Happy customers, healthy profits

The idea that happy customers directly impact the bottom line is now well established. Improved customer experience has been proven to inspire repeat custom, reduce customer attrition, and increase retention and referrals [1] (and at a lower cost).

In fact, customer experience is such a strong factor in creating a strong competitive performance that many brands now see it as a key differentiator and are investing in ways to dramatically improve customer experience.

It makes sense, as a consumer many offerings are broadly similar, there isn’t much to distinguish one bank or one petrol station from another in many cases. If in your sector a well-diversified and well-funded competitor opted for an ambitious customer experience strategy in order to differentiate itself, what are the chances it would succeed?

Well, quite high it would seem. According to Gartner, 89 % of companies now expect to compete primarily on the basis of the experience they provide customers. And, according to a recent Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator [2].

Vital link in this process sometimes neglected

But, once you’ve decided to supercharge your customer experience and prioritise and invest in it, how do you go about improving it?  A major factor in this equation that’s sometimes overlooked is employee engagement. Measuring the engagement of your employees and the satisfaction of your customers reveals direct correlations between employee engagement and strong business outcomes.

It’s not difficult to see how staff engagement can have a huge influence on the customer experience.  You simply can’t succeed without your employees. Happy, engaged employees help create happy, loyal customers and companies that recognise and nurture the internal ecosystem that drives this cycle reap the rewards.

According to Kevin Kruse who writes on employee engagement for Forbes and The New York Times, companies with high employee engagement scores had twice the customer loyalty (repeat purchases, recommendations to friends) than companies with average employee engagement levels [3].

Further, a 2016 study by the Tempkin group found that companies with stronger financial performances and better customer experience have employees who are considerably more engaged than their peers. It also found that companies which excel at customer experience have “1.5 times as many engaged employees as do customer experience laggards.”

For companies wanting to transform their customer experience, and with it inspire loyalty, greater spend and greater market share, staff engagement is a critical factor. Going beyond merely recognising this fact and creating more engaged and customer centric employees requires focus, investment and a commitment to place staff engagement at the heart of your customer experience strategy.

Those that get it right will deliver a virtuous circle of strategic and economic value to a business, in a way that sets them apart, and is difficult for others to replicate.

Where to start?

Here’s a few ideas on where to start to keep staff happy and engaged:

  • Ask for regular feedback, with the goal of unlocking actionable insight about the company’s culture and to measure employee engagement, and then listen to and actually use the feedback to change and improve the business on an ongoing basis
  • Give staff the tools to take action to fix customer experience where appropriate, helping them feel successful and engaged
  • Recognise and celebrate achievement amongst staff that create good customer experiences
  • Create a sense of trust and transparency, sharing successes and supporting employee growth

We often start by measuring the baseline of staff engagement, and then apply ongoing continuous measurement so a company can see how its staff are improving and what more needs to be done to create an even better customer experience.

Contact Buzz Channel for more info: insight@buzzchannel.co.nz | 09 379 8920

[1] The 2015 Customer Experience ROI Study http://www.watermarkconsult.net/docs/Watermark-Customer-Experience-ROI-Study.pdf
[2] Customers 2020 The future of B-to-B customer experience https://www.walkerinfo.com/customers2020/
[3] Source: Are They Really on the Job? Pont