While there are many ways to create positive emotions to fuel brand trust, loyalty, and referrals, customer satisfaction starts with employees first. When employees are genuinely happy, it transfers to customers regardless of industry or location in the world. I know this first hand having worked at Global companies for over 20 years and from interviewing people during my business and personal travels. There are few individuals that stand out from my recent trip as they reinforce what I always say: People make the difference and serve as a brand differentiator.
You’ve probably seen signs in restaurants, hotels, and other locations requesting customers for feedback about their experiences. It is common practice more than ever before, even in unusual places like public bathrooms. Focusing on customer experience (CX) and capturing the Voice of Customers (VOC) feedback is smart business. Yet if the execution is not done right, it is wasted effort.
Communication is a significant driver of human connections. HOW messages are delivered is as important as WHAT is shared. Talking in person is ideal. However, sometimes it is not possible given physical location and related factors. Seth Godin talks about using the appropriate medium. His words resonate with me a lot. I believe that lack of communication is the number one source of customer and employee dissatisfaction. The good news is that communication is in our control and easy to fix when issues arise.
There’s an increasing amount of conversations about both customer experience (CX) as well as diversity in the workplace, and I love it! I believe that the next generation, including my own daughter, will have more opportunities to share their voice, without judgments, and pursue jobs that they may not have in the past.
I’m writing this article for two reasons:
There’s a common phrase, “Happy Employees Bring Happy Customers.” It is so true! When people feel valued and enjoy their workplace, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to delighting customers and maximizing their satisfaction and loyalty.
So, how does a company apply this principle to achieve business growth? The following are 5 effective ways that apply to all industries:
Create a Customer-Centric Organization
A centralized customer experience organization is able to monitor the quality of the experiences they deliver.
This kind of organizational setup enables teams to take action on Voice of Customer (VOC) feedback, including structured data (i.e. surveys) and unstructured sources (i.e. social media.). It helps ensure there are clear actions and ownership in the company, plus a champion of customer-first culture at the top.
Empower Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is essential to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Collecting customer feedback is great. However, this is a wasted effort if employees don’t execute on improvement plans.
Employees have a direct impact on customer experiences. In an environment with low employee engagement, success metrics like NPS scores inevitably decline. If you think about the most successful brands, they trust their employees and routinely measure their level of job happiness.
Again, if you want to delight customers, make sure employee satisfaction is included in the overall strategy.
Train Employees on CX
Every level of the organization must be educated about the importance of customer experience and how they can make a difference! This includes front line employees, managers, and executives.
Furthermore, every employee must be held accountable for delivering customer excellence. To promote accountability, I highly recommend including CX metrics in everyone’s annual objectives. Include the ability to get bonuses when employees achieve goals, similar to other key performance indicators (KPIs). I have tested this theory throughout my career and can unequivocally say that, when CX is a shared goal among all employees (not just a few) business results are significantly better.
Emphasize the importance of humanizing customer experiences throughout your organization. This starts with meeting customer needs without over-complicating processes.
Often, small things mean the most. For instance, using simple “please” and “thank you” statements help make customers feel like they matter. It is actually the secret to Chick-fil-A’s success. Also, “eye contact and smiling go a long way in the drive-thru experience.”
When customers feel appreciated, they are more satisfied. And they are more likely to recommend brands to others. The concept is obvious. Yet, it’s surprising how often employees forget the human element when they interact with customers.
Leverage Technology The Right Way
Many companies use tools and platforms to fully understand what customers are saying across channels and touchpoints. However, they don’t always incorporate the Voice of Employee (VOE), which is a key element in building a successful customer-centric program.
Employees need to know their opinions count. When that happens, they become better performers who are more motivated to serve customers, fix their issues (“Close The Loop”), and do the right thing even when their boss isn’t looking.
If you want to drive accountability and a CX culture, focus first on employees. Then look at technology. Not the other way around.
WANT TO INCREASE YOUR CX SKILLS & TRANSFORM YOUR ORGANIZATION?
- Sign Up for my newsletter. You’ll get instant access to my free whitepaper. about how to go from a CX novice to a CX expert.
- Contact Stacy for support and mentorship.
I’m pleased to share a guest post by Annette Franz, CCXP of CX Journey. This article originally appeared on her site on April 19, 2016.
Have you put the spotlight on the employee experience at your company?
I’ve written many times about the importance of the employee experience, both on its own with regard to retention and performance and with regard to the impact of the employee experience on the customer experience.
Sadly, many companies still aren’t focusing on the employee experience. IDC’s 2015 EXPERIENCES Survey work found that 81% of companies listen to customers about their experiences, but 69.4% of companies do not measure the employee experience. Continue Reading →
Social Media is a proven, valuable tactic to increase brand awareness, product interest, and website traffic. Having managed social media campaigns for top brands over the years as well as leveraging social platforms for my blog, I can unequivocally say that social media marketing works. While the benefits of social media marketing may be common knowledge, some business leaders don’t realize and capitalize on social media as a useful source of “voice of customer” (VOC) data. Continue Reading →
I recently discussed the importance of getting Voice of the Customer (VOC) feedback and common methods, such as surveys, used to understand customer perceptions and expectations across touch points. To be effective and acquire actionable insights, survey questions must be designed following best practices. I also recommend a “test & learn” approach. Continue Reading →
Over the past year, I have written dozens of articles about VOC, otherwise known in the business world as “Voice of Customer.” I share why getting VOC is important, sources of VOC measurement, and best practices to drive company success. I am passionate about this topic because I know that Customer Experience (CX) provides a competitive advantage.
It’s not a hunch. It’s a fact! Today, however, I am writing about VOC from a different perspective. I am speaking as “Voice of Citizen.” Continue Reading →
Getting Voice of Customer (VOC) feedback is an essential part of conducting business. I’ve seen too many companies develop new products and features without directly asking customers what they want upfront. Then they wonder why they don’t attain sales goals post-launch. Continue Reading →