During the nineties, consumer confidence and spending were so
strong that consulting firms were often hired without an
in-depth credential check and the assurance that their corporate
culture aligned with the hiring organizations'.
Furthermore, profits were so high at that time that many
companies settled for satisfied customers, rather than truly
engaged customers. Things have changed.
Now, with consumers spending less and competitors slashing
prices, organizations are more prudent with the choices they
make when selecting professional services firms. They are
beginning to understand it is more important than ever to create
sustaining relationships with employees and customers. Because
of this professional service firms need to incorporate these
measures to ensure business success.
View on Relationships
Customer retention/loyalty consistently ranks high in compiled
lists of CEOs' top concerns. Furthermore, our research on
engagement has proven that a company's financial health is
directly tied to how well they engage employees and customers.
In this economy it's especially important for organizations to
build stronger relationships to retain current customers. To do
so, they must work to engage both employees and customers.
Professional service firms that understand that long-term
profitability depends on exceptional customer service leading to
fully engaged customers will have greater success.
View on Employees
Excellent customer service begins with engaged employees. When
customer-facing employees are passionate about providing
unparalleled service, customers are more likely to enjoy their
interaction with your company. Engaged employees positively
impact your company's productivity as they win over fully
How should engaged employees be defined? First and foremost,
they should be characterized by their loyalty. Engaged employees
will stay with their current employer because they are
passionate about their job. They feel appreciated at work, and
they're sure management values their opinions. Engaged employees
will also put extra effort into their work. If asked about their
job, they will recommend the company they work for.
It is extremely important to engage the employees who are
delivering the customer experience. When these employees are
engaged, their passion and genuine dedication to their work win
over and create engaged customers. And engaged customers are
willing to buy more and recommend your business to others.
Employee engagement is pivotal across industries, but is
especially crucial in service industries, including banking,
hotels, retail, and dining. In these environments, employees
interact with customers on a daily basis and shape customers'
perceptions and attitudes.
Employee engagement analysis is most often conducted in business
environments with high "best practices" expectations,
multi-level reporting of consumer concerns, and in-place
mechanisms for employee feedback. Your employees are a rich
source of ideas on how to improve your company's procedures,
since they are on the front lines of customer service.
View on Customers
Engaged customers have a lot in common with the engaged
employees that they interact with regularly. At a basic level,
customer engagement measures the emotional connection between a
consumer and a company or brand. We define engaged customers
according to the following characteristics:
- Retention: Given the choice, Engaged Customers would choose to
do business again with a specific company.
- Effort: Engaged Customers go out of their way to do business
with their favorite companies.
- Advocacy: Engaged Customers recommend their favorite companies
- Passion: Engaged Customers love doing business with their
Customers with these characteristics bring higher ROI and
profits. Companies with high levels of customer engagement
outperform the average for their industry, as our Most Engaged
Customer Study shows.
Creating Engaged Employees and Customers
In addition to capturing employee feedback discussed above,
organizations should also be proactive in gathering customer
feedback. A customer-centric culture begins with obtaining
transaction-based feedback. There are an array of techniques for
gathering feedback, including surveys, BlogTrak, which tracks
both negative and positive posts from consumers, and one-on-one
customer service follow-ups.
Customer feedback will help your organization make appropriate
changes, but it will also have an immediate impact on two
things: Helps you win back customers who have had negative
experiences as quickly as possible. Enables you to identify and
recognize extraordinary employees who have gone "above and
beyond" expectations to wow the customer.
Businesses need more than simple data to improve their employee
relationships and grow customer loyalty. It is necessary in this
economic climate to gather information you can take action on to
develop relationships that create a stronger, long-term backbone
for the company.
About the Author
Companies interested in creating positive customer
engagements as a long-term, affective business strategy are
encouraged to contact
PeopleMetrics, an engagement professional service for
employee and customer interaction.