Do Happy Employees Create Happy Customers?

Could it be so simple? I define a happy customer as one who is loyal and willing to refer you to others. Happy customers mean their problems were solved and their needs met. Statistics tell us that the service experience has a big impact on the company’s bottom line. The delivery of superior experience depends on processes, technology and people. Even with social media and innovative technology, customers still need and want to deal with real voices and real people. American Express reported in a recent study that US customers will spend 9% more with companies that provide great customer service.

Your team members make the difference. A 2009 Gallup report looked at the impact of customer and employee engagement. Companies in the upper half of both customer and employee engagement get a 240% boost in bottom line results. With these powerful numbers, employee engagement has become a major goal for many organizations. Employee engagement means feeling involved, motivated, and enthusiastic to the job, organization and associates. The Gallup survey proved engaged employees find creative ways to solve customer problems and even involve customers in creating innovations. These same employees feel open to suggesting ideas to improve the company. So it does seem that happy engaged employees may be the answer to happy engaged customers.

The real question is how to create an engaged team member. The best organizations have visible leadership working to improve the customer experience with their processes, products, service and people.  The leaders inspire employees to feel connected. Try these tips to develop an engagement connection:

  • Talk real purpose. People need to feel connected to the meaning of the work. Help them understand how their cubicle, “their 17 square feet”, affects the customer experience. Employees want to be a part of something exciting, purposeful and big
  • Communicate realistic goals. Let people know what is expected of them. Create service standards. Without service standards and goals, everything is left to chance
  • Celebrate when goals are met
  • Keep them informed and updated. Share the latest voice of customer data, discuss challenges and create excitement around opportunities. Employees want to help improve the organization if shown their input is appreciated
  • Make managers approachable. Managers need to reward publicly as well as coach and be the cheerleader for exceptional customer service

There are many great companies that seem to have these tips right – Zappos, Enterprise and Ritz Carlton. Zappos has embedded engagement into their culture via the core values, hiring practices, orientation and training. Enterprise’s culture focuses on “hiring and training good people from the ground up”. The Ritz is known for its credo and clear expectations. Employees are engaged to serve the customer and empowered to do the right thing.

So, do happy employees create happy customers? If the statistics aren’t enough proof, then act as if it is true and work to improve your employee engagement anyway. I am certain an engaged employee is a good thing for your organization and especially your customers. Make certain your customers have their problems solved and needs met with responsiveness, thoroughness and speed. Take a leap of faith and believe that happy employees do create happy customers.
Lisa Ford
Lisa Ford

Lisa is well known for her work on customer issues. Her ideas help companies create customer-focused cultures and keep customers loyal. She is a speaker and author with over 20 years of experience presenting to businesses, associations and government. Lisa is the author of ‘How to Give Exceptional Customer Service’, the #1 selling DVD series in the US for over 3 years.

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