Tiffani Bova is the Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce.
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It’s so important right now to make change. Or rather, drive change in areas that need it most. But this kind of change has to start in-house. When people and communities thrive, your business thrives. When your team is energized and supported, you can tap into the art of the possible. And since Salesforce recently completed a research report with Forbes Insights that delved into the relationship between employee experience (EX), customer experience (CX), and revenue growth, I have new data to back all of this up.
More specifically, we tested the hypothesis that EX→ CX→ Growth, and were pleased to see it confirmed in the research. Our study found that 70% of executives agree that improved EX leads to improved CX, which in turn leads to rapid revenue growth. But that’s not all we found. I’ll walk you through some top findings and best practices as seen in the field by Lamborghini, who just celebrated its best September ever in terms of production.
Double Your Growth by Focusing on Employees
Revenue growth is linked to high EX, regardless of CX prioritization. Companies that have both high EX and CX see almost double the revenue growth as those that do not. This has been the case for Lamborghini. Over the past eight years, Lamborghini increased its production of cars by five times. To put this in perspective for the auto industry, Katia Bassi, Chief Marketing and Communication Officer of Lamborghini, explained, “The changes that our company saw in just a few years can be compared with changes that usually take 20 years.”
That kind of change requires an extreme focus internally to meet demand while also preventing burnout and still driving innovation. Even in times of high revenue growth and customer satisfaction like Lamborghini is seeing now, there’s still a huge need to focus on EX to prevent high staff turnover (which will inevitably lower CX). More than half of surveyed executives confirmed that fast revenue growth does not lead to high EX, and among revenue leaders, that number is even higher.
Lamborghini prioritized internal structure as its starting point for supporting the company’s growth and resulting change. “We had to introduce a new generation of employees,” said Bassi. “The new employees infused our teams and helped us find an important new balance between home and work life.”
And with new people came new operations. “Our growth had to be followed by an increase in technology and innovation,” said Bassi. “Lamborghini is a different company now. We had to align growth with culture. We prioritized communication, and that ended up being our most important improvement at Lamborghini.”
A recent Harvard Business Review study found that 74% of companies marked communications tools as “very important” for getting work done efficiently. With Lamborghini’s current communication prioritization, Bassi said, “We communicate with employees much more, and we understand what growth means for all of them on an individual level. We share as much as we can about our growth, what our brand exposure is, our upcoming plans, new launches, and new activities for brand extensions. And, our people feel a part of our company.”
The Salesforce team has worked with Lamborghini to guide the company in its transformation, including opening communication channels and connecting systems both internally and externally. “In terms of new ways to communicate, Salesforce Customer 360 is key in knowing our customers inside out,” said Bassi. “It’s an incredible element for employees to know who is in front of them.”
Draw Inspiration from Your EX to Fuel Your CX
One example of a recent employee experience that Lamborghini put into motion is Lamboforce. Lamboforce is an internal event in which the company transmits strategy and innovation, shares new ways of approaching evolving technologies, and looks at challenges and opportunities. The event includes group projects focused on building value around processes, data integration, and the people of Lamborghini.
“This event was the brainchild of our Commercial and IT teams together with HR,” said Bassi. “Lamboforce was inspired by one of our great partners, Salesforce, three years ago and was born from the idea that innovating requires new eyes, new perspectives. A combination and fusion of multiple perspectives together. The customer perspective, the dealer perspective, but also the perspective of the single person behind each activity in the company.”
Breaking the barriers between areas within the company, building trust between people working together, and adding that small piece of fun in the recipe guarantees success and continuous learning.
“Lamboforce is actually where the idea for Unica, our mobile app, was born,” said Bassi. “And this is now a key element for connecting with our customers and anticipating the connected car experiences for the future.”
With the Unica app, customers have the opportunity to see the status of their car on the line, as well as select customizations and communicate with Lamborghini.
Video captured during Lamboforce 2020
And the communications are paying off. In September, Lamborghini completed its best production month ever.
When a New Path Is Presented, Explore Your Options
Just as Lamborghini was charting a new course as a company, COVID-19 accelerated the brand’s timeline. But this also offered unprecedented opportunities for testing. “We tested the same employee communication methods during lockdown with our customers,” said Bassi. “During the pandemic, we have been able to get in touch with messages from our board and CEO and establish new relationships to show customers we were thinking of them. We found that our Unica app built on Salesforce was the key. Unica is our first step in getting in touch with customers, and 1-to-1 relationships have been important from the beginning at Lamborghini.”
In addition to communication shifts, COVID-19 also prompted a complete redesign of how Lamborghini does events. “Before COVID-19, we prioritized in-person relationships as much as we could,” said Bassi. “We built these personal relationships at our hosted events like unveilings and launches in different countries. People want to exchange ideas, feel a connection to our company, and see the real face of Lamborghini.”
COVID-19 completely shifted the way in-person events were held worldwide. The first opportunity to move to a virtual format came with the launch of the Huracán EVO Spyder. “Our employees were the key here,” said Bassi. “Giving employees the hope of a car launch after the pain of the pandemic ensured that we were all together, all aligned with the customer. And we delivered. Because people were not able to come to us, we used augmented reality to bring the car to their gardens, garages, and homes.”
Combine Vision and Culture to Drive Change
Lamborghini is pioneering a path forward for more 20-year-change type movements. Our EX research shows that the biggest challenges that come with this kind of organizational change are lack of leadership vision and employees resisting cultural change.
With all of the transformation at Lamborghini, I asked about what they have found to be true in these regards. “I believe the truth is in the middle,” said Bassi. “With so much growth in a short time, as well as long-term employees who have been with Lamborghini for 10 to 15 years, it’s not easy to adapt and embrace innovation and change. Thanks to communication tools, we have been able to align and be transparent about the path in front of us.”
She added, “In the past, we have been shy in communicating what we stand for, but now our employees are passionate about not only our company and brand, but also about what they do. It’s about life and craftsmanship. It’s something that never ends. Good ideas come every day, and we follow them. You can see it in the joy of our employees’ faces. We are demonstrating our love in this kind of perfection.”
I am inspired by people and brands that move out of their lane to make change, and Lamborghini is doing just that. “It happens only a few times for a company,” said Bassi. “This is our soul. There is a perfect balance between growth and what’s going on inside the company. This is that special moment for Lamborghini. It has been the highlight of my life professionally.”
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