Wouldn’t it be great if a magical crystal ball existed that could reveal all the secrets of what your customers want, as well as the secret to getting them to keep coming back to your business and help to increase profitability? It does exist, only there’s nothing magical about it — it’s solely scientific.
Keeping customers satisfied and retaining them is vital to continued success. Often, employees who work face-to-face with customers are the ones who determine their levels of satisfaction, keeping them content with the company and preventing them from looking elsewhere for someone to meet their needs.
Employee satisfaction can have a tremendous effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Studies have shown that customer satisfaction plays a key role in the health and future success of any company and that when customers are satisfied, they keep coming back and what’s more, they invite their friends to do the same.
Any company that is truly interested in customer satisfaction must first meet the needs of its employees; otherwise, it’s putting the cart before the horse. Employee satisfaction is essential to the success of any business. A high rate of employee contentedness can normally be related right back to a lower turnover rate. Thus, keeping employees’ satisfied should be a major priority for any and every business.
JetBlue—an American low-cost airline—came to realise in 2007 that the business wasn’t doing a good job satisfying its employees when it stranded thousands of its passengers, because of a mere New York City ice storm. As a result, employee morale dropped and with it, customer satisfaction.
Up to that point, the company surveyed employees once a year looking for feedback. It needed to do more than just conduct surveys. Consequently, it implemented ‘Net Promoter,’ a scoring system that calculates how many employees are actively promoting the company, both as a place to work and as a place to do business. Once it began to look at employee satisfaction, department by department, it was able to deliver programs that put everyone on the same page, and great results followed.
What was learnt from JetBlue is that improving customer relations and, of course, profits a business must also survey its customers. As with employee surveys, customer surveys are invaluable if they are scientifically sound. Not only a 5-item questionnaire, but rather a comprehensive, carefully worded instrument designed to measure both obvious and subtle influences of customer behaviour.
Once you are knowledgeable about the root causes of your customers’ overall satisfaction and intent to return, you will have the “secrets” of increasing business and profits. The next part is taking action on these root causes and improving employee performance.
How then, does a company improve employee performance? By measuring it!
Businesses that are effective at monitoring and modifying employee behaviour are able to enhance customer satisfaction. According to Bill Gates, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
A customer is satisfied when they feel they have received at least as much from a buying experience as the effort they put in, and when they reach the conclusion that their buying experience was as good as they believed it would be.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, the world’s biggest online shoe retailer states that “customer service is about making customers happy, and the culture is about making employees happy. So, really, we’re about trying to deliver happiness, whether it’s to customers or employees.” This winning attitude may have contributed to Amazon’s acquisition of the business for $1.2 billion in 2009.
Employees are the face of any business. The quickest way to destroy brand equity is to disrespect them. Once you’ve lost trust, it’s only a matter of time before you lose customers, too. Without customers, you have no business!
All businesses depend on employees to deliver quality service. For most businesses, improving customer service levels is more important than providing a good product. It is wise to remember Sam Walton’s (founder of Walmart) famous adage: “There is only one boss, the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
We all know that customer satisfaction is vital to the success of any business. So, satisfied employees are more productive, innovative and loyal, which in turn leads to customer retention, which means that employee satisfaction plays a strong, central role in predicting profitability and organisational effectiveness.
If you would like further information about how we could help your business better understand your customer needs and improve customer experience, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org