[Editor’s Note: As we examine the casual dining loyalty sector this month, we remain focused on the customer experience factors which drive loyalty for restaurants. One of the most significant factors, yet often overlooked, deals with the employees who work in these establishments. Our sponsor spotlight this week is from Ric Neeley of Hinda Loyalty Group and presents thought leadership surrounding the intersection of customer experience and employee experience.]
Are high turnover and poor employee experiences costing you loyal customers?
Loyalty marketers spend practically every waking moment thinking about the Customer Experience (CX). Millions are spent setting brand expectations, generating demand for products, and building loyalty apps to maintain relationships and enhance customer engagement. But consider the damage resulting from even one poor employee-customer interaction. The Gartner Group has found 68% of all customers defect because of poor service. So, all the goodwill between a brand and customer can be demolished with just one dismal employee exchange.
By: Ric Neeley
CX is a constantly evolving, moving target. Each customer transaction shapes their overall experience. Every online purchase, each blog article read, and every moment spent browsing product offerings adds to the total customer experience. But as people, we place a premium on human interactions. So, time spent talking on the phone or face-to-face with an employee is more important in shaping our perceptions of a company and their brand than almost any other interaction. This is where CX (customer experience) intersects EX (Employee Experience).
Remember, experiences do not happen in a vacuum.
People broadcast their brand encounters to their friends and family, especially those high-value human interactions. This is called the multiplier effect. Both bad and good experiences can be multiplied, but decades of surveys have consistently found people tell twice as many others about a bad customer service experience than a good one. In fact, studies find on average people will relate a bad customer service experience to sixteen people.
We have grown very good at mapping out and even managing much of the customer experience. But few companies really think about the employee experience deeply. Most simply provide a job description, some orientation and skills training, an annual review, and perks like casual Friday and a company picnic. The employee experience, however, is so much more. Essentially, the employee experience is the accrued history of their work life; the interactions with their manager and peers; the tools, technology and software they use; their working environment. EX is all those elements and moments shaping their image of the organization. It is everything demonstrating their value and importance and empowerment. But it is also each moment that reinforces corporate restrictions and management’s distrust of their decisions. Employee experience, be it positive or negative, will be reflected in their customer interactions.
46% of American workers are “seriously thinking about leaving their organization in the next 12 months”
What does it say about the employee experience when you hear stats like that? This shocking figure was revealed in a new Trendicators study after receiving responses from 5,000 U.S. workers across a variety of major industries. Let’s take just a moment to think about this…
- Employees are a company’s face to the customer
- Customers place a high value on human interactions and are more than twice as likely to share poor experience than good ones
- Nearly half the customer/employee interactions involve an employee who is seriously considering leaving the company
How engaged can an employee be who is actively looking for new opportunities and what is the risk of a poor customer experience that will be shared time and again with new prospects? What can you and your managers do to engage employees and reduce these risks?
To answer these questions, you first need to understand what employees really want from the organization. Dr. Jack Wiley has been studying this for more than three decades. He is an author, consultant, researcher, university professor, and Chief Scientific Officer at Engage2Excel. His research studies have involved over 250,000 employees in 26 major countries around the globe. In his book, “RESPECT: Delivering Results by Giving Employees What They Really Want,” he outlines the seven factors most important in creating the ideal employee experience.
Pay that is fair and equitable
Education and Career Growth
Conditions both physically and socially safe
So, at the end of the day, everyone just wants RESPECT. But that RESPECT has tangible benefits, too. Dr. Wiley’s research has found companies ranking high in RESPECT factors have employee engagement levels twice as high as poor performers and rank substantially higher in customer satisfaction ratings. Most importantly though companies in the Top 20% of the RESPECT factors generate an average Total Shareholder Return of 31.8% compared to (-18%) for those in the Bottom 20%.
Dr. Wiley’s team just released the new “Why Do Employees Leave?” study which offers some valuable insights on just what can be done to reduce voluntary turnover. It shows in 2020 the top drivers of turnover intention:
- Pay for Performance
- Confidence in the organization’s future and the employee’s future at the organization
- Belief they can achieve their career goals coupled with managerial support
- Exciting work, as reflected in the employee autonomy to complete work
The study reveals some steps to improve employee engagement and retention that demonstrate alignment with the RESPECT factors
- Learn about your employees
- Find out what fair pay means to them
- Understand what rewards they value
- Investigate what they want from their jobs
- Create two-way communications to get input and inform
- Show them you are personally invested in their growth and development
- Tailor training and development opportunities
- Ask what skills they need to develop to help them grow
- Offer flexible opportunities
- Take the time to show you care
- Offer exciting work and security
- Spend the time to make sure the person fits the job
- Increase autonomy
- Create a timeline and roadmap for achieving future goals
- Show employees they are important
This really isn’t that different from mapping out a plan for engaging and creating loyal customers. You must understand their needs. You must show them how your offerings help satisfy their needs at a good value. You must build an ongoing relationship with them. And finally, you must differentiate yourself from competitors.
Making the employee experience as satisfying as the customer experience will not only add to your bottom line by reducing your need to constantly recruit and train new employees, but it will also create CX and EX magic moments. These positive intersections will reinforce why customers choose to work with your organization and will allow employees to demonstrate their value.
Ric Neeley is a Director of Marketing for Hinda Incentives, a US-based loyalty solutions provider that helps engage, inspire, and reward the people most important to your business.
For 50 years, Hinda has managed successful reward and recognition programs in the Consumer, B2B and Employee markets. Engage2Excel is a leader in employee engagement. Both are brands in the E2E Group. For more information about Hinda, visit www.hinda.com.