Companies spend billions each year attempting to increase customer loyalty. There are surveys, special deals and rewards programs all intended to keep customers loyal. And while much of this works at least to some extent, a lot of it could be considered wasted energy. After all, how many rewards programs does the average consumer belong to and how often are these programs actually used? Fortunately, there is a way to increase customer loyalty that is economical and effective. It is based on human psychology and the fact that human beings, first and foremost, prefer to relate to other human beings. This is why employee engagement is one of the most cost effective ways to increase customer loyalty, employee engagement leads to customer loyalty.
Quality customer service
Employees who are engaged are far more likely to provide quality customer service. Engaged employees value the companies they work for and want customers to value the company as well. They make the extra effort to ensure that customers are pleased with products and services and, because they care about the company’s reputation, they are less likely to make unrealistic promises or simply brush the customer off or do the absolute minimum, when presented with a complaint.
Remember, there are only two ways that new customers can determine the quality of your company, and that is by the quality of your products or services and by the quality of your employees. It is your employees that customers interact with first, before they even come near what you are offering. Your employees are the human beings that your customers relate to, and your company is judged by how it is represented by your employees.
Employees are also important when it comes to branding. Customers tend to regard employees as experts in their field. This means that enthusiastic employees, who are positive about the products or services that you offer, are just about the best representatives your brand can have. Because of their perceived expertise, their endorsement has an even greater effect than a positive review.
On the other hand, disengaged employees unknowingly communicate their low morale to customers via body language and tone of voice. This is why it is important to rotate employees into and out of customer service positions if at all possible. This is especially true in large corporations where there are a vast number of customers. The greater the number of customers, the greater the number of customer complaints even if those complaints are only a tiny percentage of customer interaction. Being constantly subjected to complaints and the negative emotions associated with them, can lower employee morale and cause employees to become disengaged and disinterested.
There are other ways that employees can become disengaged, as well. One very common way is the ” all vinegar no honey” approach. This is particularly common in midsize organisations where there is considerable pressure on management. The company is larger than a startup, which operates more like a family, but is not large enough for various departments to act like coherent subunits. There is no buffer between the employee and an upper management that is subjected to all the financial and production pressure points in the organisation.
The best way to understand all vinegar and no honey, is in terms of negative feedback. Most of us have, at one time or another, had to deal with an individual who consistently corrected us when we did something wrong, but rarely praised or even acknowledged us when we did something right. This constant negative feedback can ruin morale, as employees eventually come to feel that no matter how hard they work, it is never enough. This negative feedback is caused by management attempting to deal with its pressure points by passing the pressure down the ranks, in the form of correction and criticism.
Another way to disengage employees is to make job performance a competition with other employees. This destroys team spirit, as each employee is out for him or herself and “every man for himself” is the philosophy of the sinking ship. So, praise employees when they do something right and correct them quietly without blame or rancor when they do something wrong. And reward your employees as a team, not as individuals.
Remember, you want your employees engaged with your company and the best way they can do that is as a team.