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Employee engagement can improve customer experience

Increase employee engagement to keep customers happy

You may work hard to keep your customers happy by collecting feedback at many customer touchpoints—and making improvements accordingly. But managing customer satisfaction externally is only part of the equation. What about the employees who serve your customers? How do your organization’s internal dynamics affect the overall customer experience?

Numerous studies have shown that a dissatisfied employee is unlikely to provide good customer service or pass vital customer feedback up the chain. If employees aren’t engaged with their jobs, they probably are not representing your organization well. And this can poison your customer relationships—and the overall customer experience.

In fact, employee disengagement is a bigger problem than most employers realize. One Gallup study found that 70% of American workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged with their jobs. Disengagement is a complex issue and can stem from many sources, such as an unclear career path, poor professional relationships or an unpleasant work environment.

It’s up to you to address these problems and provide employees with the morale and motivation they need to offer customers the best experience. Here’s how.

Employee engagement reflects how committed an employee is to your organization and addresses how they feel about their job, their level of motivation, involvement toward your company's success, and even their emotional commitment. Overall, it's the level of dedication and enthusiasm between employees, their team, and their work. Employee engagement is also a strong indicator of one's long-term commitment as an employee. 

Employee engagement can reflect leadership performance because management's actions directly impact employee performance. If leadership demonstrates an active engagement role, their team will likely reflect that level of commitment. Being actively engaged with your job means understanding how your role contributes to the bigger picture–which is the mission and purpose of the company.  

Suppose employees feel like their duties and responsibilities are making an active difference within their organization. In that case, they're much more likely to perform better and encourage colleagues to do the same. And the level of their enthusiasm will also show through customer experience. It's important to assess employee engagement. 

A good or undesirable level of engagement can impact employee and customer satisfaction and loyalty, performance and retention rate that ultimately relay a positive or negative customer service experience. Use this employee exit survey template if you have a high turnover rate. It may help you gain helpful information. 

It's important to have levels of employee engagement to establish a benchmark on how employees feel about their organization. They will either be highly engaged, moderately engaged, barely engaged, or disengaged. Let's take a closer look at how these engagement levels are defined:

  • Highly engaged employees: These high-performing employees go the extra mile performing the necessary duties to complete a task, even if it's not in their job description. Highly engaged employees are brand advocates with favorable opinions about their job and long-term plans to stay with their company. They also have an infectious enthusiasm that boosts work morale.
  • Moderately engaged employees: These employees have positive attitudes and perform their jobs. They're less likely to go above and beyond their roles of responsibility. However, they are dependable employees who see opportunities for improvement but will not engage because something or someone might be holding them back. 
  • Barely engaged employees: These are the employees you may be at risk of losing if they find job opportunities with another company. These employees are indifferent to their job and lack motivation because they're disconnected from the company's overall mission and purpose. Consequently, they may underperform. 
  • Disengaged employees: These employees are easy to identify because they typically demonstrate a negative outlook on their job and organization. They show a lack of interest in their responsibilities, discouraging co-workers from performing to the best of their abilities. This all results in a decline in productivity. 

It's best practice to recognize that a happy employee isn't necessarily one who's engaged with their responsibilities. Likewise, unhappy employees may want more responsibilities but are not allowed the opportunity to prove themselves. Here's a better look at how employee satisfaction, happiness, and well-being differ from employee engagement: 

  • Employee satisfaction: Employee satisfaction addresses the contentment of a worker's feelings toward their job and the organization. However, it doesn't predict the level of output of their performance. 
  • Employee happiness: Happiness is a short-term emotion that can quickly change based on rewards and recognition. However, it can't measure an employee's intentional long-term commitment toward their company.
  • Employee well-being: Well-being involves a better understanding of other aspects of an employee's life that may affect their job performance. However, it can't measure the well-being of any meaningful connection they might have with their company. 

Customer experience is a customer's impression of your business or service after they've engaged with it. It takes more than having a good product, especially if you're selling a service. The customer's experience begins when they click on your website or walk into your store. It includes how easy it is to navigate your store and find what they need through the point of purchase. However, the customer experience doesn't end there. Following up with a customer satisfaction survey is one way to let your customers know that you care about what they think and that you're listening.

Providing an exceptional customer experience is contingent on your employees' performance. Based on the levels of employee engagement, engaged employees provide better customer service because they understand the company's mission and purpose. They also understand how their position helps meet these goals that are ultimately meant to improve a customer's life, and they take pride in that. This pride is an attitude showcased to customers and can influence their perception of your brand and customer experience. 

While you may deeply understand your business, what it stands for, and how it makes a positive difference in consumers' lives, it might not be clear to your employees. The passion that motivated you to launch your business should be communicated to your employees because even with technology, it's nearly impossible to be everywhere at once. 

You can reach more people through your employees, potentially increasing your customer base and sales. Think about the type of customer service insights you could receive if every single employee genuinely adopted the same company mission, vision, and passion as you. Educating employees about your company's short and long-term goals and how their job plays a part in making that happen empowers them with a sense of purpose. That purpose mobilizes them to be more engaged with their work responsibilities, ultimately meeting customers' needs and efficiently solving any problems they might have.  

