Creating customer loyalty requires that you first have great internal experiences. That’s right, customer loyalty first starts with creating employee loyalty.
Here are a few ways you can earn your employee’s loyalty by helping them to feel fulfilled in their jobs:
- Give them opportunities to learn and grow,
- Give them the autonomy to make good decisions within the values of your organization
- Give them recognition and rewards for their exceptional achievement.
Employee loyalty cannot be just a once a year program. You have to be LOYAL about creating loyalty. This means recognizing and engaging your employees at every touch point. Remember, every person in your organization can and does impact the customer experience and thus, customer loyalty.
Once you have earned your employee’s loyalty, next comes earning your customer’s loyalty.
At every touch point with your organization your customers judge the experience on three levels:
- How well you meet or exceed their expectations,
- How fast and flexible you are to do business with,
- How enjoyable you are to do business with.
A key to earning your customer’s trust, is delivering consistent and memorable service. When you deliver consistent service, it will give your customers the confidence that they will receive the same or better level of service, and so begins the journey of trust with you and your organization.
To earn your customer’s trust, you must be sure to be honest and open with them. Tell the truth, even when you must admit you are wrong. Honesty builds trust and leads to loyalty.
The difference between a company’s success and failure is almost always driven by customer loyalty. When you create loyalty with your customers it will make them stay longer, buy more, and positively refer others to buy from you. It is far less expensive to keep your existing customers than to acquire new ones. So be sure to focus on delighting your existing customers, and I promise, your loyal customers will grow.
To delight your existing customers, make sure that you honor your commitments, and make a personal commitment to owning your customer’s outcome. That is why employee loyalty is a critical first step in building customer loyalty. When your employees are loyal and committed to your organization, they will feel a personal commitment to assuring their customer is taken care of. For more information on how to build loyal employees first, check out How to Keep Your Employees and Attract New Ones.
One of the biggest challenges that every organization faces today is having a consistently exceptional experience across all service channels in order to grow and retain their customers. Customers service nowadays is expected to be an omni-channel experience.
With the growth of technology, customers are demanding flexible touch points more than ever, no matter which individual they are interacting with. All customers want fast, friendly, hassle-free experiences regardless of the channel or touchpoint they are dealing with.
What this means for your organization is that you must improve your service at every touch point and through every channel by proving fast, friendly, personalized, hassle-free interactions that make your customers stay longer, buy more and refer others.
Take a minute to do a quick check in of your omni-channel experience. What is your customer experience like on mobile/desktop/tablet/in store/on the phone? What obstacles are in the way of your employees proving your customers a fast, friendly hassle-free experience through each of these channels? As a leader, how can you remove those obstacles?
Here are 5 check-in points to improve your omni-channel customer experience. Ask yourself these questions for each service channel:
- Do you communicate clearly and effectively?
- Do you create personalized experiences?
- Do you honor your commitments?
- How do you deal with customer service recovery?
- Do you work to continuously improve your customer experience?
For more information on how to remove obstacles in your internal service channel so you can have exceptional external experiences read Your Customer Service is Only as Great as Your Internal Service.
The new work order has changed and people are no longer trading in job security for job loyalty. More and more research is reporting that employees want to work for an organization that is a cultural and lifestyle fit. They want to work for an organization where they feel recognized and rewarded, engaged and enabled with learning and development opportunities.
That is why it is important for leaders to really know their team beyond just the jobs they do. It’s really important to take the time to build rapport with your employees — to learn about their families, hobbies, goals and ambitions. This allows you to understand what motivates and drives them and to personalize their employee experience.
When leaders prioritize really getting to know their employees, they can acknowledge and recognize them in a personalized way, which will make them feel visible and valued. Recognition can be as simple as looking them in the eye, saying their name, and giving them an authentic, personalized “thank you”.
When you really get to know your team, you can remove obstacles that get in the way of exceptional performance. This might include seeing if there is an opportunity to better align their personal and professional lives with outdated policies and procedures such as dress code, flex-time, comp-time or remote work options.
