“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”
–Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup
A company is doing something right if both their employees and customers are happy. We know about the importance of culture in building sustainable employee satisfaction, and the importance of customer satisfaction. But, as Doug Conant suggests, is there also a connection between the two?
The short answer is yes, and a strong connection at that. Delivering a positive customer experience is crucial to your business: “Give customers a great experience and they’ll buy more, be more loyal and share their experience with friends,” noted a recent PwC study, which found that “73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.”
So we’ve outlined an important — and often overlooked — way to ensure positive customer experiences: build a culture that keeps employees motivated and engaged. Our culture report breaks it down. Download it here.
‘Two sides of the same coin’
It’s not just speculation: these two elements really are deeply connected. A recent Harvard Business Review article cites a Glassdoor study which found that “a happier workforce is clearly associated with companies’ ability to deliver better customer satisfaction,” and cautioned businesses that “our research reminds business leaders that becoming more customer-oriented while allowing workplace morale to suffer is a poor and short-sighted strategy. Instead, customer and employee satisfaction should be seen as two sides of the same coin.”
The link between employee and customer satisfaction shows that culture affects your bottom line. “For decades, organizational research has shown a correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction in situations where employees are in direct contact with customers,” writes CultureIQ Principal Strategist Paul Mastrangelo in HR.com. A study conducted by Washington State University determined that customer satisfaction is directly linked to employee satisfaction and that financial success is directly linked to customer satisfaction.
Businesses with great customer service understand getting culture right, Customer Experience Futurist Blake Morgan writes in her Forbes article on the “10 most customer-obsessed companies of 2019.” She writes that “successful organizations invest in empowering their employees and provide them with the right tools and culture to succeed.”
Satisfied customers give employees purpose, dignity
It’s a win-win. While engaged employees lead to satisfied customers, the opposite is also true. Satisfied customers also play a role in creating a strong cultural foundation of purpose and dignity among employees. .While it’s important to learn from negative customer experiences, success stories with customers should also be highlighted and recognized to motivate employees and drive engagement.
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Learn how top companies engage their employeesDownload the report
Engagement Matters for All Employees
It’s easy to understand the connection between engagement in customer-facing positions (like sales and customer service) and customer satisfaction. However, it’s also important that those behind the scenes are engaged and dedicated to providing the best experience for customers. This starts with your people managers.
According to a Tower Watson study, managers are a crucial driver for the culture and engagement in a company. Therefore, it’s necessary that they themselves are engaged and empowered to bring about positive behaviors.
This creates a ripple effect in the organization: when managers are engaged, those reporting to them are more likely to be engaged, and the customers interacting with these employees are more likely to be satisfied.
Unfortunately, studies indicate that those in customer-facing roles experience lower engagement. This is why a “one-size-fits-all” approach does not work for engagement or customer satisfaction. It’s important to understand the causes and hindrances of engagement within specific groups and levels, and what that means for customer satisfaction. This leads to the next point: how are these factors interacting in your company?
Tracking and Optimizing the Connection
While the link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction has been proven in numerous studies, it’s important to study how these two factors are playing out in your organization. Here’s how to do it in three steps.
Step 1: Track NPS
As previously explained, tracking your customer Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) and your employee NetPromoter Score (eNPS) on a regular basis is a good place to start.
Step 2: Analyze Results
Don’t stop there — dive deeper into group-level analytics to understand how the metrics are affecting each other and what you can do to improve the two.
Step 3: Understand Your Results with Feedback
Finally, in order to optimize the connection between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, all employees should feel empowered to contribute feedback about their personal experience and the customer experience. You can do this with ongoing employee engagement surveys.
Learn more on the tie between strong cultures and engaged employees. Download our free report.