You want your customers to have the best experience with your company so that they keep coming back.
But what if they don’t have a good experience at all, and what might the reason be for that particular experience?
Well, believe it or not, your customer experience is directly linked to how engaged your employees are.
Adam Hale, CEO of Sage People, says “organisations invest millions in building their customer engagement strategies, but rarely know much about their employees.”
Have you ever thought about what your internal experience might look like to your employees?
If they’re not enjoying the work that they do, it’s likely that this could be rubbing off on your customers’ experiences too.
Employees drive your whole company experience
What some companies don’t realise is that there is a surprising link between the customer experience and engaged employees.
Your employees really are the heart of your business. And they can make or break it.
Customers can have loud voices and any bad interaction with your company could result in the tarnishing of your brand. Social media hasn’t made that any easier either, enabling public feedback at our fingertips.
Luckily, the same could happen with good interactions. Wouldn’t you want a good interaction to go viral and public?
The fact is, many companies spend a lot of time and energy trying to deliver the best customer experience, but really, the best way to nurture the customer relationship is to nurture your employee relationships first.
This is where HR can play an important role in being the mediator between employee engagement and customer experience, through training, hiring and ensuring employee needs are met.
Happy employees = happy customers
A person’s energy is usually contagious.
Picture this. A happy person is smiling and skipping down the street. It’s likely that you won’t be able to help but smile too. Good energy has a ripple effect on those that are surrounded by it.
The same goes for your customer experience. If your employees are engaged and love what they do, it will come through in the way that they present themselves to customers. Your customers want to have a good time and want to enjoy what your company provides, but it’s always about the experience they have with your company.
And unfortunately, one bad experience (or one bad experience with an employee) could result in losing that customer permanently.
You need your employees to deliver good, happy experiences every time. And you need them because if it wasn’t for your employees, you wouldn't be able to provide any kind of customer experience at all. But it works both ways – if your employees aren’t engaged and happy at work, they won’t provide a great experience for your customers.
Take Virgin for example, the company believes that staff come first, and if you learn to look after your staff properly, the rest will follow. “If you treat your staff well, they will be happy. Happy staff are proud staff. And proud staff deliver excellent customer service, which drives business success.” Isn’t that true?
If there is any sort of disconnect between how a company treats employees and how employees are expected to treat customers, there is discontent that will not benefit anyone.
So, if you want to create an incredible customer experience and engage with your customers, you’ll first need to focus on engaging your own employees to create a happy, internal workplace.
Work on engagement and training
A good place to start when building an engaged workforce is to always hire the right people in the first place. What natural energy and personality does the person you are interviewing have? And what kind of personal qualities do they need to do the job best?
Engagement naturally occurs when employees feel good which could be fuelled by passion, meaningful work or identifying with the values of an organisation. Therefore, when you’ve got the right people, it’s easier to create an engaged workforce, as they are more likely to be aligned to the company and/or position already.
You can identify a disengaged employee by analysing their personal and professional enthusiasm, amount of sick days and productivity levels.
So, where do you start when creating a company full of engaged employees? Well, here are 20 tips and tricks to boost engagement to start with. And a recognition programme is a great way to see engagement levels rise quickly – just visit the bottom of this page to learn how to create one.
Then comes the training.
Your employees need to know what defines a ‘good customer experience’ at your company. This way, there is a standard that needs to be met. Once the good customer experience is defined, you’ll need to train up the staff to be able to deliver that standard.
It’s important that you train and educate all new employees with real-life scenarios of customer relationships to prepare them for any interactions they might have.
The link between customer experience and employee engagement is a never-ending loop, as satisfied customers also play a role in employee engagement.
Once your customers are satisfied and happy, it has a knock on effect towards your employees. Job satisfaction increases when employees know they’re doing a good job, and it will keep them engaged to carry on satisfying customers.
It’s really a win-win situation.
Everyone knows that Starbucks is known for writing names on their drinking cups and calling out the names when it’s ready. It’s a tactic that creates a more personalised experience for customers and a connection between the customer and the barista. Well, one Starbucks employee went above and beyond for a regular deaf customer. He took it upon himself to learn the customer’s name in sign language. His reason being that he wanted this customer to have the same experience that every other customer had. And boy did he get the recognition he deserved. The customer posted it on his Facebook feed and in a couple weeks, the story was circulating the Internet.
So, to sum up, you should always look after your employees first, and they’ll look after your company.
Want to launch an employee recognition program that your employees will love? Click on the image below and download a FREE copy of our latest ebook to find out how!