Make Your Employees the CEOs of Every Customer Moment

Can you do more with less? Sometimes… but not when it comes to people pleasing people! Yes. You read that right: not when it comes to a person who has the difficult job of trying to please other humans. Everyone is trying to do more with less. Employee engagement is the best way to achieve more (as in, more sales, more profits, happier customers) is with a workforce that’s more—not less—engaged.

Unfortunately, less than stellar engagement appears to be the norm. Recent research by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) shows that “89% of companies ranked employee engagement as an important priority, and yet just 25% of them consider their agents to be extremely engaged.”

This disconnect is becoming more and more important to recognize.

Here are three things to think about:

  • Unengaged employees are expensive!
  • The “Experience Generation” is beginning to drive a new customer experience game, and like it or not, you’re already playing.
  • Positive experiences, both for the customer and the employee, are critical drivers for success.

Let’s take a closer look to each of these elements in more detail.

Unengaged Employees Are Expensive

Aside from the obvious costs associated with losing customers, a disengaged workforce can drive loss in other key areas such as:

  • Lowered performance metrics (customer satisfaction, NPS, etc.)
  • Chronic low morale and absenteeism
  • Higher attrition rates

To put it in real terms, McLean and Company stated, “Disengaged employees cost organizations an average of $3,400 USD a year for every $10,000 USD in annual salary.” Depending on the size of your workforce, that can have a big impact on your bottom line.

It’s a New Game, and Customers are Making All the Rules

According to Sheryl Kingstone from 451 Research, the “Experience Generation” is changing the game for businesses to deliver a new “ideal” customer experience. Selfies and stories, snapchats, and influence stats grab the attention of digitally enthralled consumers… and they feel compelled to share their personal perspectives with the world. They expect service on their terms. Good experiences, not price, are the battleground for success. Empowered employees are, without question, the most effective soldiers on your front lines.

Positive Experiences for Both Customers and Employees

Here’s a real-life example: I received a fraud alert text message from my bank. Scary! I quickly got online, checked my balance and, sure enough, someone was enjoying a colossal shopping spree. After a quick panic and a phone call to the bank I found my lifesaver. Let’s call him Fred.

Within a few minutes, Fred filed a fraudulent charge claim, cancelled my card, and sent a new one on its way. Now, this may seem “standard,” but the way Fred handled everything was exceptional. How did he know who I was before I said a word, and that I got a fraud text at 8:22 am and what triggered it—and how did he know how to keep me calm?

Since I’m in the industry, I asked Fred for some details about his job, and here’s what he revealed:

  • His desktop pulls relevant information, provides timely screen pops, and aggregates all the information he needs to effectively take care of customers like me.
  • Fred’s group is incredibly busy, but 15 minutes of every day is set aside for “learning.”
  • Fred is rewarded for being engaged. His success wasn’t based on how fast he got me off the phone, but on how happy I was with my results.

Turns out the bank empowers its employees to please their customers in more ways than one. Fred offered me 0% APR for six months on any new purchases made on my existing credit card—a nice touch. He sounded genuinely happy to help!

The Moral of My Story

I felt good. Fred felt good. The power of humans helping humans!  Employee engagement is key. I really believe it was due to empowering the right people with the right tools and skills to do their jobs effectively. I almost expected flowers to come with my new card. That didn’t happen, but you can bet I’m telling my friends all about it. In my view, Fred acted like the CEO of my particular customer moment. By that I mean he truly drove this part of my positive customer journey and brand experience.