When you take the time to learn about your employees beyond the job they do (e.g. their caring for elderly parents, having a spouse or child with health issues, etc.), accommodations for them can suddenly become opportunities for you. Because when your employees feel valued and appreciated – they will thank you with their accelerated effort, increased productivity, higher morale and positive behaviors that will improve employee-to-employee and employee-to-customer interactions.
The best part about really getting to know your employees is that you will feel good about being a leader and mentor for them by giving them the coaching, skills and competencies to be the best that they can be.
When you foster this type of culture and relationship with your employees, you will be able to give them more freedom and autonomy to make smart decisions, and support their mistakes when they happen. When you have these kind of relationships built on trust and caring, it will make you a stronger team, and a better organization for your customers.
Until recently the word ‘habit’ had a negative connotation to it. I’m sure you have heard the adage that it takes 21 days to break a habit. Well many entrepreneurs and leaders went on to turn that idea on its head and create positive habits to help in their lives and business.
In business, what is it about our habits that differentiate us from our competitors? And how can we harness the potential of positive habits to increase our productivity, personal interactions and profit?
Many books, blogs and research papers have examined the habits and routines of successful leaders, millionaires, entrepreneurs and celebrities lately. I’ve read my fair share of these books and garnered some helpful tips which I’ve summarized below.
Start with your morning routine.
Many leaders attribute their productivity, mental clarity and ability to be mindful with their colleagues and employees with taking time to check in with themselves in the morning. Whether that means waking up earlier, meditating, exercising, or other routines and habits that work for you. Take a step back and look at what you’re currently doing and where you can improve. Many people trade in solid morning habits for hitting the snooze button, but ask yourself if that is where your time is best spent (sometimes it is!) or if you could wake up an extra 30 minutes earlier to clear your mind, make a healthy breakfast, and set your daily intentions. Having these habits will start your day off in the right direction.
Listening to your colleagues is so important, but being interrupted incessantly can be extremely detrimental to productivity. Try having recurring check in times or meetings where you can knock off a list of concerns, questions and delegation all at once and save interruptions for things that are truly urgent. For you, this might mean checking email during certain windows during the day (instead of continuously), or only having meetings at certain hours. Look at what works best for you and your daily energy levels as they ebb and flow.
Make recognition a habit.
Many organizations do not make recognition a habit and wait until their annual or quarterly reviews to provide their employees with feedback and recognition. However, the best leaders recognize their employees’ day to day, moment to moment and at every touch point. Recognizing your employees and showing them appreciation for a job well done, will not only increase their motivation and discretionary energy, but it will also make you feel good in return. Both of which will increase your organization’s productivity, engagement and ultimately profits! Check out my last blog, If You’re A Leader You Better Not Suck at Recognition for more information on why recognition is critical in your organization for better engagement.
Ineffective managers wait until the end of the quarter or year-end review to recognize and celebrate their employees. Inspirational leaders have learned to catch people doing things right, moment by moment.
Inspirational leaders know that skills are what their associates want as recognition. They want skills that will make them more promotable and more marketable for the future.
Inspirational leaders recognize the desired business results. They reward valued behaviors and integrate customer success into their associates success.
The best leaders catch their people doing things right day-to-day, minute-by-minute. All the time.
When it comes to recognition and engagement, we believe that one size fits one.
It is important that rewards and recognition are personalized to meet the preferences and motivation of each individual employee.
Plus, recognizing in the moment (not just once a year or quarter) is a key factor to creating a sustainable recognition program. There are many everyday activities that take place where, as a leader, you have an opportunity to engage your employees with recognition. These moments are the turning points that either detract from engagement or enhance engagement.
Don’t pollute the winner’s circle with low performers. Be sure to recognize exceptional performance in these moments. Your employees will see this and it will motivate them to strive for excellence at every touch point with their internal colleagues and external customers.
This focus on creating employee engagement through employee recognition at every moment should not be related to good times or bad times. Recognition should be a business constant.
The bottom line is your behaviors as a leader impact engagement. As a leader, how you recognize and engage your employees will impact your business performance.
For more information about creating an employee engagement and recognition program in your organization get in touch for a 15-minute discovery call or demo of our global mobile solutions.
Change is the cornerstone of growth and all great breakthroughs in life and in business.
