Published by Eric Gregg - 12/10/21

3 Reasons Why DEI Should Be a Part of Your Client Experience Strategy

Here at ClearlyRated, our primary purpose is to help business service firms maximize and differentiate on the client experience (CX). So when we launched our employee satisfaction survey that helps those same firms measure the employee experience as well as their performance on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), we fielded some understandable questions about how DEI and CX relate. In this blog post, I’ll clarify the way that these two concepts are inextricably linked, as well as three compelling reasons why DEI can, and should, be part of your client experience strategy. 

Employee Experience: The Link Between DEI and CX

For business service firms, the members of your internal team are the lifeblood of your clients’ experiences. That means the experience that your employees have working at your firm is inextricably linked to the experience that they, in turn, deliver to your clients—and research demonstrates that how your firm invests in diversity, equity, and inclusion plays a major role in employee experience and engagement. For example, a Glassdoor survey found that 67% of people consider diversity an important factor when deciding where to work. And a study by Deloitte University found that Millennials who feel that they’re working for a company that fosters an inclusive culture are 38% more likely to be actively engaged than those who do not.

Beyond how your employees feel about working at your firm, DEI can have an outsized impact on how clients experience working with you as well. Below are three reasons why DEI should be a part of your client experience strategy. 

3 Reasons to Align DEI with CX
  1. The “trickle down” effect.
    DEI requires attentive listening. This skill must be developed to ensure that everyone’s individual perspectives and needs are not only heard, but addressed, by their team and organization. While this attunement can be trained individually, it can also be taught company-wide, expanding into an interpersonal philosophy that’s infused into every interaction your firm has with internal stakeholders and clients alike. This attunement towards the unique, individual needs of a team member can trickle down to interactions that your team has with clients, providing the foundation for an unmatched, personalized service experience that will boost retention and reputation.
  2. Authenticity deepens relationships.
    One of the many goals of DEI is to help employees feel safe in bringing their authentic selves to work, which can directly impact the client experience. Think about it… clients don’t hire a firm, they hire a person or a team that they trust to get things done. And once they’re working with your firm, those same clients will continue to show up for employees that they have authentic connections with. When employees feel like they can be their authentic selves, they show up that way with clients, developing an even deeper relationship and fueling opportunities for account expansion and growth.
  3. Building a culture of excellence.
    We’ve already established that DEI efforts directly impact recruitment and retention outcomes (look back at the section on Employee Experience: The Link Between DEI and CX to review those statistics). And because we know that clients think about working with a person or a team more than they think about working with a brand or a firm, your ability to retain top talent is a mission-critical aspect of the client experience.

    But let’s take a moment to think beyond recruitment and retention, to zoom out to a longer time scale and think about culture-building. DEI plays a critical role in creating a work environment that not only invites your team to bring their authentic selves to work, it also provides the foundation for a remarkable culture where team members are inspired to deliver their best work, not just to your firm but to the clients they serve.

    We would expect to see the cumulative effect of a culture of excellence driving remarkable client experience outcomes in revenue and financial reporting. Fortunately for us there is some really compelling research that demonstrates the link between DEI and revenue outcomes. For example, Gartner predicts that by 2022, 75% of organizations with front-line decision-making teams that have diverse talent and embrace inclusive strategies will exceed financial targets. And McKinsey & Company reports that companies in the top quartile for gender, racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. 

I hope this article has provided some new perspective on how, and why, DEI plays a significant role in your firm’s client experience strategy. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my team to further discuss how DEI can be woven in to your CX initiative, or to learn more about how our employee survey helps business service firms measure DEI outcomes. 

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