In the rush to increase customer satisfaction, many companies forget about their most valuable asset: their employees. While marketing promotions may get customers in the door, a happy employee keeps them coming back. Before rolling out the next big marketing push or advertising a sale, focus on cultivating a staff that loves coming in to work.
Disengaged Employees Cost Money and Customers
The 2012 Gallup Employee Satisfaction poll found that 18% of employees are actively disengaged in their job. This disengagement causes an estimated $500 billion in lost productivity per year. Disengaged employees don’t simply impact the bottom line, either. They also have negative interactions with customers and do not provide a positive representation of the company in public.
This is not to say that disengaged staff members are simply poor workers. In fact, most employees cite an inability to excel or learn new skills in their current positions as reasons for their disengagement. Creating a system that allows employees to cultivate new skills or make progress in the company is imperative to improving customer and employee relationships. Turning disengaged employees into engaged, satisfied employees will result in an increase in both business and customer satisfaction.
Satisfied Employees Breed Brand Loyalty
The public face of a business isn’t the CEO or marketing team, it’s the employees who are interacting with customers on a daily basis. A white paper by the Corporate Leadership Council states that 40-80% of customer satisfaction and loyalty is credited to positive interactions with employees. Companies like Zappos believe so strongly in the principle that happy employees drive a positive customer experience that they encourage employees to find another job if they’re unhappy. Zappos offers employees $2000 to quit after one month of employment.
Taking care of your employees leads to employees taking similar care of their customers. Customers appreciate and value genuine employees that want to provide excellent customer service. Employers who want to create brand loyal consumers need to have a positive, helpful workforce.
It’s Not About Perks
With Fortune 500 companies giving staff options like pet insurance, company gyms and free gourmet meals, it may feel like perks are the ideal way to attract the best and the brightest. While extravagant perks may get employees in the door, they ultimately only contribute nominally to employee satisfaction. Instead, employers should focus on the core issues within the company before branching out into additional benefits. Employees want to work for companies that have a culture that values their ideas, supports their passions and focuses on safety. Create an environment that meets these basic needs before buying that expensive nap pod.
Empower Employees to Help Customers
Empowering employees is a simple act that makes all the difference when it comes to employee engagement and customer satisfaction. Many workers cite an inability to create change in their work environment as a primary reason for dissatisfaction. Whether it’s allowing employees to comp services or override alerts, employees need to have the power to help the customer. With proper training and a culture of open communication, employees will be able to aid customers rather than feeling helpless without a higher-up.
Get Employees Excited
Google cultivated a successful program that encouraged employees to spend 80% of their time working on company projects and the remaining 20% on personal missions. This bizarre move of paying employees to follow their passions has yielded big profits for Google in the form of Gmail. Even though there are reports of the system going to the wayside, it is still a viable example of getting employees excited about working.
Employees want to take ownership and responsibility in their life and job. Allowing employees to pursue their passions and do what they do best creates a positive environment that spills over into customer service and relations. Employees that want to come to work and want to speak about their passion are able to engage customers in real relationships that benefit the business.
While companies should focus on customer satisfaction, they can’t forget about the front line employees that are driving positive relationships and company interactions. Cultivating a business environment of engaged, happy employees will benefit not only business profits, but also customer satisfaction.
This is a guest post by Ken Myers. Ken is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.
Thanks to Batara for the image.