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employee engagement drives customer engagement

It seems obvious:  employee engagement drives customer engagement.  If you treat your employees well, they’re more likely to create great customer experiences.  But while this truth may be obvious, how to achieve it may not be.  How do you engage your employees?  What does excellent employee engagement look like?  I found a lot of helpful answers to these questions in my readings this past month.employee engagement customer experience

Starting off with a terrific post on the CX Journey blog, Creating Employee Experiences That Drive Customer Delight by Maansi Sanghi…After conveying key statistics that prove and quantify the relationship between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, Maansi outlines several strategies for increasing employee engagement including:  “Lead by Example.  The first thing a business should be doing is leading by example. The company’s leadership needs to walk the walk and talk the talk, which means that you need to act and behave precisely how you want your employees to act and behave. You expect them to go the extra mile for your customers? Then you need to do the same. And not just for your customers, but for your employees too. It’s been shown that employees are 55% more engaged and 53% more focused in a company where the management leads by example.”

Building off this point, Jeremy Watkin shares in Extraordinary “Everybody” Service personal reflections about his own behavior as a manager:  “I began to realize that the way I treat my team directly affects the way they treat customers. I realized that the customer service I was providing as a leader was inconsistent. Where I delivered awesome customer service to the customer on the phone, my INTERNAL customer service left something to be desired… Always remember the customer – Whether you are interacting with a peer or someone that you lead, remember that they are representing an external customer. Your focus should be on teaching, equipping, collaborating with, and empowering your colleagues to serve and solve better and more quickly and efficiently.”

Ted Rubin encourages leaders to enlist employees to help design customer experience success in the post How to Engineer a Great Customer Experience.  After introducing a four-level model for designing customer experiences, Ted observes:  “What struck me about this formula is that it’s employee driven. Each of these four levels of service fail if your employees are not empowered to deliver them, which is why it’s imperative to involve employees in all aspects of designing customer experience. It can’t just be dictated to them—they have to feel invested in the outcome and excited about their part in it.”

In 5 Ways to Build an Extraordinary Team Culture, Peter Economy, The Leadership Guy on Inc., suggests cross-training employees.  “When employees understand how different areas of the company work, they are more apt to make decisions that benefit the company as a whole, rather than solely their own department or group. Give your employees the opportunity to learn other people’s jobs.”

Finally, Tom Hoffman interviewed author Chester Elton about The Culture Within: How Employee Engagement Impacts Customer Experience.  Chester emphasizes creating a “cadence of information.”  He says, “I think there’s a cadence to great cultures. There’s a town hall meeting. There’s a company publication. There are team meetings. Home Depot is known for its team huddles…I love the cadence of information that great cultures develop. A perfect example, and a little extreme, is the call center for American Express in Ft. Lauderdale. Doria Camaraza is the leader there and when it comes to reinforcing the culture, she uses a reward and recognition strategy. Leaders from the top all the way to supervisors and even peer-to-peer have a plan for daily recognition, weekly, monthly, quarterly semi-annual, and annual recognition. In some departments, it can even be hourly. Call centers are tough jobs!”

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I love to read as much as I love to write, and I love to share from both.  Follow me on Twitter to get up-to-date content, or check into my blog here during the last week of each month to get a curated round-up of the best bits I’ve read from the month.

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