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Why Engaged Employees Are Essential to Customer Experience

Nicole Klemp
Nicole Klemp

Frontline employees like service technicians, nurses, and sales associates are the face of your organization, and the level of service they provide your customers can make or break the experience. When employees are disengaged, their dedication to customer care (or the sheer ability to provide it) is often lacking. This can harm your brand reputation, negatively impact your bottom line, or worse, become a safety issue.

In the healthcare field, for example, nurses who are “least engaged”—according to research from the National Institute of Health—are more likely to describe quality of care on their unit as fair or poor, and to grade patient safety as poor or failing. They’re also not as confident that patients can manage their own care once they’re discharged, or that management will resolve patient care problems. (On the flipside, business units with higher levels of engagement have 58 percent fewer patient safety incidents, according to a recent Gallup report.)

[bctt tweet=”“Healthcare business units with higher levels of employee engagement have 58% fewer patient safety incidents.”” username=”emplify”]

Engaged employees are customer service heroes.

Want to know what an engaged employee looks like? If you live near a Wegmans grocery store, you can probably just walk in there and meet one. The chain has become known as a great place to shop and work. Wegmans has been called the best supermarket chain in the U.S. and was ranked #2 (amongst “offline” brands) on Engagement Lab’s Most Loved Brands of 2017 list. They credit much of their success to their people, and make meeting employee needs a top priority.

“If we meet the needs of our employees, they will take care of our customers,” said Jack Depeters, Wegmans SVP of store operations, in his interview with Fortune. “Every year, thousands of customers share amazing stories about our employees and the incredible service they provide.”

It’s no coincidence that Wegmans has both engaged employees and loyal customers. Companies with engaged employees report 2.5 times more revenue than competitors with low engagement levels. Which makes sense, since 68 percent of consumers would actually pay more for a product or service if it meant getting a better customer experience, according to research by Podium.

[bctt tweet=”“Companies with engaged employees report 2.5x more revenue than competitors with low engagement levels.”” username=”emplify”]

Make sure frontline employees are heard—and actually address their problems.

Oftentimes, engagement issues stem from problems or roadblocks an employee is encountering that their employer has failed to address (even after the employee has raised concerns). Listening to employees is critical—perhaps even more so when it comes to customer-facing employees—as they’ll be more in tune with customer needs, and will have a unique perspective on areas of improvement for the business. Soliciting feedback from employees (and actually using it) can give your organization insight into potential areas of improvement, and help employees feel like their voices are being heard, which will boost engagement. It’s a win-win.

Our customer T-H Marine is a great example of using employee feedback to drive better business outcomes. When they discovered their production team felt underutilized on a specific production process, T-H Marine purchased more advanced equipment for employees, decreasing the time to complete a critical task by 30 percent. By addressing this pain point, they’ve been able to add $3.8 million in new product production capacity … an achievement that can be directly attributed to employee feedback.

Can’t get enough of this employee engagement stuff?

We’ve got you covered. We boiled down the data from 12,000 workers across all types of companies, industries, and locations to bring you some actionable, easy-to-digest insights in our Employee Engagement Trends and Indexes: Q1 2018 Report.

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