There are many reasons you should engage your employees, besides just money. But did you know that if you’re not engaging and recognizing your employees you could be leaving hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on the table!
By engaging your employees, not only will you be improving your internal processes, but you will create a better experience for your customers.
Internal Loss from Lack of Engagement
Lack of engagement can lead to many pitfalls in your internal service channel. Some of them include:
- Lower Productivity
- Higher Turnover
- Effect on Recruitment
- Lower Energy/Motivation
- Higher Stress Levels
- Implications for Safety/Wellness
Why is Employee Engagement Important for your Bottom Line?
As an organization, if you focus on engaging your employees and removing obstacles that get in the way of internal service cooperation, it will translate into better experiences for your customers. This will create customers that stay longer, buy more and positively refer others and that means more profit for your organization!
When you have loyal customers you have a built in base of reliable continuous profit. This can continue to grow if you exceed your customer’s expectations and provide them with personalized service. When you provide your customers with value and exceptional service they will continue to be loyal to your organization. Value for your customers is created by having competent, committed, hospitable and authentic employees that can provide fast, friendly, hassle-free service. Therefore, your employees’ engagement and motivation will result in high-quality service for your customers.
According to a recent report by OfficeVibe, “disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually” (OfficeVibe, 2017). In their roundup of employee engagement stats, they make a very compelling case for the profitability of engaging your employees (see below).
- Highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.
- Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
- Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.
- Companies with engaged employees, outperform those without by 202%.
- Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged.
What improvements have you seen in your organization from having an engagement and recognition program?
Do you feel your engaged employees have improved your customer experience?
If you’re ready to get started engaging your employees to create more profit, read more about how to Focus on Engaged Employees for Better Customer Outcomes.
In order to have your customer’s loyalty, to ensure they stay longer, buy more and tell others, you have to be responsible for their entire experience, not just the things directly in your control. That is why if you are a leader, it is so important to focus on your internal service cooperation in order to improve your customer experience. Read more about why If Your Internal Service Sucks, Your External Service is Doomed.
It is critically important for you and your organization to look for ways to own and manage the entire customer experience or you could be in jeopardy of losing your loyal customer at any touch point. Yes, this means even for things you are not responsible for.
“Service recovery means that you have an opportunity to respond and work to resolve the problem at hand to ensure the customer expectations are met.” – Peter Psichogios
Here are a few ways that will help to keep your customers as net promoters (and not turn them into net detractors):
Put their problem in context. Context involves using your diagnostic skills. The other element of context is knowing your customer. As a leader, this means giving your team autonomy to use judgement in the service recovery process.
Never be rude. There is never a reason to be rude, disrespectful or condescending to a guest. Safety, security, common respect and politeness are not mutually exclusive. Rude people leave a long, lasting impression. Always show your customer respect. Many people have difficult jobs, many people have to deal with difficult situations.
Receive feedback as a gift. Don’t argue with a customer who is giving you feedback; use it to improve. Continuously. Regardless of what type of complaint, it is critically important to first listen, never argue and then apologize.
Focus on recovery. If you get it wrong the first time, you’d better get it exceptionally right the second time. Not a lot of people complain, because typically it is such a hassle. But, when someone gives you an opportunity to recover, you’d better do it exceptionally well. Recovery means listening. Recovery means being empathetic.
Listen, listen, listen. Upset customers need to vent, so let them. When you are in service recovery, expect to have a frustrated customer who may be emotional.
If you are in customer service and you are dealing with an angry customer, they may yell at you and they may even swear at you. It is your job to listen and not be defensive so that you can understand the real issue that your customer has. And ideally, solve it!
An apology, listening and respect go a long way. In order to thrive in service recovery you must a) acknowledge b) communicate c) apologize and d) answer your customer.
Remember, each and every person inside your business impacts the customer experience, their loyalty and yes, your customer’s peace of mind. If you let somebody inside of your four walls, regardless of what department they are in, they’d better be focused on enhancing the customer experience. Create exceptional experiences for your customers at every touch point.
Each and every person in your organization has an impact on your customer experience and therefore your bottom line. Even those employees who don’t work on the front lines directly with your customers are serving your employees internally and providing them with the means necessary to perform their job.
