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The Missing Customer Experience Element: Employee Engagement
It stands to reason that happy employees make great brand ambassadors. And, great brand ambassadors attract more customers.
Those who study customer satisfaction find that, since employee engagement has a direct, positive effect on customer satisfaction, employers who take initiatives to increase the engagement of their client-facing workers are simultaneously taking steps to increase customer satisfaction[i].
Did you ever stop to think that the way you treat employees makes itself known to your customers?
In fact, according to research, every 10% increase in employee engagement drives a 5% improvement in customer service (and a 2% lift in profit)[ii]. Further, a U.S. retail study showed a positive causal link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction.[iii]
“Make no mistake, an engaged employee is a crucial element of the customer experience,” says Vidya Priya Rao, founder of Innovatus Marketers Touchpoint LLP. “When the employee experience suffers, so does the customer experience. With empowered employees, the customer engagement and experience improve.[iv]”
Turns out that a concept known as the Service-Profit Chain, outlined 20 years ago by James L. Heskett, may still hold true. You may be familiar with the term “voice of the customer,” but the Service-Profit Chain relies on the “voice of the employee.” It’s based on the concept that investing in talent, technology, and training means companies provide better customer satisfaction, which in turn results in higher profit.
This all hinges on keeping employees engaged. So, how can brands keep their employees engaged? How should they show that they care about the employee experience, in order to reap the benefits of their customer experience efforts?
“Engagement” is defined as “the emotional commitment one has to their organization and its goals.” With brands fighting to keep employees loyal, they need to consider new ways to keep them engaged.
Online communities provide a way for organizations to interact with employees and keep them engaged, wherever they may be:
- They bring far-flung teams together: An online community helps unite teams of coworkers who may be scattered across locations. Unlike traditional corporate communication platforms, communities allow employees to interact with each other in a more social setting, while providing direct feedback to the organization.
- They’re a test bed for ideas: If employees have ideas to share, a community can be a great platform to submit them for consideration. For example, in the retail industry, front-line employees can provide input about store design, merchandise selection, and general employee satisfaction.
- They’re a way to share information: Brands can share real-time company news with employees using a community, ensuring they’re the first to know of any developments before they’re shared
- They help with employee retention: An online community can be used as a “safe” place for employees to voice their frustrations and ideas on how to improve morale, company culture, and overall employee satisfaction.
- They allow for employee recognition: A community provides a great way to recognize employees for achievements both at work and in their communities. Employers can ask employees to submit “news” items to share, allowing workers to be in the spotlight for things that might otherwise go unnoticed.
These are just a few ideas of ways an online community can be used to keep employees engaged.
In the words of Richard Branson, “Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”