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Topic(s): Customer Centricity Customer Engagement Employee Engagement

Happy employees make happy customers

Many companies work hard on loyalty programs, company restructuring, and more expensive changes in order to achieve customer delight. But what they seem to forget, is that creating a real customer experience starts with your greatest treasure of all: your people!

It's not difficult to recognize the link between customer happiness and financial performance. This is especially true if your staff have a lot of customer interaction. In fact, staff satisfaction is linked to employee efficiency, creativity, and production. This has the same effect on customers as well, which means the happier your employees are, the happier your customers will be.

It's all about your people

Imagine entering your favorite clothing store. It's completely renovated, a brand new concept in place. Today is the big opening. The store looks great, fabulous even!

As you walk in you greet the girl who's folding shirts, but you get no response. That felt a little awkward. When you start wandering around, finding something nice to wear another staff member is next to you.  After first ignoring you, you see her rolling her eyes at something you're wearing –you think.  Now it's really starting to feel uncomfortable being in this amazing store.

Well, this perfectly illustrates how easy it is to destroy customer experience and ruin the chances of your customers ever coming back.

It's impossible to achieve sustainable success without engaged staff. Great employee experience is the foundation for great customer experiences. The happier your people are, the more likely they are to deliver the right experience to your customers, and the more willing they are to really go the extra mile!

Delivering customer experience is everyone's concern

Everyone in your organization has a role to play in optimizing customer experience, not just the people with a customer-facing job. It's a common mistake to assume that only the people who have contact with your customers are the only ones who should have a customer-centric mindset.

As a matter of fact, delivering great customer experience is everywhere in your process. From the design of your products, straight to assembly & installation and ending at marketing, billing, and repair. Every division within your company has one goal: creating a product or a service that delights your customer.

Your customers should experience the exact same service in every phase of the customer journey. A journey that doesn't stop after purchase!

Give your people something to smile about

If you want your employees to give service with a smile, you first need to give them something to smile about. It's your people that make your company's promises come true. If they get the feeling they can really help and that they're allowed to make decisions on their own, they'll be over the moon.

Here are some practical tips on how you can make your staff more engaged toward your brand and your customers.

1. Communicate

Listen to your people and act on what they have to say. Try to understand what do they enjoy and disapprove of? What are the most important changes they wish to see? What do they think of your objectives? Give them the chance to provide feedback, and make it clear that negative criticism is also welcomed and plays an important part in improving things—with no repercussions!

You can conduct satisfaction surveys and share with them the results. Make sure you take actions to improve the current status quo based on their feedback.

2. Make sure you have a mission

Your people want to take pride in their work. A mission will fuel the persistent motivation to do a great job. It's important to set the right achievable goals. Inform your team about the consequences when they're neglecting their work and about the result when they're doing a great job. Stress out to them that their work impacts the company's mission.

3. Trust is a two-way street

If you show your people you respect and trust them, they'll feel more appreciated. This will result in confident, engaged employees who are a reflection of a confident, engaged company. And the best part? Your customers will notice that!

4. Support new ideas

Giving your people a chance to come up with new ideas or solutions works motivating.  This can start with small things, for example when you're planning a teambuilding. Create a shared document where employees can post their ideas. If they feel appreciated to share ideas for events within the company, they'll feel more confident giving suggestions for business decisions.

These four tips are only the beginning. Keep in mind that you can't have great customer experience without a great employee experience.

To sum it up

The bottom line is that when customers are satisfied, your business grows. And this gives your company a stronger market position. But at the end of the day, it's all down to your employees, which is why it's important to keep them happy and satisfied. As it turns out, investing in employee satisfaction and building an inclusive and positive company culture not only makes employees happier. It also brings in new talent and ripples out beyond the walls of the company to the customer experience.