If you’re not changing, you’re not learning and growing. As a leader, it is crucial for you and your employees to be open and committed to always changing and growing, because it will allow you to reflect and pivot when things are not going so well, and flourish with the momentum when they are.
New York Times Best-selling author, and #1 Executive Coach Marshall Goldsmith said that leaders should commit to choosing change rather than being compliant and committed to a path that no longer serves them.
To be a great leader you must commit to choosing change and saying — I do what I do because I choose to, not because I have to.
Goldsmith says, the more committed we are to a path the harder it is to admit, that it is the wrong path. A great leader is willing to let go of projects that do not work.
Change can be scary and uncomfortable at first, but being compliant and stuck on a path that no longer works can literally suck the life out of you.
Remember, if you’re not changing it really means you’re not growing.
When have you decided to choose change and how did it serve you? Or rather, is there a time you didn’t choose to change and got stuck on a path that didn’t serve you?
I’d love to hear your personal stories — share in the comments below!
The research is in and it’s loud and clear that organizations are struggling to both keep their talent and keep their talent engaged. In fact, 51% of employees are actively looking for a new job. Plus, 91% said the last time they switched jobs, they left their employer to do so (Gallup, 2017).
This is a major problem for employers because employee turnover can cost anywhere from 30-400% of an employee’s salary (depending on their seniority and level of specialization) (TLNT, 2015).
So how can you keep your current employees happy and engaged and attract new ones?
The key is in providing them with opportunities for learning and development within your organization. Learning and development is consistently listed as one of the key drivers of employee engagement. Your talent want to learn new skills and competencies that will make them more marketable now while they are with you, and for wherever they may go in future.
When you focus on engaging your employees with learning and development opportunities (in addition to monetary and non-monetary recognition), you are building a company culture that says that you care about them as human beings, and not just profit making machines.
In order to attract new talent, the stories being told by your internal and external customers must be exceptional. Creating these exceptional stories starts by building your internal culture and engaging your employees.
There are many perks and benefits that you can implement in your organization in order to effectively engage your talent. Read more about the Top 6 Benefits and Perks to Engage your Talent here.
For more information on implementing and employee engagement program in your organization so that you can retain your employees and attract new ones, get in touch for a 15-minute demo of GES’s Organizational Engagement solutions.
Customer service is an inside-out proposition. That means, for you to create exceptional customer experiences you must first have great internal service throughout your organizations. I think it is the only way for you and your organization to be able to consistently create memorable experiences for your external customers.
The best service organizations in the world all have one thing in common, and that is that they have exceptional internal service cooperation. Gallup recently found that “Highly engaged business units achieve 10% increase in customer metrics and 20% increase in sales. Plus, when taken altogether, the behaviors of highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability” (Gallup, 2017).
That’s right, engaged employees = greater profits for you and your organization!
Here are a few ways to create exceptional internal service in your organization that will translate into customers who stay longer, buy more, and positively refer others.
Firstly, you should always stay positive and polite. Nobody wants to work with someone who brings down the team, and customers especially do not want to spend their time and money to interact with someone who is negative. When you are positive and polite with your colleagues, they will be more responsive and efficient, which results in better service for your external customers.
Be sure to honor your commitments with both your colleagues and customers. Communicate transparently about any obstacles you encounter that might delay your service. If you communicate honestly and transparently you will set their expectations and be able to over deliver on your service!
It’s also important to step out of your silo and learn about the organization and service workflow. This will help you to discover how your output can be a better input for your colleagues and customers.
Lastly, you should always look for ways to be helpful by directly or indirectly supporting a customer or co-worker. It’s easy to play the “It’s not my job” game, but when you have a servant attitude that puts your colleagues and customers first you will find much more joy in your service interactions.
An employee engagement program can also be very effective at supporting this “inside out” proposition. When you recognize exceptional internal service cooperation with both monetary and non-monetary rewards, your talent is much more likely to invest their energy and motivation in the form of exceptional service.
For more information about implementing a recognition program in your organization to accelerate your internal service cooperation, get in touch for a 15-minute demo of GES’s Engagement Solutions.