Thursday, September 20, 2012

Engaged Employees = Loyal Customers = Business Results

By Al Norval

I believe this is a fundamental truth. People who are engaged at work will do things, many of which are little things, to improve the Customer experience and drive up Customer Satisfaction. As Customer Satisfaction goes up so does customer loyalty and customer loyalty can be turned into business results through repeat business. Loyal customers are the best advertising an organization can have especially in this age of social media.

On the other hand, bad customer experiences can be made very public, very quickly. Blogs, Twitter, and other social media sites are full of people sharing experiences of poor customer service. I’ve written several blogs in the past year about the value of great customer service. It’s often said – it’s harder to attract new customers than to retain existing ones.

So given this equation is true, the burning question is – “How do Leaders motivate people and engage them in solving customer problems?”

This is a critical Leadership question – how to motivate employees to go the extra mile and do the little things that add up to make a huge difference to customers and the organization?

All too often we see leaders who are better at de-motivating employees than motivating them and often complain about employees who are doing everything they are asked to do but no more. Employee behavior is compliant but they aren’t engaged. You can imagine what the customer satisfaction results are.

Dr. Deming stated “One of the first roles of leaders is not to de-motivate employees”

What is an engaged employee?
To me it means creating a culture where people have some control over their work environment to make improvements. They are encouraged to make improvements but beyond that the organization gives them time and resources to make these improvements happen quickly. Employees know where the organization is going (True north) and understand their role in achieving this.

How to do this?
One way is through daily huddles where the team reviews the past 24 hours and takes a look ahead at the next 24 hours. Any issues are surfaced, made visible and assigned to a problem solver. During the day the team is free to solve problems within the guidelines agreed to by the team to achieve their goals. The Leaders role is to coach and mentor the team to give them both the capability and the confidence to go ahead and solve problems.

Give people some control to make the customer experience better. Create more value for customers. Drive up customer loyalty and watch the business results improve.

It really is simple and the critical task of leaders is motivating and engaging employees.


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