Employee Engagement: The Secret Ingredient You’re Probably Missing In Your Customer Experience Strategy

Becky Wieber

Business Meeting --- Image by © Rachel Frank/CorbisThe line that separates a happy customer from an irate customer is sometimes as simple as a five-minute phone call or online communication. Every day, hundreds and thousands of customer service reps don their armor to protect their feelings, quell nuisance requests, right errors made by other lines of business, and slay fraudulent calls. This one interaction can make or ruin a customer’s day – and a brand’s reputation.

Providing an experience that gives customers a reason to be loyal is no easy task. Yet companies sometimes forget the value of this responsibility. This is why businesses worldwide are dedicating the first week of October to celebrate and appreciate the importance of customer service.

While this is a nice gesture, companies should pay attention to these front-line employees every week. Customer-facing employees – especially those in the call center – are a rich source of insights. They see proof of organizational habits and processes that are either impeding or propelling the delivery of excellent service.

Unfortunately, approximately 70% of your call center is likely disengaged and dispassionate about going beyond the call of duty to offer up this information freely. How can they provide a consistent and superior customer experience if the business does not recognize, support, and treat them well year round?

Why employee engagement matters to your customers

At every company, there are employees who are engaged and others who perform well. However, they are not the same people. The difference between the two is quite fundamental:

  • Engaged employees have a sense of passion, enthusiasm, and drive that makes them go beyond their general responsibilities to make sure every customer feels valued and invested in the brand.
  • Satisfactory employees come to work and perform their duties they are told to do satisfactorily – no more and no less.

This distinction influences how a business behaves, operates, and performs. For example, a recent Baylor University study revealed that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts. By creating a chain of consistency and knowledge building, the call center is better equipped to diffuse any issue swiftly. More important, the company builds incomparable rapport and loyalty with its customer base.

According to recent Gallup research, your shareholders will likely view uplifting employee engagement as a worthwhile cause as well. In fact, companies with a high level of engagement have two times higher operating margins and 22% greater shareholder returns than companies with low levels of engagement.

Want a more-engaged workforce? Get simpler!

Employee engagement is not a strategy by itself. Rather, it’s a set of principles that help organizations become more profitable and productive. By considering employee perceptions, behaviors, and motivations when planning any organizational or process change, senior leadership can construct a strategy that fosters a culture that benefits both employees and the company.

Unfortunately, as we all know, the workplace is not that simple. As the digital economy generates large volumes of information and services, every individual – regardless of the job title, pay grade, or responsibility – has the power to quickly create value and innovations that satisfy customers. However, they also have the potential to create problems unknowingly when processes and organizational direction are overly complex and confusing.

What’s needed is an intentional effort for clearing away the complexities of bureaucracy, muddled communication, and vague direction so employees can reveal what they expect and need to be fully engaged. In his white paper “Building Simpler Corporate Cultures”, Bill Jensen writes, “We must make it easier for every individual to do the right things and make the right decisions, in the right way, at the right time.”

People come to work because they want to see that their job matters and how their contributions can positively impact the organization’s success. If they can do that, employees become more engaged and courageous, knowing that their job serves a purpose and makes a significant difference. And at the end of every day, your customers will thank you.

Take a closer look at the role of employee engagement in the future of work. Visit http://www.digitalistmag.com/research-topic/engagement.

Becky Wieber

About Becky Wieber

Becky Wieber is the Director of Global Marketing Programs at SAP. She leads an integrated marketing team to develop program and campaign strategies focused on driving awareness, engagement and brand affinity for SAP corporate messaging.