The importance of the customer experience within a business has become a focal point when it comes to achieving organizational success. Building a strong, positive customer experience can lead to a solid relationship and establish a sense of loyalty between your brand and your customers.
While an entire organization should assume responsibility for creating a great customer experience, it all starts with the employees on the front line. A happy employee is an important first step in a great customer experience. In all honesty, can an unhappy person deliver a truly great customer experience? Probably not. In addition to employees providing customers with a positive experience, companies should also focus their efforts on making sure that their own employees are having positive experiences as well.
Shep Hyken, a customer service expert, speaker, and author of the book The Amazement Revolution, once said that “A brand is defined by the customer’s experience. The experience is delivered by the employees.”
So let’s take a look at why and how employees define your customer experience.
What Is Customer Experience?
Customer experience is a term used to describe the overall interaction between a customer and the organization. The customer experience begins early on in the relationship when a person is first introduced to the company. The relationship continues to develop after a transaction is registered, because happy customers tend to return to a company that they trust for additional purchases.
A customer’s experience creates a bottom line impact—positive or negative—for your brand. A positive experience that a customer has with a businesses is likely to result in strong, long-term loyalty.
There’s data to back it up. According to a Defaqto Research, 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a more pleasurable customer experience. Conversely, Ernst and Young reported that Australian businesses have experienced losses of $720 for every bad customer experience.
According to a 2016 report by Forrester, 72% of businesses report that they prioritize improving customer experience more than any other dimension. The biggest influencer on improving customer experience is through the company’s employees.
The Interaction Between Customers and Employees
Consumer brand relationships initiate customer touchpoints- the point of interaction between brands/businesses and their customers. Interactions between customers and the brand involve any encounter between these two parties even without any physical interaction. These interactions can occur through ads, testimonies from friends or family, or through the company’s employees.
However, the strongest connections are formed through face-to-face interactions. It’s much harder to build trust without being able to put a face to a name, which is why employees are such a vital part of the customer experience.
Although most companies understand the implications of this brand touchpoint, it is usually the most neglected. Forrester Research reported that only 31% of organizations recognize and reward employees for their part in improving the customer experience.
The Importance of Engagement
One reason businesses continue to struggle with providing their customers with a consistent, positive, customer experience is a result of the lack of engagement among their own employees. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, employee engagement should be about more than just improving productivity. Ideally, it should also generate multiple outcomes that are beneficial for both employees and customers.
Some reasons employees may not be engaged at work include:
- Feeling undervalued
- Being unable to connect with the company’s vision/goals
- Feeling their work is not important to the organization
- Feeling like they are not contributing or making any personal progress
Organizations should recognize themselves as the main contributors to employee engagement issues. If employees are not engaged or satisfied with the work they’re doing, they’ll likely not be able to create a positive experience for customers. Agents who are knowledgeable, attentive, and easily reachable are the ones who generate positive experiences. An important Part of increasing engagement involves empowering employees with the tools they need to get the job done right.
Happy Employees Means Happy Customers
Though the live chat experience online is typically characterized by text-based conversation, the nuances of dissatisfaction can still leak through, regardless of the medium. To put your best foot forward when providing online customer service, video interactions can all but duplicate the effect of interacting with an employee in person. If you have happy employees, implementing online video interactions can be an asset and conversion factor for your brand.
Rather than simply being disengaged from their work, some employees are just unhappy in their roles for a number of different reasons:
- Their work gives them no satisfaction
- They don’t feel appreciated
- They don’t feel supported by the company
- They’re unhappy with compensation.
Motivating hard-working employees with bonuses, providing positive reinforcement and support, and allowing employees to provide feedback to improve processes can all help in increasing happiness and satisfaction among employees.
Your Employees are Defining Your Customer Experience
If you want to ensure a consistently great customer relationship and a sustainable business overall, be sure to prioritize your employee’s happiness and their experience with the brand they champion
Most employees feel unappreciated and crave the support of their companies. Leaders who treat employees with respect are likely to encourage their employees to strive for excellence in all aspect of their job.. If you’re trying to improve your company’s customer experience, take a moment to consider improving your employee experience first.
How does your company prioritize the employee experience? Tweet your thoughts at @Glia, and we’ll share the best examples!