How Employee Satisfaction Can Improve Customer Service
By Richard D. Hanks Chairman and President, Mindshare Technologies | October 28, 2008
All businesses depend on employees to deliver quality service. For most businesses, improving customer service levels is more important than providing a good product. It is wise to remember Sam Walton's famous adage, "There is only one boss, the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else."
Research clearly shows a link between employee performance and customer satisfaction. Put in the reverse, your customer satisfaction level accurately reflects your employees' performance. Thus, who better than your customers to let you know how effective your internal processes are at providing the appropriate levels of customer service?
How then, does a company improve employee performance? By measuring it. Businesses that are effective at monitoring and modifying employee behavior will be able to enhance customer satisfaction. According to Bill Gates, "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."
Good employees want to be held accountable. According to Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, an employee's sense of purpose within the company is a key factor in providing excellent service. An effective employee measurement program will allow customers to comment on individual employee performance, which gives the employee an objective measurement of their service delivery. In turn, managers can then fine-tune training to the individual employee, making them much more effective at their job and giving them a clear sense of purpose.
At Mindshare we provide automated customer feedback across more than 20 service industries, which gives us a front-row seat to a wide range of customers' perceptions of service. For example, let's take "Chatty Cathy" case in the Salon industry. It's a fact that many people go to the barbershop or beauty salon for two main reasons: (1) Get a haircut, and (2) engage in pleasant conversation with a stylist. A talkative, chatting stylist fits this need exactly. But some of us just want to be left alone. A haircut is a time of thoughtful contemplation about ... well, nothing. How do the truly great salon companies use this need to their advantage? They note the customer's preference each time they visit, and then meet those expectations. Some even go so far as to ask the customer if "he or she feels like talking today?"
In Mindshare's experience, the practical application of improving customer service is fairly simple: