How Employees Can Make or Break the Customer Experience
[This article was written by Brooke Cade.]
For the second year in a row, customer satisfaction is reported to be a top measure of marketing success, even above revenue growth and customer acquisition. Within any business organization, customer satisfaction is primarily considered the domain of the customer service team. However, the most successful companies know that customer satisfaction begins with engaged employees.
Here is what employees need in order to feel fully engaged, what your customers want in their experiences, and how putting the two together equals business success.
Employee engagement is more than just having “happy” employees; it’s having employees who possess a heightened level of ownership over and accountability in each of your customers’ experiences.
So how do you get fully engaged employees? True engagement takes much more than a timely pay raise. What employees truly value in their job is security, understanding, and recognition.
- Security: Employees cannot fully engage if they feel like their position is insecure. When employees feel comfortable with their job security, they extend their roots. They gain confidence in their position, which leads them to take the effort to expand valuable expertise in their role. Providing goals to employees can help them feel secure in their position, because they have expectations for the future. If you set monthly, quarterly, and even yearly goals, that helps them feel like you’re planning on having them around.
- Understanding: One of the best ways to understand your employees is by providing various feedback options for them to share what it is they want to say. With privacy controls in place and without fear of repercussion, your employees will give you important insights into what works for them in their job and what doesn’t. Feedback is vital for employee engagement, because it shows them that you value their work and are committed to helping them improve.
- Recognition: Appreciation for work well done is a fundamental human need. When an employee feels valued for their contribution, job satisfaction rises as well as productivity. Employees are more motivated to create positive interactions with customers when they know that their efforts will be noticed. When you consider the surprising statistic that public recognition is 7% more valued by employees than financial bonuses, you can begin to see the power of recognition as a motivational tool.
These three values work together to give employees a reason to work hard, stay on top of their game, and pay it forward when dealing with their customers.
The customers of today are not the customers of ten years ago. Expectations have changed drastically over this last decade. What customers want (and have come to expect) are more personalization, more options, more communication, and more control. They want their online experience to blend seamlessly with their in-person interactions with your brand–and they’re not afraid to voice their frustrations in reviews and on social media.
More personalization includes one-on-one contact with a real person in addition to online support services. Customers appreciate being called by name and value a service that can remember their preferences or at least cares about them. They need to be treated as the valuable assets they are.
More options for contacting and interacting with your company is at the top of your customers’ wish list. Leading busy lives, customers need to be able to contact you in some way during off-peak hours.
More experiences that are memorable and sharable. Opening a box they got in a mail, tracking a package, browsing your online store, requesting help through a chat box, signing up for your email list–all of these normal business interactions can be transformed into experiences that delight your customers.
More control on the part of customer service reps to fix any issue. Customers want every question, request, or concern to be deftly handled by their first contact person, not some mysterious “supervisor.”
If you’re looking for true business success, you’ll be wise to look straight to your employees. Their role in determining the outcome of your customer experiences can’t be underestimated. In turn, these customer experiences hold much power to overall business prosperity.
The Bottom Line: Engaged employees remain loyal to you, take better care of your customers, and, ultimately, have the capacity to drastically increase revenue. By helping your employees to be more engaged with their jobs, you’ll improve virtually every area of your business.
Brooke Cade is a freelance writer who’s committed to helping businesses and sales professionals build stronger connections with their customers. She writes for multiple publications including InMoment. In her spare time, she enjoys learning more about CX, reading, and engaging on Twitter.