It may seem strange to hear that employee engagement is actually more important than the customer. How is that possible? The problems customers have don’t begin with the customer; they begin with you and your staff. Your customers can only get great service if they are working with a happy, knowledgeable staff member.
If your customers receive an experience that was just okay, they may never return to do business with you in the future. Make sure your staff is happy and your employees are engaged so that your customers’ expectations are met and your brand is consistent for them. Uninspired experiences with your brand is going to kill your success, so start thinking like you’re a customer of the brand and see how you can improve your employee engagement for the sake of your customers.
Listen to your staff
A good place to start is by listening to your employees who work on the front line with the customers. They interact with them and they may be more in tune with things that work and things that don’t more than you who works behind the scenes.
Pick their brains to see what they know that you may not, such as common complaints of customers, how they miss customers because there is never quite enough staff members to go around or how they don’t know what they could be doing in their downtime to improve the store or office. Listen and consider their points of view since they handle customer interactions on a daily basis.
Make feedback a regular thing
It’s important that you give employees feedback every six months so that they can understand where they stand with you. Are they doing a phenomenal job and have nothing to worry about? Are they struggling in certain areas and don’t even realize you have a problem with it?
They need to hear from you and be engaged with their leaders so that they can always improve or feel good about their hard work. The more often you can provide feedback, the better. Around 43% of employees that are highly engaged are getting weekly feedback while those that get it less often are less engaged. You should also take the opportunity to get feedback from your staff to see if there are issues in their daily, weekly or monthly work life that aren’t allowing them to do their job as well.
Celebrate your staff
A happy staff is a motivated staff. Sometimes they need to feel more appreciation from you for the hard work they do for you day in and day out. While a paycheck is nice, it’s expected and the only reason they work for you day in and out.
Sometimes they need something more to remember why they work with you over anyone else because they probably spend more time with you than their own family. Go the extra mile for your staff by offering catered lunches, work parties, bonuses or other gestures to let them know they are wanted. You should offer incentives for meeting goals and celebrate their achievements whether it be a monthly sales goal or individual improvement every month. Take them to lunch, gift them a gift card to take their family to dinner or give them extra vacation time.
Disengaged employees are hurting your sales
Nothing is worse than a disengaged employee. Did you know around one in ten employees is completely disengaged at work? There will be days that your staff is just not in sync or isn’t feeling well and occasionally you need to recognize this and tell your staff member to head home and get some rest. In other cases, employees are like this every day because they feel under-appreciated, underpaid or overworked.
Your customers will notice when they are not enthused to help them, rude to them or not doing anything to go the extra mile. It only takes one bad experience to scare off a customer for good, so making sure your staff is on their game every day is important.
Start your days with team meetings that offer a little fun and keep your staff feeling motivated by offering incentives, checking in regularly, offering feedback and showing your appreciation. Then, your customers will be excited to work with anyone on your staff because they feel welcomed with happy and bubbly team members.
Customers are important but they won’t be there without an engaged employee. Keep your staff happy in order to best serve your customers.