You can communicate your company goals and mission through onboarding and employee training. This approach introduces your company and is an opportunity to tell your brand story, so your employee gets a deeper understanding of the company's purpose. You can also implement awards, incentives, and celebrations to drive performance motivation and referrals. 

Enforce employee communication with company blogs and exclusive social media accounts. Company blogs allow for announcements and work-related educational information. And company social media accounts allow employees to have a closer sense of community, which is most beneficial for large companies and those working remotely from home.

Even with the best intentions and plans, it's challenging to please every consumer. People are unique, and everyone has their perceptions of what constitutes a good consumer experience. A good way to learn about those perceptions is by surveying a sample audience of consumers who are most likely to buy your products and services and asking them about their perceptions. One way you can assess this is by measuring your brand awareness and brand recognition. 

While you may be able to compete with a few companies, there's too much competition to keep up with your competitors' new product launches, services, and marketing efforts. But you can make sure that people who engage your brand walk away with a good consumer experience. And there's a way to do it without investing in any advertisements. 

Here are 3 simple ways to ensure a good consumer experience:

  1. Make customer and employee feedback a top priority
  2. Make the process of analyzing feedback into meaningful insights
  3. Turn those meaningful insights into a plan to improve customer and employee feedback.

A great way to teach employees is to think about some of your bad consumer experiences and what aspects made them unpleasant. Use those experiences as benchmarks that constitute a bad consumer experience. Here’s a list of some of the top frustrations that bring about an unpleasant consumer experience:

  • Long wait times: No one likes to wait around for long periods. Most people are at work and don't have the luxury to wait longer than 30 minutes to an hour. The faster you can address consumer needs, the better. 
  • Employees do not understand consumer needs: Some employees do just enough work to collect a paycheck. They don’t know company goals and their role, causing them to be disengaged with customers and their concerns. Empower your employees with a vision and purpose to help consumers better.
  • Unresolved questions/issues: Failing to meet customers' needs is guaranteed to give customers a bad experience. Make sure consumers walk away with satisfaction knowing you made every effort to help solve their problems. 
  • Too much automation/no human interaction or help: Technology can help streamline work processes, but it can also impart an impersonal touch that makes consumers feel ignored. Try to give consumers the option to talk to one of your representatives to feel heard. 
  • Nonpersonalized service: This approach can make consumers feel like there's no real purpose behind your company other than to take their money. This thinking can impart doubt and mistrust in your service or product, easily losing a potential customer to a competitor. 
  • Rude/disgruntled employees: Unhappy employees can scare away consumers, preventing any opportunity for repeat purchases and building a loyal customer base. 

TIP: How comfortable are your employees with their job responsibilities? Access this employee benefits survey template to find out.

But rewarding employees is only part of keeping employees engaged. Even if you hand out gift cards every quarter, that may not be enough to motivate employees. It’s a good idea to use employee engagement surveys to find out what employees think of their jobs and your organization in general. But in order to get useful responses, you need to ask the right questions. Here are some employee survey examples to get started:

Once you collect general employee feedback, you need to figure out why employees feel (or don’t feel) motivated and engaged. Ask your employees to weigh in on specific workplace issues with human resources surveys that address issues like:

  • Career development
  • Relationships with management
  • Employee benefits
  • Work environment
  • Work-life balance

And, if you do happen to lose an employee or two, make sure they fill out an employee exit survey so you can collect invaluable feedback on what may be causing employees to look elsewhere for employment.

So what do you do if you find employees aren’t motivated? Show employees you appreciate their hard work–and reward them for their efforts—by incentivizing excellent work. You can achieve this by identifying all-star employees and awarding them publicly with a desirable prize, such as a bonus or a gift card. Whether you establish regular quarterly goals or reward one-off achievements, keep your employees motivated and engaged so they’re proud of (and invested in) your organization. In turn, they’ll treat your customers with the care they deserve.

One of the most effective ways to incentivize employees to perform well is to reward them for their work. Organizing a consistent program of employee rewards will motivate them with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Here are some suggestions you can use for your company:

  • Promotions/pay increase: A salary boost can increase an employee's quality of life, improving their well-being. 
  • Increase WFH flexibility: Providing employees the option to work from home breaks up mundane day-to-day routines and allows them to multi-task personal responsibilities more flexibly. 
  • "Lazy Mondays"/Fridays off/hours worked flexibility: This approach creates a relaxed work environment that allows for community-building work relationships.
  • Instant recognition: This type of reward shows employees they are recognized for their work and are appreciated. 
  • Profit share: Profit sharing incentivizes employees to help the company succeed since they have an invested interest.
  • Tuition/fitness/etc. reimbursement: This kind of reward demonstrates to employees how much you believe in them because you're investing in the betterment of their education and well-being.

Even though employee engagement is complex and has many factors, get a head start on keeping employees happy by asking them how they feel. Because when you collect employee feedback that will direct improvements internally, your organization will shine on the outside. Improved employee satisfaction and customer service? It’s a win-win.

Improve employee engagement to improve customer experience to increase customer loyalty. Select a plan that fits your budget and start building custom surveys, or sign up to get started today.

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