We see businesses all around us putting a lot of effort in becoming customer centric. Investing in loyalty programs, building user-friendly customer interfaces, working on unique (in-store) experiences… However, in all these transformation programs, one major key to customer success is often forgotten: your employees.
Businesses do not innovate or service, people do! Your employees are the ones servicing your customers. From sales to logistics, everyone is responsible for their own little part in the overall customer journey. How your employees perform on a daily basis, directly affects your customer experience. The more engaged employees are, the more happy they will be to deliver a good experience to customers.
Happy employees make happy customers!
- People thrive on positive feedback;
- Various studies show there is a positive correlation between customer satisfaction and employee engagement (one example is the US study below);
- Research shows the large majority of customer feedback (e.g. NPS data) is people-related;
- A recent study of Harvard Business Review indicates moving forward brand value will continue to decline and customer relationships will grow in importance;
Engagement can never be bought, it must be earned.
Our experience in various sectors shows that extrinsic drivers such as wage and engagement initiatives (e.g. newsletters, Townhall sessions, employee events, …) have a mere marginal effect on employee engagement and advocacy. Long-term effects on engagement comes from intrinsic drivers. ‘What’s binding us within this company?’ ‘Why do we get up every morning?’ As Simon Sinek (a famous and respected British/American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant) states you cannot engage employees without a clear and inspiring purpose. Everything starts with WHY.
Make your purpose stick
Every engagement program should focus on bringing people together around a common and clear purpose. Once you purpose is clearly defined, you must communicate and repeat it consistently at any company level. Make the story stick.
Walk the talk
But that’s not all, in order to truly bring your purpose to life, you will have to act upon on. That’s when leadership, culture and respect come in. Research shows a very strong correlation between these three aspects and the overall employee engagement within a company. A company’s employee engagement is statistically higher when:
- Employees share a positive view on the company’s culture,
- Employees have respect for the leadership team,
- Employees feel respected and believe employee engagement truly matters to executives (not only short term financial results).
Companies with leaders who make the above aspects a priority will thrive in the long run, benefitting from engaged employees who advocate their brand to customers and their personal network. But that’s not all. More engaged employees also positively impact productivity and service delivery, which upon turn has a positive impact on the company’s profit and growth.
I am sure, by now, you are convinced engaging your employees is the key to long term success. But setting up the right engagement program is not easy.