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The Magic Intersection of Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction, and How Technology Can Support It

Editor’s note: This post is a snippet of an article originally published on Engagement Strategies Media. Read the full article.

In a perfect world, actively engaged employees deliver your brand promise each and every day.  They listen to customers, empathize with them, quickly resolve issues, go above and beyond to make them feel special and do it all with a smile. Delighted customers regularly return to get that special feeling only your brand can deliver. Those customers become brand advocates, telling friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances about the feeling they get from doing business with you. New customers flock to your doors. Sales explode. Stock prices rise. Competitors crumble. And all the best and brightest recruits are anxious to bring their talents and become part of your vibrant and growing organization.

Sadly, none of us lives in a perfect world.

Consider these real-world numbers:Engagement trends infographic

  • 43% of customers break up with a brand due to a poor customer experience
  • 71% of employees are not engaged in their work
  • 77% of customer defections are a direct result of employee attitude
  • 78% of customers have bailed on a transaction due to poor customer service
  • 91% of customers will never willingly do business with the offending company again
  • The cost of acquiring a new customer is 6-7 times that of keeping an existing one

These figures, compiled from multiple independent sources including Gallup, The White House Office of Consumer Affairs, the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, Lee Resources and the Maritz 2015 Employee Market Study, demonstrate just how high the stakes are each time an employee and customer interact.  This is the critical moment of truth. The point where a company either brilliantly shines and lives their brand promise or falters, leaving the customer with a lackluster experience or, worse yet, a frustrating, angry memory that sends them straight into the arms of a competitor.

Building an Emotional Connection

With all the automated customer engagement tools out there – online order-entry systems, mobile apps, chat bots, intuitive search engines – it’s easy to think of a customer interaction as a low-touch process designed to improve efficiency and satisfy customer needs at the speed of light. But those remarkable innovations only make the human connection between a living customer and a breathing employee even more critical. People have a fundamental need to connect. Customers need to see a company as responsive and filled with people who keep their promises in order to build an emotional connection to the brand. Employees crave meaningful work and need to understand how their work impacts others to give them purpose and fulfillment.

We tend to look only at how satisfying a transaction was to the customer. But customer/employee interactions are interpersonal by nature. Each is giving the other verbal and non-verbal cues to express their feelings and desires and exchange information. By expanding our thinking and looking at how satisfying the interaction was for both, we get a much deeper view of it as an interpersonal experience rather than just a simple business transaction.

Emotional connection graphic

Interpersonal business communications can run the gamut, from Process Transactions satisfying the employee in completing their day-to-day workload yet unmemorable for the customer, to the Pleasant Surprise, a random act of kindness by an employee that’s unforgettable to the customer but an everyday occurrence in the employee’s busy workday.

Or, it may be a dangerous Defection Intersection with neither customer nor employee satisfied, leaving the customer at risk and pushing the employee down a disengagement path. Finally, there are the Magic Moments where both are fully engaged. The customer is left with a delightful memory and the employee empowered and ready to take on the world. More Magic Moments mean higher [Click here to continue reading]