Show Me the Love: Are Your Employees Engaged In Creating Satisfied Customers?

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How employee engagement results in customer satisfactionRecently, research by American Express revealed that receiving great customer service triggers the same reactions in the brand as feeling loved. When 1,620 consumers were tested under laboratory conditions, 63% said they felt their heart rate increase when they thought about getting great customer service. However, the research went beyond self-reported measures and found that 74% of respondents actually experienced increased heart rates when thinking about having a great customer service experience. The research also found:

  • Great acts of service result in positive responses in the body, increasing heart rate and galvanic skin response.
  • 68% of respondents reported their breathing rate decrease (from 16.7 cycles per minute to 10.2 cycles per minute) as they relaxed because they were thinking about great service.
  • Over half of respondents were found to feel pride and improved well-being when they were on the receiving end of great service.
  • Thinking about receiving great service triggered the same reactions as thinking about someone they love for 53% of respondents.

Delivering great service is powerful. Moreover, the only way to deliver great service is through engaged employees. Are you wondering whether your employees are engaged enough to deliver the kind of service that results in these reactions? Ask yourself these tough questions, and you might find some areas for improvement.

8 Employee Engagement Questions You Need to Ask

1. ) Do we know our company culture, strengths and weaknesses?

All companies are not created equally.  Each has its own unique culture, its own strengths and weaknesses. What worked in your last company may not work now. What works for your competitors may not be right for you. Take a step back and think about what your company does exceptionally well, where you are weak and the impact your culture has on both of those. Employee engagement only exists if the culture is right for it.

2. ) Do we know what motivates our employees?

Conducting employee engagement surveys will give you a view to the levers that you have to motivate and engage employees. Many times, companies do not take full advantage of the information that is available to them to make changes and improve employee conditions. If you do not measure employee engagement in a way that leads you to action, you are missing out.

3. ) Do we empower our employees with clear goals and expectations?

Your company’s goals and expectations may be something you do not want your competitors to have, but they should not be a secret from your employees. On a daily basis, employees make decisions large and small that impact your company’s ability to reach your strategic goals. How can employees know whether their decisions are supporting corporate goals if they do not know what the corporate goals are?

4.) Is senior management and executive leadership visible and accessible?

I had lunch with a friend this week, and she complained about the CEO of her company not being in the office. I was surprised because I know the CEO personally, and my friend is a very senior employee. I wondered why she should care where the CEO spends his time, but she insisted that unless he is around the company and talking to employees, he cannot know what’s going on. And she is right. If you lead a company, part of your responsibility is to keep in touch, to listen and to set the tone. Research conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) has reinforced the importance of senior leadership being visible. In fact, many experts believe that leadership compensation should be in part based on employee engagement scores.

5.) Do we communicate enough?

Town-hall meetings, newsletters, memos – all of those have their place. However, a simple “Good Morning” is also an important communication. Candid, frequent, open and timely communications about your company’s vision, goals and strategies help employees feel connected to the organization. And everyone wants to feel like they are part of the in-crowd.

6.) Do we have the right managers?

Remember the Peter Principal, first observed by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and published in his book “The Peter Principle” in 1968? The Peter Principal statesthat in an organizational hierarchy every employee will rise or get promoted to his or her level of incompetence.” So, an employee who excelled at Project Manager, may not necessarily have the skills to become a great manager or leader. While many organizations have realized that not all employees are cut out for management and have created non-management career paths for those individuals, most companies’ sole career path is through management. Research has shown extensively that having the right managers can make or break your business; so this is an important area for inquiry and discussion.

7.) What do our exit interviews tell us – and what are we doing about it?

Are you even doing exit interviews? Just as with lost customer research, employees who choose to leave you are a wealth of information. So if you are not doing exit interviews, please start! And if you are doing them, what are you doing with that information? Many times, the interview is conducted, the form filled out, the box checked – but the information never gets reported back to the people who can use it to make a difference.  Exit interview data should be a regular part of your human resource information reporting. Moreover, each exit interview should provide the foundation for coaching for the reporting manager.

8.) Employee Engagement – A Leadership Issue

Many times we hear, “But I am only the HR manager (or the marketing research manager)! I cannot tell (insert department here) how to do their jobs!” However, if you don’t, who will? It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. And your leadership role in bringing your business greater success through increased employee engagement will benefit everyone in the form of improved customer satisfaction, increased sales and improved customer retention. So get busy and start answering the tough questions – it will be worth it.

To get started on asking the right questions for your employee engagement survey Contact Us.

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Christian Wright

Christian Wright is the VP of Client Services at Infosurv. With a master’s in marketing research, he’s equipped to design actionable research that yields impactful insights and drives change.