The way you make your clients feel is your brand.
Client feeling = product/service + customer service.
The trouble is, we’re taught to focus almost exclusively on the first offering – product/service – and treat customer service as an afterthought. Another of the big issues companies face is the common advice around improving customer service, which treats it like an isolated concept, when really, it starts in-house, with employees.
Improving Customer Satisfaction via Employee Engagement
A business with disengaged employees might put out a high-budget training program to teach their team how to encourage loyalty in the clientele, with very poor results, whereas a company who focuses on engaging their employees will cultivate a team who are naturally keen to learn the little details about customers that leave a lasting impression.
Top ways of engaging employees that have a direct effect on your customer satisfaction:
- Constantly communicating company values
- Encouraging & responding to employee feedback
- Being open & transparent
Company Values > Employee Behaviour > Customer Satisfaction
Your company values are delivered to the world (your current clients, your potential future customers & your competitors included) by your employees. But this delivery service is less like posting a letter and a bit more like transferring a shape from one surface to another using tracing paper – a lot can be lost in translation.
Many businesses make the mistake of hammering into their employees a list of values to learn by rote when the most effective way of communicating your company values is by leading by example.
Creating initiatives within the business to constantly align practices with values will help you get your message across to customers. The next step is making sure your initiatives are having the desired effect…
Employee Feedback + Customer Feedback = Customer Satisfaction
Customer feedback can indicate problems in two areas: with your product/service, and with your team. But solving difficulties with your team using customer feedback as a roadmap just adds extra layers of confusion – which is why you need employee feedback to get to the route of problems that are manifesting elsewhere in the business.
Employee feedback allows you to:
- Show your employees you care as much about them as you do your clients – this care is then passed onto your customers through your team
- See how aligned your employees feel to the company values – use this info to tailor initiatives (& create new ones) to better communicate values
- Discover barriers preventing your employees from giving customers the best experience – do they need better equipment or more training on a certain subject, are they too stressed over the latest project to sound cheery on the phone?
Combining consistent employee feedback with customer feedback allows you to take a two-pronged approach to improving customer experience – through your team and through your product.
Transparency with Employees > Trust in your Brand
The more open you are with your employees, the more faith they’ll place in your company. Though it was once controversial to let your team see the inner workings of the business, the value employees place on transparency is overwhelming – 80% of workers want to know more about how decisions are made in their organisation.
If your employees make their way into the lucky 20% who feel they know where they stand, you’ll foster trust in the company from the inside out. The way your team talk about your company is one of your most valuable assets as a brand. Think about how much your friends’ reviews of their employers sway your image of the brand itself – if employees love being there, so too do customers.
TL;DR – Employee Engagement makes up half of Customer Satisfaction
Happy team + great product = happy customers.
Customer satisfaction comes down to a few factors: how they align to your company values, how much they feel listened to/valued, and how much they trust you. Working on these areas of engagement with your employees first is going to have the biggest impact on your clients – after all, your team are the people who have the most power to project your brand image.
Want a roadmap to increasing your employee engagement?
Fancy a bit more light reading? Check out our blog post on career development & employee engagement.