past service engagements higher when employees' photos are present on the website.
Include photos of your employees on your website. It increases your customer service rating and leads to higher loyalty and financial impact.
For an even stronger effect, signal employee accessibility to customers by displaying their contact information, for example.
The digital world is clearly here to stay. Covid-19 sped up a trend that was already gaining momentum; in fact, online purchasing and communication have been growing steadily even before it. For all the benefits this brings, there are also downsides. The loss of human touch, metaphorically and literally (on the latter, check out my article on LinkedIn), is perhaps the most important one.
In addition, when embracing digitalization companies face a myriad of challenges, ranging from reshaping processes to designing online experiences.
A group of scientists set off to investigate whether having photos of your employees on the company website helps to improve CX, loyalty, and business results. Across several real-life studies and lab experiments, they convincingly show that yes, it does! Read on.
A human being, please
People long for communication with other people, or at least for their presence. Business and consumption contexts are no exception to this, and the social distancing measures in place amplify this need further.
There is one very easy and cost effective fix to this - show customers photos of employees. The mere presence of employees related to the company (as opposed to anonymous people) is enough for customers to rate your website higher. Put briefly, we prefer websites on which we can see actual employees. This makes us enjoy the website more and consequently, we also evaluate the website service quality higher. It should come as no surprise that this leads to higher loyalty, which then drives business results as many studies have shown.
In a nutshell, presence of employees on website -> leads to -> more website enjoyment -> which leads to -> higher evaluation of website service quality -> which leads to -> higher loyalty -> which leads to -> better business results.
From website to service quality
Now, while the previous insight is important, it is perhaps not that surprising. What I find really interesting is the spillover effect from website to service quality evaluation.
A spillover effect occurs when in our minds we link things that don't necessarily go together. This happens as we change our own memories, considering additional incoming information or feelings. In this view, our memory is not static but dynamic, and we don't reproduce our memories but reconstruct them as we go on with our lives.
This is exactly what the authors found out. The mere presence of service employees on websites was enough to create more vivid memories. These in turn spill over from website evaluation to the entire service quality context! In other words, when customers saw employees on the website they not only like the website more but also rated their service experience as better.
In their words,
"Remarkably, an employee’s digital presence, although factually unrelated, augments customer perceptions of service employees’ competence and commitment and thus strengthens rather than erodes service employees’ role in customer–firm relationships."
On top of that, what helps even more than having photos of employees on the website is also providing contact information. This makes employees look more accessible and further increases the magnitude of impact.
Imagine, all of that chain of events from website evaluation to higher loyalty being unlocked by a straightforward and inexpensive intervention such as putting photos and profiles of employees on your website. I hope this inspires you to at least test this - the impact on your business can be significant.
My best wishes for a great day ahead!