Employee engagement is a critical component to a satisfying customer experience. Employees who believe in what they’re doing and in the company they’re serving are likely to provide better service, and lead to better relationships with customers and higher satisfaction.
Companies spend millions per year on surveys, programs, and initiatives to support employee engagement. In evaluating this expense, the focus is often on the end results and bottom-line benefits of highly engaged employees:
- Companies with high engagement see significantly lower absenteeism and turnover than those with low engagement. Those same top performers also showed 22% higher profitability and 10% higher customer ratings. (Gallup, 2012)
- 91% of highly engaged employees always or almost always try their hardest at work, compared with 67% of disengaged employees (Temkin Group)
- Engaged companies grow profits up to three times faster than their competitors. (Corporate Leadership Council)
When employees are engaged in the mission of the business and feel they are being treated well, they will put forth more discretionary effort – that is, go above and beyond, stay to finish tasks beyond the end of the workday, and invest more of their talents and energies into helping the company succeed. That investment of discretionary effort is what most employee engagement tools are measuring.
The themes of employee engagement have been the same for years: productivity and the costs of wasted labor, attracting and retaining the top talent in the industry, improving workplace morale and teamwork, and the quality of service to customers. To affect engagement, companies often focus on the benefits and perks they can provide to employees, and a workplace culture that encourages and rewards high-performing workers. It’s an inside-out look at the issue based on the assumption that employee engagement is the source point of positive business outcomes.
But the inverse is also true. Strong business outcomes lead to strong employee engagement.
Businesses charge their employees with carrying forward their vision for customer service and satisfaction, and when they succeed, that positive customer experience trickles back up to the employees, their managers, and even to senior leadership.
Customer service isn’t always easy, fun, or pleasant, but it serves a purpose. And purpose is one of the four key factors to employee engagement, according to a New York Times/Harvard Business Review survey of 12,000 employees in various industries:
Employees who derive meaning and significance from their work were more than three times as likely to stay with their organizations — the highest single impact of any variable in our survey. These employees also reported 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and they were 1.4 times more engaged at work.
A single positive interaction can make a customer’s day, and an overall satisfying experience will increase their likelihood to tell others about your company. The same applies to employees, who are more likely to describe your business as a great place to work and encourage others to apply for a position there, if they’re regularly involved in positive interactions with satisfied customers.
Serving the customer and striving to improve their experience gives employees a sense of purpose – something we can relate to at CSP, naturally. By investing in the customer experience and integrating the voice of the customer, a company can take advantage of the feedback loop between customers and employees and provide a happier, more productive workplace.