Australian businesses need to ensure that all staff are engaged with their business as engaged workers engage customers. A recent Gallup finding on the US workplace shows that “when organizations successfully engage their customers and employees, they experience a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes compared with an organization that has neither engaged employees nor engaged customers.” Given these results, any business that doesn’t work on creating engaged staff is going to find it tough to compete.
What is the engaged customer
Engaged customers are those customers who wish to interact with a company or business. They often feel an emotional bond with the business and they choose that business over others. They are your most trusted and important customer because they spend more per visit and visit more often as well as spruiking the worth of your business to their family members, friends and colleagues.
To foster this level of engagement, you need employees who are also engaged.
The engaged staff member
An engaged staff member understands the business they work for and, like the engaged customer, often has an emotional connection to their place of work. In addition to undertaking all the tasks associated with their role, an engaged worker goes a little further be it participating in a forum, helping out a colleague or providing feedback on an new initiative. According to Constellation Research they are also 37% more likely to stay with their employers.
Engaging your staff
A recent article in the Drake Business Review (Vol 5 No 1) argues that staff are your key asset and that “your employees are even more important than your customers”. Staff engagement with the company is a key component in their performance with customers. The article outlines 12 key areas in ensuring staff attitude and behaviour make or break customer experience. These include:
- thinking of your staff as your customer. By providing them with correct information, directions and resources you empower your staff to succeed.
- hiring the right kind of staff. Choose people who want to work with customers and who understand that customer retention is your top priority. New staff need to be friendly, positive, enthusiastic, keen to learn and able to work in a team.
- onboarding them correctly. Don’t leave it to chance or a surly co-worker! Provide a well thought out induction and training program led by the CEO. Either in person or through a video, the CEO should outline the company’s vision, provide an overview of the company, outline the customer experiences the company strives to achieve and explain what is expected from all staff. Performance measurement processes should be clearly outlined and managers should ensure that new staff understand them.
- growing and developing all staff. The more your staff know, the better they can serve customers. A training program should be linked to your performance management process and actively implemented. Use your mystery shopper and customer feedback results to identify areas where staff training would improve customer experiences.
- recognizing and rewarding performance. Identify staff behaviours and attitudes that you wish to instil. Spend a few minutes giving praise on specific actions. Plus think creatively about rewards – dinner for two or movie tickets also include the employee’s partner.
- dealing with poor performance. If you praise good behaviour, don’t let bad behaviour slip by. Address the specific example as soon as possible and describe a different approach the staff member could have adopted. Follow up with praise when the correct behaviour is implemented.
Measuring staff engagement
Staff engagement can be measured by asking specific questions of employees through interactive web surveys. Either conducted anonymously, or the staff member is identified, these surveys can ask employees the promoter question “Would you recommend working here to your family and friends?”
You could also ask employees to rank certain aspects of working at the company such as “team atmosphere” and “ability to approach management”. You could even ask the employee to rank in order the company’s key targets or mission statements to see if employee perception corresponds with the company’s mission statement.
Companies spend a lot of time on customer service so it makes sense to spend as much time on your staff. Remember their recommendation of your company to their friends and family is just as important as any customers.
About Mystery Customer Pty Limited
Mystery Customer is an Australian company founded in 2001 that specialises in providing mystery shopping services to businesses in a wide range of industries. We provide services to businesses wishing to monitor the performance of their business and to improve their customer service.
Mystery Customer’s services range from monitoring and reporting on customer service standards and compliance with company processes, through to our “customer voice” surveys where your actual customers are surveyed using online tools, with sophisticated reporting on results.
Mystery Customer is able to create customized surveys specific to your company, producing invaluable reports that can help grow your company.
For more information on Mystery Customer and what it can do for your company, please contact Terry Ashton on 1300 601 234 or visit www.mysterycustomer.com.au