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Employees are key to greater customer engagement

customer engagement

Engaged employees unlock happy customers

Many organisations across the globe are implementing cultural change programs to become more customer centric (discussed in our article The 6 essential ingredients of a customer centric culture).

Not enough of those same organisations recognise that their efforts to achieve customer centricity will be sabotaged if they don’t have a highly engaged workforce.

Organisations can’t expect to have happy customers on one end of the phone line if they have unhappy employees on the other.

And employee engagement isn’t just critical to customer centricity; it’s essential for the successful execution of your strategy as it drives greater productivity and innovation. If you are serious about creating a better place to work and becoming more customer centric, effective and profitable then you need to RAMP up your employee engagement.

The evidence

Our research, based on over 1,000 customer and employee surveys and numerous research studies, uncovered the five people factors that drive profitable growth. The Profitable Growth Cycle identifies the inter-relationships between employee engagement, customer engagement, customer advocacy, and productivity and innovation. The framework examines how these levers can be pulled to achieve profitable growth.

But the cycle starts and ends with one driver – employees. Without empowered and engaged employees, customers will not be engaged and loyal, productivity and innovation will be stifled, and growth and profitability will be limited.

Employee empowerment and support

To do their jobs well while remaining aligned to the overall organisational strategy, employees must be given empowerment and support. Clearly communicated strategies, goals and expectations enable employees to act and make decisions with confidence while working towards a common goal.

Support gives employees both the capability and motivation to do their job well. Employee training and development, great internal service between departments, and both financial and non-financial reward and recognition programs will go a long way to providing employees with support and care.

Employee engagement and retention

If employees feel empowered and supported by their employer, they are more likely to be engaged and stay longer with the organisation. Three important aspects of employee engagement are linking personal goals to the organisation’s success, building employee resilience through strategies such as work-life balance and wellbeing, and fostering job satisfaction through fulfilment and job fit.

A key differentiator between low and high growth organisations is the ability to retain high performing employees. High performers lead to greater productivity, reduced recruitment and training costs, greater return on development and training investment, and greater revenue due to increased productivity and longevity of customer relationships.

Customer focus and engagement

Higher levels of employee engagement and retention lead to greater customer focus and engagement. Customer focus is the extent to which organisations really understand their customers and create value propositions that meet their needs and expectations. Seeking customer feedback is vital, as well as having systems in place that enable employees to serve customers well.

True customer engagement comes from building deep and trusted relationships and it results in customer loyalty and advocacy. Organisations that invest time and energy in understanding customer expectations, solve problems quickly and intuitively, build trust through competent employees and effective systems, and build commitment through great customer service and going above and beyond, will effectively engage their customers and build long-term profitable relationships.

Authentic leadership

Underpinning the entire Profitable Growth Cycle framework is the need for authentic leadership. The CEO and leadership must be united in their commitment and expectations for any of these initiatives to be successful. They will need to embed all elements of the Profitable Growth Cycle into their organisational culture and DNA until it becomes a way of life. The leadership team must also be clear in their communication and expectations, and be mindful to model the behaviours they expect the rest of the organisation to demonstrate.

For the full research paper, please click here.

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