Over the years, it has been a more intuitive than provable point that employee satisfaction has a direct relationship to customer satisfaction. While it makes logical sense that unhappy employees can lead to unhappy customers, many leaders would still argue that if they produce a superior product that customers want, then they will pay for it regardless of how employees feel.
The real problem exists between the relationships of two engagement factors: employees and customers. The researchers at Gallup call this “Human Sigma” in reference to the confluence of employee and customer engagement. There are four conditions, and their research has shown consistently that they DO make a difference.
Engaged Workforce/Unengaged Customers: In this condition, employees love you and love your company but are unwilling or unable to focus that engagement on firing up customers. In some cases they may be too internally focused or perhaps the channels by which they can interact with customers are limited.
Unengaged Workforce/Engaged Customers: Here the customers are excited about what you have to offer but employees don’t feel a part of the game and as a result, are not trying to find ways to maintain and grow customer engagement.
Unengaged Workforce/Unengaged Customers: This is not a pretty picture. Here neither your workforce nor your company is particularly jazzed. Nothing good can come from this situation as it is a predictor of poor financial outcomes and a questionable future.
Engaged Workforce/ Engaged Customers: The best of both worlds. Here, customers are excited about doing business with you and employees are excited about being a part of something great. This dual engagement feeds a virtuous cycle. Engaged employees find ways to engage customers who help make the experience a positive one for employees, etc.
Gallup proposes that organizations that have either engaged workforces or engaged customers show a marked improvement over those that have neither. However, when a leaders within an organization find a way to have both, they perform on major financial metrics at 240% over those who have either one or the other.
As I’ve said before, employee engagement does not have to be expensive nor complicated. Employee engagement is about understanding the needs and desires of those who follow and finding ways to link your organization to those needs and desires. There are a lot of approaches, the most simple one being to listen and pay attention. And then act.