Loyal customers come from having amazing experiences with your company. Those amazing experiences come from employees that are engaged and willing to go that extra mile.

Too many companies still haven’t figured out that if they want “the customer to come first,” they have to treat their employees better and make sure they’re happy.

Who do you think is dealing with the customers?

Zappos is well known for their company culture, so does it come as a surprise that 75 percent of purchases come from returning customers?

That’s an amazing statistic and is part of the reason they were able to grow so quickly. One of their core values is “Deliver WOW Through Service.” They expect every employee to “wow” their customers, and they do this by giving employees the autonomy to handle situations in any way they see fit.

Call centers are notoriously bad in terms of employee satisfaction and retention. Every call center I’ve ever worked at had insane amounts of turnover, and being a call center agent generally isn’t the most exciting job in the world.

What impresses me so much with Zappos is that they’ve managed to take a seemingly boring job and turn it into something amazing. They’re able to do this because they’re so focused on culture and hiring for culture fit.

Look at this video of Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) talking about how they hire for culture fit.

They refuse candidates if they don’t fit the culture, and they fire employees if they’re not fitting in the culture. One of their more famous parts of the hiring process is during the training process, they offer people $2,000 on the spot to quit if they feel like they don’t fit the culture.

The Service-Profit Chain

I’ve written about this previously, but it’s so important that I’ll talk about it again. The service-profit chain is the path from employee satisfaction to profits and revenue.

service profit chain

The way it works is:

  • A good work environment (good recognition process, career development, relationships at work) will lead to satisfied employees.
  • Satisfied employees will lead to higher retention and productivity.
  • Productive employees will provide good value.
  • That good value will lead to satisfied customers.
  • Those satisfied customers will become loyal.
  • This will lead to more revenues and profits.

The service-profit chain is originally from an article in Harvard Business Review from 1994. It’s amazing that this is still so relevant today, and that there are still so many companies that don’t get it.

Internal Quality Is The Most Important

If any manager out there is wondering how to improve their company culture, the service-profit chain is your answer. Looking at the chain, the first item is the most important to take care of because it will lead to the rest.

The way they define “internal quality” is an employee’s satisfaction with the overall work environment. Things like how employees feel about their work, their colleagues, and the company in general.

This is why employee pulse survey software is so important to use. Companies need to be constantly measuring their employee engagement in order to improve it.

Employees Can Help You Fix What’s Wrong

There’s no need to do this all by yourself. Include employees in the process, and show them that you value their opinions.

Collect frequent feedback from them about what could be improved with their work, how they could be more productive, and what would make them provide better service. Be incredibly open and honest, and have real conversations with your employees about these things.

Intrinsically, employees want to do good work and provide great service, and chances are, they know exactly what’s wrong.

Do You Think Culture Affects Customer Loyalty?