“Customers don’t interact with an organization. They interact with you and your co-workers. It is that experience whether they buy or not, whether they become loyal customers or a lost opportunity.” – Peter Psichogios
Your Customer Service if Only as Great as Your Internal Service
It takes great internal service cooperation to provide seamless, flexible, hassle-free customer service. Whatever is happening on the inside of a company can be felt on the outside by the customers. If your talent is not fast, flexible and hassle-free with each other, how can they behave differently for your customers?
There are many ways that your internal employees might help serve your front-line employees to improve the customer experience. Leaders can serve your customers by providing front-line employees with the training, skills and competencies needed to do their best work. They can also remove obstacles that get in the way of providing the best experience to your customers.
Other internal colleagues might be involved in supporting those front-line workers with administrative work, stocking products, accounting and many other tasks that all contribute to a smooth customer experience. Read more about why if Your Internal Sucks, Your External Experience is Doomed.
Earning Customer Loyalty
Earning your customers’ loyalty starts with creating exceptional customer experiences at every touch point. The first step is having great internal service cooperation, and providing your employees with learning and development to enable them to better serve your customers as discussed above.
Earning customer loyalty is simple, but it’s not always easy. It takes dedication from your leaders, continuous effort from employees, and a commitment from your organization to align your organization on all levels.
Here are a few simple things you can do to earn your customer’s loyalty:
- · Personalize your interactions and treat each customer uniquely as they want to be treated.
- · Be authentic with every customer.
- · Be friendly!
- · Communicate clearly and effectively to set realistic expectations.
- · Exceed customer expectations every time. Always go the extra mile for your customers!
- · Honor your commitments. Follow through and do what you say you will.
- · Provide them with fast, hassle-free service.
- · Reward them with incentives to return and recommend!
It takes commitment and focus to understand that each interaction with your customers is an opportunity to create delight. But when you create exceptional experiences at every touch point, you will earn decades of loyalty.
Gone are the days where leaders can rule with an iron fist and expect their employee to respond with their loyalty and productivity. Talent nowadays feel a lot less like they owe their organizations something, when they don’t get something in return. Talent want to feel empowered and enabled to do a good job to the best of their ability. They want to feel like they have the skills and competencies to help their colleagues and customers.
Leave Your Ego at the Door
What would it look like in your organization if your leaders were egoless? Think about it, if you’re a leader who leaves their ego at the door, you’re going to have a more pleasant, less confrontational work environment. You’re going to have better, more open communication because your talent won’t be afraid to tell you about problems that get in the way of their service. You’re going to have more employee engagement because they want to serve a leader who cares about them and not just him/herself.
There are many reason why being an egoless leader will have benefits for your organization and it’s bottom line including, increased productivity, better safety, improved morale, and improved word of mouth from both your employees and customers.
How to Serve Your Way to Success
If you are truly committed to leaving your ego at the door and serving your way to success in business, there are some helpful things that will help you to get there:
Focus on your employees needs and wants. Get to know your people beyond the job they do and find out what motivates them. Do they want opportunities to learn and grow in a certain position? Provide them with development and they will be more engaged, energized and committed to your company’s success.
Recognize your employees for a job well done. This is not a one size fits all approach, and you absolutely cannot pollute the winner’s circle with losers. But recognize each individual employee for their personal contribution to your company’s success. When you do so, others will see these behaviors being recognized and will follow suit. Plus, it reinforces a positive, reward driven work environment where your employees will be acknowledged for doing good work.
Provide one-on-one coaching to see employees excel. If you give your employees personalized feedback and direction, you will be able to play upon their strengths and improve their weaknesses. It’s important to communicate openly and effectively with them so that they know what your expectations are and how they can meet and exceed them.
These are just a few ways that being an egoless leader will help you serve your way to success.
- Do you have any examples of an egoless leader in your organization? How are their interactions with employees different than other leaders?
- What are some ways that you have seen improvement in your employees by being an egoless leader?
- Do you have any guidelines you follow for being an egoless leader? Please share in the comments below!