Employee Engagement

How Investing in Employees Improves Your Customer Experience

February 19, 2021
November 7, 2023
John Allen
Lattice Team

This story is a guest contribution from RingCentral, a global video messaging and virtual phone systems provider. Learn more about their offerings here.

Plenty of businesses invest in the customer side of their business. They spend money on surveys, CRM systems, and other expenses. But there often isn’t the same level of investment in keeping employees happy.

Customer happiness and employee happiness aren’t mutually exclusive. Happy employees are more likely to deliver excellent service and enhance the customer experience. On the flip side, happier customers usually mean fewer fire drills and tough conversations — and happier employees.

Having strategies and policies in place that treat employee and client satisfaction as equal can drive business growth. We’ll look at seven tactics that help you get there.

1. Create a CS-HR joint task force.

Start by creating a joint task force to focus on customer and employee experience, combining staff from your HR, sales, and customer service departments. This allows employees to align the needs and wants of each group and to focus on combined goals. You’ll also find that this team is more likely to lead to improved customer and employee experiences.

In cases where team members are in different locations, investigate which communication methods work best for them. Instant messaging tools, virtual conferencing, and phone systems can all play a pivotal role in bringing your teammates together.

Another area that this task force can look at is employee knowledge. When a customer contacts your company with a query, they expect an instant response where possible. Equipping employees with the knowledge they need will — no surprise — improve customers’ experience. That’s especially true when employees have personal experience of those products and can relate their perspective.

2. Identify and prioritize employee needs.

One of the first tasks you should undertake is to identify your employees’ needs. Send an engagement survey, potentially including Likert scale prompts like:

  1. I feel recognized for my hard work and successes at work.
  2. I’ve received the training and resources I need to best support clients.
  3. My manager demonstrates an interest in my well-being.
  4. I believe that my workload is reasonable for my role.
  5. I find that my values and the organization’s values are similar.

These are just some examples. For a full list of ideas, download Lattice’s engagement survey template. Even in taking this simple step, you’re demonstrating that you’re willing to listen to employees, likely already improving their experience and view of the company.

Once the survey has ended, analyze the results and start prioritizing concerns. Were there any troubling discrepancies among a specific group of employees? Were the highest performers more or less engaged than their peers? Once you’ve addressed how you’ll resolve these issues, communicate next steps clearly at an all-hands meeting or in a company-wide email. 

3. Look at learning tools.

1. Listening Stations 

One technique that can help employees understand customer needs and experiences is to set up listening stations. These could be set up in physical locations where possible or virtually using video conferencing or other tools. They allow your staff to listen to real customers speak directly and to hear about challenges, issues, and successes. This technique could also utilize communication tools such as conference dialing to allow easy access to customer calls for training.

2. Customer Rooms

A customer room uses visual information to try and depict the customer’s experience and journey so that employees can better understand it. It can be a useful training tool for management and staff, especially when the company wants to bring about fundamental changes in how they deliver the customer experience.

Investigate whether any software can assist in and enhance this process. Just like there are useful tools for other business elements, such as product lifecycle management software, there are tools that may help employees better understand the customer experiences. 

4. Define and emphasize the five competencies.

By integrating these five competencies into your company culture, you enhance your customers’ experience and contribute to greater workplace satisfaction.

  1. Identify and define the stages of your customer experience.
  2. Leverage customer feedback to motivate your team.
  3. Avoid compartmentalization within the company. Share experiences, accountability, and success. 
  4. View your customers — and your team — as differentiators. Companies who invest in either will see ROI.
  5. Avoid having a fragmented company culture. Even though different departments or teams have different responsibilities, having the entire workforce share one belief or vision can enhance employee happiness as well as leading to better customer experiences. 

The last of those competencies is worth focusing on. Your company will have some sort of vision underpinning it. The core principle could be something like, “we want to provide the best sports shoes on the market.” But that core vision should have secondary and even tertiary levels. “We want to provide the best customer service” or “we want to provide the best value for money.”

When your team shares that vision and your culture is built around it, they will do everything they can to make it happen. That means going the extra mile for a customer, thinking outside the box, and more. When customers feel they are getting more than a standard scripted response, their journey is enhanced. 

6. Focus on communication and growth. 

A culture of secrecy and poor communications will lead to poor employee experience. Being transparent about both issues and successes will build employee trust and, in turn, your client experience.

Consider the relationship between employee and customer as symbiotic. If there is transparency within your organization and a high level of satisfaction, employees will put more effort into their work. This means they communicate better with customers and provide a better service. — leading to a better experience and higher rates of retention and loyalty.

Part of improving the communication for both employees and clients is to examine all avenues of communication. Some solutions include internal messaging apps, video and phone conferencing, and more. Make sure that any announcements relevant to all employees are promptly sent or disseminated company-wide. Keep all lines and options open, and evolving to meet your needs.

How your employees grow within the company is another factor that can lead to greater satisfaction. Are there opportunities for advancement and promotion? For training and upskilling? An employee will be happier and be more productive if they know their position within the company isn't a static one. Companies that score highest on both customer and employee satisfaction are those that offer good communication within the business and opportunities for advancement.

Investing in the happiness and well-being of your employees undoubtedly leads to an increase in the levels of customer satisfaction as part of the overall company experience. The bottom line is this: Happy employees help create happy customers, and these are the customers who return and continue to choose your products or services.

To align the two may require a transformation in your company culture as well as changes to working processes and systems, but employee satisfaction is proven to improve customer retention. That means the effort is more than worth it.