The Link Between Customer Care and Employee Engagement
An impressive array of positive business outcomes are correlated to high employee engagement, not the least of which is improved customer care. It doesn’t matter what economic climate you’re in, customer care can make or break a company. Senior analyst at Forrester Research, Megan Burns said:
“The experience that individuals have with a company and then what they hear from friends and family influence their perception of and likelihood to do business with a company. It’s absolutely an essential moment of truth for companies.”
Leaders using employee engagement to improve their customer experience is a relatively new tool, but companies like Zappos, Marriott and Southwest Airlines have set some pretty awesome examples. Each of theses uber-successful companies has made the slogan, “Happy customers start with happy employees”, a standard in business leadership today. Here’s how they did it:
These companies took the golden rule of business and threw it right out the window. They realized that when the customer always comes first, they couldn’t give their employees the proper support and value that they need to become engaged in their work.
When employees have a reason to want to come to work, they will become invested in the satisfaction of their customers. The most powerful way to ensure that customers get a great experience, is to continually give those helping them a great experience.
Hire with Cultural Fit in Mind
The company culture is based off of the established values of the organization. So it’s no surprise that companies leading the way in customer satisfaction have established great customer care as one of their core company values. These values are then used for everything from decision making to hiring. Talent management software specialist, Kimber Crumlish, said:
It’s nice to have values that you could put on a billboard –the ones that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. However, are they the values that are going to help you hit your numbers this quarter, attract talent and keep your existing talent? The right set of values should be that beautiful combination of awesome brand meets performance machine.
Foster Career Growth and Opportunities
According to a Careerbuilder survey, 35 percent of employees polled cited “Increased training and learning opportunities” as one of the top ways that employers can reduce voluntary turnover. Top HR analyst, Josh Bersin, revealed that turnover rates of 30-40 percent are common and even accepted in the customer service industry.
Given the obvious and increasingly common correlation between disengagement and high turnover, the solution is pretty mapped out here. If organizations want the type of engaged employees whom they know will provide great customer care, they will need to offer learning and development opportunities at every level of the organization. This strong correlation could also be a leading factor in the nearly 25 percent increase in corporate training spending that we’ve seen in the span of just five years.
Engagement should start during the hiring process, yet many organizations put off engagement efforts until it is way too late. Onboarding is the organization’s chance to mold their relationship with each worker from its earliest stage. This is the time that impressions are made and standards are set. If great customer care is a standard, it needs to be clearly defined and established right off the bat.
Organizations that have finally realized that if they take good care of their employees, they will take good care of their customers, are the ones leading the pack in today’s economy. Not only does this new engagement model foster the type of discretionary action that creates a great customer experience, it builds and fortifies a stellar employee brand that will keep the employee-centric culture going strong.