Why customer happiness starts with your staff

By: Dr Sue Mitchell

Date: 19 June 2017

Why customer happiness starts with your staffLooking to increase sales? Then you need to focus on your customers and make them your number one priority, right?

This is certainly a good strategy; however, by putting employee engagement at the core of your business you can actually attract and retain more customers, improve customer satisfaction and deliver a better company performance.

A Swiss study into retail banking, published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, found that happy staff breed success, rather than the other way around. The study measured job attitudes as well as financial performance and customer satisfaction over three years and found that employee attitude consistently boosted performance.

This is supported by another study from Gallup that shows that organisations in the top quartile for staff engagement have higher profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction and staff retention; and less absenteeism, safety incidents and quality defects.

Here are five ways to engage your people:

1) Create meaningful work

Share a clear vision, purpose and mission formed around core values and set high standards. Translate these to daily behaviours and activities and ensure you walk the talk too. Every employee needs to understand how their role fits and contributes to the company vision so it feels meaningful to them personally.

2) Match your leadership style to each individual

One of the key drivers for high engagement is frequent high quality interactions between an employee and their immediate manager. As a manager, it's important to avoid micro-managing, use a coaching approach, ensure you understand each person's motivation, listen to their perspective and give them opportunities to design how they will work to achieve desired outcomes (rather than you telling them how to do it your way).

3) Make it easy for employees to deliver results

Ensure organisational structure, strategy and processes support people to be effective rather than creating barriers and frustration. Ensure that your structures can adapt to change and remain fit for purpose in order to give people the resources they need to succeed. Ask your employees for ideas on how to streamline, improve efficiency and effectiveness, align with company purpose and values and reduce frustrations.

4) Provide development opportunities

Give everyone personal development support for internal resources that support their desired career progression – such as confidence, resilience and emotional intelligence as well as technical and leadership skills.

5) Work to your strengths

Your strengths are the things you enjoy doing that come naturally, bring you energy and that you would choose to do. Anything you are good at but you wouldn’t choose to do, or that drains your energy is not a strength.

Building on strengths is far more productive than trying to fix weaknesses. Build your team around recognising strengths and matching roles to strengths. Build development plans around enhancing strengths rather than just filling in the gaps and developing weaknesses. When everyone recognises their own and each other's strengths and works to strengths, they are more committed, engaged and fulfilled.

If you want to improve performance, increase profits and have customers that love you and recommend you – then be sure to first engage your people.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Dr Sue Mitchell, author of The Authority Guide to Engaging your People.