As a small business owner, you want your customers to be happy. You also want your employees to be happy. But, have you ever thought about the connection between the two?
Employee engagement and customer service
Employee engagement and customer satisfaction are extremely related. Think about it—when employees like their jobs, they do good work. Good work means better products and service, which leads to satisfied customers. For example, here at Patriot Software, the more engaged a customer support team member is, the happier our payroll services customers will be.
A positive work environment results in more satisfied customers, an easier workflow, and a larger bottom line. Plus, happy workers and customers take some of the day-to-day stress off of your shoulders. It’s a win-win-win.
Still not convinced engaged employees lead to higher customer satisfaction? The hard data is compelling:
- Businesses in the top quartile of employee engagement have 10% higher customer ratings. (Gallup State of the American Workplace)
- One study showed that customer satisfaction is directly related to employee satisfaction and that financial performance is directly related to customer satisfaction. In other words, employee engagement is indirectly linked to financial success. (Washington State University)
- Employee attitude is one of the most significant drivers of customer satisfaction. Engaged employees spread enthusiasm and are more dedicated to providing quality products and services. (Bain & Company)
As you can see, fostering an engaging work culture can have a big impact on customer impressions. The following are ways you can promote employee engagement to improve customer service.
You won’t know how well you manage employee engagement until you measure it. Regularly check in on how employees feel about their jobs and your company. Find out if they enjoy their work, have an appropriate workload, feel fairly compensated, and have conflicts with any team members.
Use surveys to learn employee opinions. To make workers feel comfortable about giving honest feedback, you could make the survey anonymous. Ask for perceptions about positions, peers, and managers.
You need to ask the right questions for the survey to be useful. One issue with employee surveys is that the questions tend to be too vague. You receive equally vague answers that don’t help you improve engagement.
Consider the department, job duties, and experience levels of your employees. Depending on these factors, employees might have different expectations. Tailor your surveys to these factors for specific answers that help you make a difference.
You need quantifiable metrics to set benchmarks, measure progress, and create goals. Use a scale of 1 to 10 on surveys so that employees can rank their experiences with a higher or lower number.
Have an open door policy at your business. Employees should be comfortable sharing concerns with you. That way, employees won’t be distracted by their own issues when providing customer service.
Encouraging leadership in your workforce is important. Engaged employees want to make differences that improve the customer experience at your business.
Inspiring leadership fosters a proactive approach to getting things done. Instead of going through the daily motions, employees find new ways to improve customer satisfaction. This keeps workers alert and makes work more interesting.
Open communication and frequent encouragement are key to making leadership a part of your business’s work culture. Leaders can create teamwork by sharing information. Make sure everyone is up to date on procedures, offerings, and events.
Don’t be afraid to let your employees make decisions. A well-trained team member who knows the ins and outs of your business can make a big impact if you let them. Chances are, your team has ideas that can improve operations and customer satisfaction.
Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. You can show your employees appreciation by rewarding success. Acknowledging achievements increases engagement, indirectly improving customer satisfaction.
Set up a system for rewarding employees. You should recognize workers equally according to their accomplishments. You don’t want to play favorites, as it could cause bad morale in the workplace. Write guidelines for rewards.
You can reward individual and team successes. A little friendly competition can be engaging and encourage employees to produce results. A collective goal can foster teamwork and help your employees work together.
There are many different ways to reward employees. For example, you could offer a raise, bonus, or time off work. You can also throw a party or company event when a goal is reached. You might bring in food or some other perk that employees enjoy.
You can publicly recognize a high-achieving employee, showing customers that you value your staff. For example, you might post the employee of the month near the front counter of your store. By recognizing employees, you boost engagement with both your workforce and customers.
One direct way you can link worker engagement to good service is to connect your employees to customers.
Talk to your staff about who your customers are. What are their needs? How much are they willing to spend? What are their interests?
The more employees know about customers, the better they can communicate. Building brand recognition with your team helps employees develop relationships with customers.
Your customers will notice your employees’ efforts to make connections. They can see employees take the time to solve their issues.
Employee engagement and customer satisfaction are closely linked. When one improves, the other often follows. Always keep customer satisfaction in the forefront of your business’s mission. And, create a strong work culture that encourages your staff to connect.