Why Employee Engagement is Crucial For a Better Customer Experience

Por Dario Melpignano, CEO and Founder at Neosperience Spa | Digital Customer Experience Executive | Entrepreneur and Investor

Is your employee crucial to deliver a better customer experience? Many companies still think that client satisfaction is a mere result of their outward-facing strategy. Sure, engaged and loyal customers are essential to ensure profitability, but if you forget inner areas of improvement, then you miss a piece of the puzzle. That piece is employee engagement, a key element to enhance the overall performance of your company, customer experience included.

In a recent article, Brian Solis proclaimed that you should stop focusing on the customer only, if you really want to deliver great customer experiences. Of course the customer is still the core of every marketing strategy, even more so in the Age of the Customer. That is a provocative statement, to point out that successful digital transformation is multifaceted and requires a deep change in all aspects of your organization. Back to the opening question: how much is employee engagement relevant to improve digital customer experience?

To say it with Solis, “the entire service-profit chain begins with, and absolutely depends on, engaged employees”. If employees aren’t truly engaged, that dissatisfaction impacts on the outcome, namely the customer experience. When that happens, no matter how much effort you put into your client engagement campaign and customer journey improvement, the whole experience is likely to be unsatisfying and inadequate.

One figure gives us an idea of how much this topic is considered crucial by managers and entrepreneurs. According to a report by Bersin & Associates, today companies spend over 720 million dollars each year on employee engagement programs, a total that’s projected to rise to over $1.5 billion in the next few years.

And yet, according to a second research by Gallup, actual engagement is now at record lows, falling down to a mere 13%. How is this mismatch possible? Even though digital leaders know that engaged employees would benefit their organizations, often than not they simply don’t know how to get their workforce to buy in and take part in the change. So, probably, they’re putting their money in the wrong places.

Truth is, sometimes there is no even agreement on what ‘employee engagement’ really means. We can define it as the approach designed to ensure that employees are fully committed to their company’s core values, and motivated to contribute to organizational success. In the digital era, your employee is your first customer: loyalty and engagement become priority for an holistic marketing strategy.

How to reach this goal, that’s the question. It’s clear that relying just on a traditional surveys is not the answer. Here are few suggestions on how to build an integrated approach, capable to measure real-time and give you insights to drive high levels of commitment.

  • Share brand purpose – a recent survey found out that only 40% of workforce knows their company’s goals, tactics and strategies. Employees will never be engaged if they don’t know what they’re working for. Start by discovering your true why, find your archetype, include people into your brand identity and narrate your company storytelling internally.
  • Empower your people – 75% of people voluntarily leaving jobs don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. Traditional engagement must be replaced with a new approach, aimed at empowering employees. Be sure that you are always able to inspire and support them, enable them to learn and constantly grow, and offer the opportunity to develop their strengths.
  • Adopt new tools: a new approach means new tools to support your strategy. Surveys are not going away anytime soon, but they are being slowly replaced by techniques that measure commitment and satisfaction in real time. An analytics dashboard can guide you through this amount of data to shape a powerful daily engagement routine.
  • Use Gamification: 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies already use gamification to boost engagement, retention and revenues. The importance of games to improve customer loyalty is now undeniable, but game dynamics can be also used internally to motivate employees, inspire right behaviors and reward success. B2B gamification, of course, must be tailored to your specific business and supported by a platform to analyze all information gathered.

Involvement, commitment, productivity: these are the key takeaways of a well-designed employee engagement approach. Ultimately you must understand that employees are the essence of the products and services you sell, and they develop and deliver your customer experience every day.