Satisfied staff equals satisfied customers equals business growth

There has been extensive research over the years that sets out to prove that improving employee satisfaction impacts directly on organisational performance and, ultimately, organisational success. It's certainly true that satisfied staff are likely to result in a satisfied customer base, and satisfied customers directly impact on the bottom line.  

If employees believe that they are and will be supported by the employer, especially  their line manager, in getting what they want out of work, beyond just money, they will respond with positive behaviour – high employee engagement levels. Specific employee engagement practices include:

  • Shared decision-making
  • The opportunity for all people to influence the planning process
  • A robust approach to communicating
  • An open flow of information
  • The development of effective leaders and managers

What’s the impact of Employee Engagement on the bottom line?

Past research has thrown up many different finding in terms of putting the impact of employee engagement into figures. Aon Hewitt’s 2014 Engagement Report examined the link between engagement and its impact on a business’ bottom line, finding that organisations in the top quartile for engagement, where more than 70% of employees are engaged, saw a 4% increase in sales growth compared to an average company. By contrast, sales growth in bottom quartile engagement companies was down 1%.

In  a recent article for Forbes, Kevin Kruse points out the argument that “Maybe employees are just more engaged when their companies are growing, bonuses are big, and stock prices are climbing.”. However, this viewpoint has been investigated in a research paper by Silvan Winkler, Cornelius König and Martin Kleinmann.  New insights into an old debate: Investigating the temporal sequence of commitment and performance at the business unit level  looked at the organisational commitment of 755 retail bank employees from 2005—2008, along with financial performance and customer satisfaction of the business units they worked in. The study provides insight into the relationship between job attitude and job performance, finding that while the impact of business performance on attitudes diminishes after 1 year, the impact of employee attitudes on business performance lasts much longer, in fact up to 3 years.

Organisations that place effective employee engagement at the heart of their business strategy will be rewarded with greater levels of innovation; increased commitment from employees; improved customer satisfaction and, ultimately, better productivity that will help gain competitive advantage. It does not require complex or expensive investment in new ways of working but it does need wholehearted support from senior managers through their leadership and strategic vision, and the active buy-in of effective line managers.

INSPIRING Business Performance provides valuable, practical advice for organisations who want to improve employee engagement or look more generally at achieving performance improvements.

 

Happiness Hacks for Customer Satisfaction

As a business, customer satisfaction is of the utmost priority. From the first initial interaction alone a customer will form an opinion of your business, and decide whether or not they will become a repeat customer. If you think your company could benefit from refining your customer satisfaction methods, here are some hacks to help.

One on One

One of the top problems that customers face is the never-ending chain of being passed along to the next employee. This could be because the employee requires their manager for the next step, or simply feels the situation would be better handled by a different member of the team. This is frustrating to the customer as it provides a ‘passing the baton’ notion, making the feel as though their issue or purchase is not important to the business.

The ideal way to combat this is to assign a customer to a specific employee, as well as training all employees to be able to handle most customer scenarios. This way, if the customer has an issue with a previous purchase, or indeed anything at all, the employee assigned to the customer has all the relevant information and knowledge needed to help the customer. This provides the customer with a personalised service which actually goes a long way and is likely to acquire more return customers. Training your employees to handle most customer situations also gives your employees a sense of empowerment and capability.

Data focused

It can be very easily forgotten with the information highway that is the internet, but collecting data is a step towards customer satisfaction. By collecting and saving the data you learn about individual customers into a client file, you are providing your team – or even yourself – with knowledge that can form a strong connection between yourself and the customer.

Small personal facts such as their birthday, their children or pets’ names can be useful without being intrusive. This demonstrates to customers that your business conducts a personal service, and ultimately values their customers. Something to remember however is that, due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), any data you have regarding your customers must stay private and you must be able to provide that data to your customer if they request to view it at any time.

Personalise

In an increasingly faceless world, customers are hard pressed to find businesses they can trust. Customers can often feel like they are out of their depth or undervalued when trying to do business with bigger corporate companies. The preferred method to avoid this is for employees of your business to create a professional relationship with personal aspects. An example of this is for every purchase or service used by a customer, they are sent a personal card to say thank you.

This can seem time consuming and ineffective, however, customers are appreciative of personalised service such as small thank you notes. This is because it shows that an employee has taken time (even if it is 60 seconds) to engage with a customer. Small personal acts such as sending a customer a small note or even an email to say happy birthday – which can be recorded in their client information, are huge impacts on customers and often encourage return customers.

Make a Change

Getting customers to fill out a feedback survey, or indeed most surveys, can be a bit of a challenge. However, despite receiving responses, more often than not businesses do not utilize the free data and suggestions that they are receiving from customers who are filling out their surveys.

More likely than not, the suggestions that you receive from new and existing customers alike can ultimately change aspects of your company for the better. Whether it’s a simple suggestion that could change virtually nothing in your day to day running as a business or implementing a huge change that will improve the running of your company, customers recognise when their suggestions get taken on board and can make them and their views feel valued.