You’ve probably heard this before, but engaged, happy employees help create engaged, happy customers. Global agency BI Worldwide conducted a study finding that 55% of dissatisfied employees still try to provide customers with a good experience. But when employees are happy, feeling like a member of a team rather than a body filling a seat, that number jumps to 87%. Ultimately, satisfied employees work harder to interact and communicate with customers, strive to fit your brand voice and achieve its goals, and are more proactive in drawing customers in and keeping them loyal to your business.
So when you’re working on creating a customer engagement strategy, start by prioritizing your employees’ satisfaction on the job.
Create a work environment where staff is encouraged to speak up
An inability to provide honest feedback breeds resentment in employees, and even if you truly want to hear from your staff, the average person is always a bit uncomfortable speaking up unless you actively encourage them to do so. If you do the following regularly, you’ll begin to create a cooperative environment where the people closest to tasks that you likely don’t handle all the time are willing to help you make your business better:
- Ask for opinions on how the business is currently being run, and input on ways to make operations more efficient; then, follow up with action
- Admit your mistakes when they happen to show employees that you don’t view yourself as infallible
- Actively listen when an employee comes to you with an issue or idea
- Set up regular, anonymous surveys as well as team meetings to encourage your staff to evaluate current operations and discuss new concepts openly
Be the example
If you aren’t engaging with customers and your staff, you can’t expect anyone else to do so. Treat both customers and employees with care, understanding, and interest, becoming the example for how you want your team to interact with each other and your clientele. Studies have found that when business leaders model the kind of behavior they’re asking of their staff, the team is 55% more likely to mirror that behavior.
Have fun together …
You don’t have to drag employees out to a campsite to complete a set of textbook team building exercises, but you should encourage ways for your team to connect during and after hours. If you’re in the middle of inventory and working late into the night, buy the team pizza, crank up some music, and try to make it fun. Organize a softball team and join a local tournament, set up cook-off style potlucks for lunches, and host picnics for employees and their families.
… and volunteer together
Volunteering as a group engages employees and improves business visibility in your community. Organize a car wash to support the local animal shelter or have employees put together school supply bags for the town’s elementary school students. But the best volunteering idea? Ask your employees what organizations or movements they’re interested in and passionate about, and then work together to find ways for your team to help that cause.
As with customer engagement, there are myriads of ways to make employees feel as if they have a stake in your business. The secret is to treat them like a team instead of a ‘worker bee’ and ask them what they need to feel more involved with the business. Then, act on that. In turn, your employees will work harder to keep your customers happy and they’ll be eager to participate in and with your brand.