Great employee experiences make great customer experiences

Recently, I was asked to be a judge at the first UK Employee Experience Awards and I wrote about my experiences here. Following my judging debut, I was asked back to judge the UK Customer Experience Awards. The link between these two categories has never been so poignant as it is now. Over the past few years, the research that links great employee experiences with better customer experiences has been growing and growing. In 2016, the Temkin Group found a direct correlation between higher employee engagement and higher customer satisfaction, and this prompted us all to sit up and listen. For Benefex and our retail and services clients in particular, this link pays an important part in why people buy from us.

People buy from people
This phrase has been around for as long as anyone has been selling anything. When the knowledge and personality of an employee can shine, customers react positively. But great customer experiences start a long time before your customer walks through the door or answers the phone. The team you employ to create your products, and market them to the world will all have an impact on the final product. Every single employee is an important cog in your machine, and without their full buy-in and enthusiasm for what you do, you’ll never deliver the best customer experience.

Great customer experiences come from understanding your customers; who they are, and what they need. Employee experience is just the same. Understanding what motivates your employees, how they feel about working for you, and why they care about the company and its product or services underpins a positive employee experience.

Employee commitment = business performance
A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology shows that employee commitment to their organisation has more impact on business performance than vice versa. Researchers looked at the commitment of 755 retail bank employees, along with financial performance of the bank, and customer satisfaction of the business units they worked in. The study showed that, in just one year, you can see a reciprocal relationship between job attitudes and business performance.

When an employee is engaged, they become your biggest brand advocate
An engaged employee’s personality shines through when they deal with the public, and they work with enthusiasm. So important has this attitude to their work become that, through social media, organisations are seeing how a negative employee experience can impact their bottom line. For example, Chairman Mike Ashley told The Guardian in 2016 that the negative press surrounding leaked working practices at Sports Direct resulted in a 57% drop in first-half profits that year.

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A customer’s first point of interaction with any organisation is often through its employees. This first interaction can be make-or-break for first-time or infrequent customers. If you don’t help your employees to make a good impression, your customer may leave and never return.

To provide the best possible customer service that will ensure your customers keep coming back for more, you must invest in your employees. You need to recruit the most optimistic, happy and innovative employees to sit on the front the line. That’s a challenge in today’s job market where the employee has more control than the employer has. But the bigger challenge is making sure you keep that employee happy and creative. Offering the best possible employee experiences will ensure you position yourselves as a company of choice for both customers and employees.