I always hear about someone’s last bad experience as a customer when I tell people that 360Connext is focused on the customer experience. And most of the time, it’s due to a company employee or group of employees. The rest of the time, it’s usually due to unnecessarily complicated – or just inaccurate – invoices and confusing customer service number auto prompts among a few other things.
Employee retention is directly related to customer retention.
It’s no surprise, given the nature of the complaints I hear all the time. Where we find happy employees, we also tend to find happy customers. “Remember the good ol’ days,” my new friend will say to me. “When the bank teller knew your name and treated you like a person? When the salesperson at the department store was actually interested in serving you? When the cashier at the drug store actually smiled and didn’t just grunt while taking your money?”
Recommendations: Who is Johnny?
A recommendation is often directly related to a personal connection. “Call Johnny at ABC Financial. He’ll take good care of you.” It’s really not the actual financial institution we’re recommending. It’s Johnny.
But Johnny isn’t just Johnny – he’s that go-to guy representing the company. And Johnny can only be the go-to guy if his employer recognizes just that. Johnny must be given the support, discretion and tools to perform in a way that creates great experiences for every single customer.
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What’s good for the goose…
Well here’s the classic chicken goose and egg scenario. In order to hire, mentor and retain the right employees for the job, you also have to know who your real customers are. Employee retention isn’t going to help if your employees aren’t a good fit for your customers.
And today, in the wake of massive lay-offs, government bailouts and companies who are still finding new ways to stretch their budgets, employees are often fearful, lacking in confidence and therefore, disengaged.
For the Win³
As the employer, how can you keep your employees engaged? Employee engagement will play a crucial role in creating your own customer experience.
- Remember your employees have issues to deal with outside of the office. They’re dealing with company issues their spouses bring home, the outside news about your industry, and daily life in general. Families are making tougher decisions now than they have in a decades – and they bring that tension to work with them.
- Be sure there are ample ways for your employees to share their input in a safe, constructive way. With so much uncertainty about employment, many employees are becoming increasingly afraid to give truly honest feedback. This can put your company at the mercy of a bunch of sycophants who only tell you what they believe you want to hear – not real feedback that will benefit company or customers. Provide anonymous ways for employees to offer suggestions and ask questions and you will receive frank, useful feedback.
- Team building must stay top-of-mind. Even in frugal times, it’s important to help each employee make connections with other associates. And to accomplish this, you don’t need elaborate or expensive outings or all-day meetings. Serving together to help others – like volunteering at a homeless shelter or retirement home – can be a rewarding and memorable bonding experience.
- Keep your employees informed about organizational goals and achievements. Do this frequently. Repeat yourself. Then do it again. Attributing an employee’s individual contributions, even to the small victories, will give your employees more and more confidence about the direction your company is headed.
- CELEBRATE the small accomplishments. Celebrations can be small shout-outs – a group email or Facebook status recognizing an employee, for example – but it’s important to share as much good news as possible and give credit where credit is due.
- Finally, connect with your customers. Engaging your customers will help your employees truly understand what’s needed in today’s market. This will undoubtedly lead to better success and richer engagement.
Everyone has too much on their plates these days.
Make it your mission to think about ways to keep employees engaged and everyone wins! What are your suggestions for ways to make lasting connections among customers and employees?