The term “customer experience” has pervaded marketing conversations for years now, and yet perhaps the most important piece of customer experience isn’t the experience, or even the customer. This is because the backbone of CX, and the face of any brand, is found in its workforce. Because of this, employee engagement is, undoubtedly, the unsung hero (the offensive line, if you will) of crafting a one-of-a-kind customer experience that keeps consumers coming back again and again.
 
Obviously, companies with the best employee engagement are also those that make decisions to benefit, well, the employees. This can be seen most easily in Silicon Valley, where the lighthearted antics of employees at tech giants Google and Facebook have become the benchmark.
 
More important than simply making an effort to engage employees, however, is how the engagement is handled. Any company can simply offer monetary incentives, but Best Western is taking the concept a step further by offering employees tuition discounts at the hotel chain’s partnered institution, the University of Phoenix. 
 
“People are the primary drivers in the service economy, and Best Western has shown an impressive commitment to helping its current and prospective employees acquire the skills needed to compete and be successful in the hospitality sector,” said Ruth Veloria, executive dean, University of Phoenix School of Business. "Our partnership is a great step toward encouraging Best Western corporate employees and the employees of the independently owned and operated hotels to pursue ongoing professional development, and gain the skills needed to continue growing with the company.”
 
In addition to reduced tuition, the program offers both corporate and frontline employees the opportunity for customized hospitality certificates that will allow advancement within the brand. This kind of engagement is the image of creating an effective company culture, and one that shows investment in its loyal workers. These team members are, in turn, empowered to provide Best Western guests with a customer experience that reflects how they feel they’re being treated on the other end of the transaction. In short, creative employee engagement leads to happy teams, and happy teams, well, lend themselves to creating very happy, loyal customers.

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