Yesterday we discussed the importance of delivering positively memorable experiences for customers as a key part of an action plan to combat various challenges small business owners are and will be facing during a period of economic uncertainty. Without a doubt, customers will keep a tighter grip on their wallets, but I do believe they will still frequent businesses for more than just necessities. So, the customer experience is paramount to ensure customers come to your business and return again and again.
As employees are instrumental in creating and delivering the customer experience, what would happen if an employee were unhappy, dissatisfied or disgruntled? Would they be capable of delivering a positively memorable experience? Could their attitude be detrimental to the business? Of course, we know the answers to both questions but sadly, these employees are on the front line of many businesses today. Even more so is that they most likely didn’t have a bad attitude when they were first hired.
It’s been said that a salesperson is more successful if they believe in the product they’re selling. Is that also the case of the restaurant server or retail clerk? Of course, it is. Although, it’s not as much about believing in the product as it is about what they themselves see happening within the business, how management treats employees and its philosophy about customer service and the customer experience, and the mindset around the physical condition of the restaurant or store.
Also affecting the employee experience are lack of opportunities to progress in their positions and within the company itself, to participate in discussions about improvements in day-to-day operations, and to be listened to about customer needs and desires. Employees want to be part of the solution and not always just the front person dealing with customer problems.
Customer loyalty to the business certainly goes a long way to generating repeat business and referrals but can customer loyalty be achieved without a personal connection? What motivates a customer to return to a business? A great looking building? Clean restrooms? Or even just great food or service? Sure, those may be contributing factors, but it’s not enough to ensure customer loyalty if there’s not a personal connection – one that both delivers and extends the customer experience.
As fragile as customer loyalty may be, it is even more so without a personal connection. If a personal connection is absent and something goes wrong during a store or restaurant visit, it will certainly affect the customer’s opinion and potentially cause a customer to visit less or try another business. A personal connection creates a relationship, a bond. One that if something does go wrong, a customer would be almost apologetic in complaining. It often becomes a conversation with suggestions instead of one rife with confrontation.
The bottom line is that the brand, or the physical aspect of the business may attract a customer, but the customer ultimately wants to do business with individuals representing the business, and the customer’s best interests. Customers like the familiarity established in the relationship. They love when they’re immediately recognized as they walk in the door. They love when they’re ushered to their favorite table, and without asking. They love when they receive this personal attention.
Creating an environment where a positive experience is created at all times for employees is essential to business success, and especially at a time when employee loyalty is becoming harder and harder to find. It’s more than just throwing money at employees. Sure, money helps, but not without the employee being happy. Correction, being satisfied and feeling good about all that surrounds their job. And being inspired and motivated to want to do more.
Facts and Questions to be Considered
According to Gallup, businesses with higher levels of employee engagement showed 21% more profitability and 17% more productivity.
A recent study from Deloitte found that 80% of executives said they consider the employee experience to be either very important or important, yet only 22% reported that their organizations did an excellent job of creating a differentiated experience for employees.
What defines employee experience? Employee experience is an employee’s perceptions about his or her journey through all the touchpoints at a particular company, starting with job candidacy through to the exit from the company.
What contributes to a positive employee experience? HR experts say improving the employee experience is about more than simply gathering feedback during an annual review. Organizations need to value employees, consistently listen to their needs, and continuously take action to truly improve employee experience.
What is the goal of employee experience? The purpose of employee experience is for companies and their employees to work together to improve individual, team and company performance, providing the employees with a high-quality physical, cultural and technological environment.
Why is it important to have a positive employee? In interacting with others, an employee exhibiting positive energy is cheerful, respectful, and polite. They are also approachable and engaging as opposed to inaccessible and despondent. The attitude necessary for possessing positive energy is being grateful to be part of the team.
What does it take to make employee experience extraordinary? Invest in good technology. Good technology (specifically, a good communications tool) will enable streamlining of communication and processes and improve company culture and engagement. Encourage honest dialogue. Make every moment count. Enable managers. Of course, there’s more but this a great start.
We’ve only scratched the surface today. Tomorrow I’ll expand upon the employee experience and highlight how developing the right culture becomes the foundation from which to build a solid experience factor into a company’s business model. I’ll also be re-introducing what I refer to as the ‘experience journey’ and how it can be used to gauge and improve the experience factor.
Final Thought for Today
A lot of effort goes into developing the correct product mix and service offering. A great deal of money is invested in building a beautiful building, inside and out. A lot of attention is directed at the details necessary to build a successful business. But an experience factor FOR ALL who “participate” in the business from all sides is often an afterthought yet is critical to business success. Maybe even more so during challenging times.
Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!
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The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important. So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate. You can reach me by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com and also at Entrepreneurship411.com.