If you run a business, no matter what kind it may be, customer satisfaction is fairly likely to be something that keeps you up at night.
Back in the day when there was only one corner store in every town selling everything from lentils and liquorice to men’s undies and home-made ginger beer, customer service was not all that important - them folks could wait for you to open your store when you were good and ready, and if you happen to run out of chewing tobacco in the middle of rodeo week, well they just had to wait for some, didn’t they **tumbleweed rolls down the street, salon door clatters**.
All elaborate Western similes aside, there was a time when the marketplace was not as crowded as it is today...
However, things have changed. A lot. There are more than 550 000 companies registered in South Africa alone, and that’s not even counting exempt micro-enterprises that aren’t required to register their enterprises. Nor does it take purely online businesses into account.
Suffice it to say, no matter which industry you find yourself in, there is plenty of competition out there.
Happily, there are ways and means to stay ahead of the curve, and taking care of customer satisfaction is a surefire way to bolster your business’ bottomline. Satisfied customers become return customers and they also serve as fantastic human-shaped billboards by telling their friends and family about your product or service. Gotta love a bit of word of mouth!
According to global statistics, companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%.
So if you haven’t looked into this connection yet, it’s definitely time to do so. Here are a few important things you need to realise about the correlation between customer satisfaction and employee engagement, as well as three ways to optimise and track this golden thread of amazingness:
1. Happy workers do great work
Yes, this is fairly simple, but sometimes it’s necessary to state the obvious. Don’t worry, there are some scientific stats that back this up, so it’s not just an opinion we’re pulling from thin air (or The Common Sense Handbook). However, the fact of the matter is that when someone is well-positioned in their job and have the right aptitude for what they’re doing in a happy, supportive space where they have all the tools they require to get the job done, they are almost always going to provide customers with great service.
2. Happy customers drive employee engagement
Ah, the plot thickens! You see, this whole happy worker = happy customer thing is a two-way street. Positive customer feedback reinforces how employees feel about the value and purpose of their work, and it motivates them to repeat the behaviour that led to it.
How’s that for a win-win?
3. It’s not just about the front-of-house team
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that only your customer-facing personnel need to be shiny and happy. However, this is not true. True engagement is a result of a positive company culture that permeates all levels of an organisation.
As such, it’s important to look at employee engagement from a holistic point of view if you wish to reap the benefits of increased customer satisfaction.
3 Ways to track and optimise this connection:
1. Track your net promoter score (NPS)
The Net Promoter Score is a customer loyalty metric developed in 2003 by management consultant Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company in collaboration with the company Satmetrix. The objective was to determine a clear and easily interpretable customer satisfaction score which can be compared over time or between different industries. Here’s how to use it.
2. Get to grips with employee satisfaction surveys
Once you know how your customers feel about your company, it’s time to take a look at the other side of the coin - check in with your employees about how they feel. There are many ways to do so; the most popular option at the moment seems to be regular pulse surveys that provide feedback on particular hot-button issues as it arises.
3. Ask your employees for input
Also a bit obvious, but yes, asking your employees to point out issues hampering optimal employee engagement is a simple way to find fixes for recurring issues within your company. Adopt an open-door policy and welcome any feedback you get in this regard. Not everything may be equally simple to implement, but the key lies in opening up the lines of communication.
Just in case you were skim-reading through this article to find the most essential points on improving customer satisfaction to boost business outcomes, here you go - we have it all summarised for you!
The connection between employee engagement and customer satisfaction is based on:
- Happy employees that are well-positioned in their jobs provide great service that generates repeat customers and great word of mouth.
- The positive feedback from happy customers is a major employee engagement driver.
- A holistic approach to a positive company culture that boosts employee engagement (no quick fixes, sorry!).
You can track and optimise this correlation by:
- Tracking your NPS (net promoter score).
- Quantifying employee satisfaction at your company.
- Opening the floor to your employees for input.
There you have it - all the ammo you needed to convince all the naysayers that happy workers = happy customers (so obvious when you think about it!).
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