It’s no secret that engaged employees deliver consistently better customer service. A recent Gallup Survey on the State of the Global Workplace, however, found that only 13 percent of workers consider themselves engaged in the workplace and willing to foster the meaningful relationship customers want.
Unfortunately for businesses, superior customer experiences are highly beneficial for their bottom line: Higher customer retention rates and better word-of-mouth advertising are just two of the reasons why.
What it boils down to is this: Businesses hoping to boost their customers’ experiences should start at the source by engaging their employees.
Fact: Employees Drive the Customer Experience
Forbes writes that, “[employee] engagement correlates to decreases in absenteeism, turnover,
accidents, and defects, while it also correlates to increased customer service, productivity, sales, and profits.” The article suggests that the emotional connection an employee has to their organization and its goals will result in better service, greater customer satisfaction, and increased customer loyalty.
OneReach published a report that found industry influencers agree employees are at the heart of customer service. A quarter of respondents believe that concentrating on the employee experience is the best way to improve the customer experience.
The impact of employee engagement on customer satisfaction is undeniable: Organizations that have more than 50 percent employee engagement retain more than 80 percent of their customers.
The Question Is: What’s the Best Way to Engage Employees?
Effective companies are choosing to focus on employee engagement because engaged employees are willing to go “the extra mile, work with a passion, and feel a profound connection to their company,” says Gallup. In other words, engaged employees are the ones who make a difference in the customer experience.
So, how do leaders successfully engage their employees?
Frequent Feedback and Recognition
Frequent reviews are important for employee engagement. According to Jon McClellan, Employee Recognition Segment Director at Hallmark Business Connections, it’s important to communicate, not criticize, during feedback sessions. Be constructive and give suggestions for improvement.
Effective feedback also includes career development opportunities. Leaders will engage their
employees better if they have an invested interest in their progression. Switch and Shift suggests creating a leadership development program that helps employees build their career.
In addition to verbal recognition, businesses can recognize their employees’ achievements with recognition awards. It’s a good idea to personalize the incentives with a sincere message thanking employees for a job well done. Even simple rewards can create a culture of effective and meaningful recognition and boost employee engagement.
Communicate Company Values
Leaders that effectively communicate the values of the organization will see more engaged employees. Frequent internal communication should “emphasize distinctiveness and value of what the company stands for,” according to Lift PhD. Leaders can go one step further and challenge employees to put the company values into action.
It’s important for employees to understand the “why” behind their position and how their work will contribute to company goals. The most effective way to communicate company direction is to foster a two-way dialogue so that employees have the chance to provide their own insight and feedback.
Create a Collaborative Culture
A SHRM survey shows the relationship between co-workers is more important than the relationship between employees and supervisors for engagement. Therefore, collaboration is correlated to employee engagement.
Leaders should foster and encourage teamwork between individual employees to ensure that everyone is working at their full potential.
Engaged employees drive excellent customer experiences, plain and simple. Businesses hoping to boost their customer service should start by engaging their employees in their positions. If companies focus on these key areas, they will see higher levels of satisfaction, retention, and engagement with their employees – and their customer base.
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