Customer interactions are influenced by a range of factors that we can’t control. Take your typical grocery cashier as an example. In a work day he may face deep lines with overloaded carts, his break relief may be late, a customer might argue over a price of a roast and he didn’t get a thank you for wrestling that 20kg bag of kitty litter from the bottom of an elderly woman’s cart. He’s at work doing the job, but he’s counting down the minutes till he can punch out. This might not be everyone’s experience, but it’s a good example of how the quality of a customer interaction might be affected by the cashier’s quality of life at work.
Let’s expand the example to our own lives. What allows us to do our jobs well? That answer may differ depending on your family situation, personality or financial needs and it’s up to a company to listen and use those answers to influence corporate culture.
“A company’s culture and a company’s brand are really just two sides of the same coin.”
— Tony Hsieh, CEO and Founder, Zappos
No matter which role your employee is performing, from answering an e-mail to scanning the price of a frozen dinner, you want the people representing your brand to feel their best while doing it. When your employees feel good your customers are going to get the best experience and those experiences are often broadcasted over the internet and social media for millions to read and comment on. Customer service is no longer about how quickly you can serve the customer, but how you can use that interaction to create loyalty and have that customer return.
A 2011 Employee Engagement study by global consulting firm BlessingWhite found that engaged employees plan to stay for what they give, the disengaged stay for what they get; and employees worldwide view opportunities to apply their talents, career development and training as top drivers of job satisfaction. Leaders must embrace the idea that employees are an integral element to be served and creating a happier work environment starts with actively listening to what they need and value. By investing in process, technology and culture you can create great employee experiences which will translate to great customer experiences and happy customers.