Customer satisfaction is a key concern for any company. You may think you’ve done everything possible to improve your customer experience, but there’s still that niggling feeling that you could do better, you just don’t know how... What if you took a different approach? The solution might come from one of your employees and their own experience within your company.
Engaged employees respond better to your customers’ needs
The quality of the relationship between your company and its employees is, in reality, equal to the relationship between your company and its customers. If you look after your staff, they will look after your customers. Just as a child will copy what its parents say and do, so we all have a strong tendency to mirror the behaviour of those around us. The same is true of your employees. Consciously or otherwise, the more time they spend with you and their managers, the more your employees will mirror the behaviour they see. They will then behave in this way with your customers. If one of your managers seems to be becoming less engaged with your company, the employees in their department will most likely end up doing the same.
So, before trying to come up with new ways to improve your customers’ experience, first stop and think about your employees. Each of them must understand what customer satisfaction feels like. To do this, they must first have a positive experience of your company if they are to be able to pass their satisfaction on to your customers. It’s much easier to sell something you’ve tried and liked. Not convinced? Then just ask yourself this question: would you want to sell a shampoo that dyed your hair green? Obviously not. The same is true for your employees. To be engaged, they need to have the best possible experience of your company. So, before thinking about customer satisfaction, focus first on satisfying your employees.
6 steps to engaging your employees and improving customer experience
- Listen: Get to know your employees and listen to what they have to say. Take the time to organise brainstorming sessions with them and put in place tools to gather their feedback in real time. It is without a doubt they who will be able to help you most in developing the best possible range of services, for both your employees and customers.
- Rethink your employee experience: Just as you have shaped your customer experience and thought through each of the stages they go through, so you should give some thought to a typical work day in the life of each of your employees. Employee engagement is something that is unique to each individual, so you will need to adapt your approach to different employees. To do this, try creating personas and then develop an experience that is tailored to suit each one. Consider their expectations and needs when thinking about how to improve their experience, as well as employee satisfaction in your company more generally. For example, some companies have introduced in-house “bots” that respond to routine questions employees may have, without needing input from the HR team.
- Train your managers: Each employee has a tendency to mirror their manager’s behaviour. Just as we yawn when someone near us does, so your employees will mimic their managers – for better or worse. It is therefore important to train your managers to ensure this mirroring results in smart, productive outcomes. If your managers demonstrate positive behaviours and show that they are engaged with their day-to-day work, it will be much easier for your employees to be engaged in turn and therefore better able to meet your customers’ needs.
- Give everyone responsibility: Each employee has a vital role to play within your company and must be aware of this. This means that each of your employees has certain things for which they are responsible within your company. Each individual contributes to ensuring your company operates smoothly and to improving your customer experience. It is therefore crucial that everyone is aware of this and acts accordingly.
- Make sure your strategy is clear to everyone: It is really important that each of your employees knows your company’s strategy and goals inside out. This will help them when they are speaking with customers or have to make decisions. It is much easier and more gratifying to put something into practice when you understand it.
- Assess your employees’ engagement by taking into account all the factors that influence it. For example, you can ensure that every employee has the things they need to do their work and be mindful of your relationships with your employees. If your employees feel that they are not getting enough recognition, this will impact directly on their engagement, which will in turn have direct consequences for your company’s customer satisfaction. By monitoring employee engagement using a workplace survey, you can put in place the measures needed to rectify things that aren’t working and in doing so improve both the employee and customer experience.