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Oct 3, 2012

How Employee Engagement Builds Customer Loyalty

“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” -Walt Disney

If we think back on our favorite memories at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, more often than not, these memories involve kind and talented cast members. It is these passionate, warm-hearted, and talented people who attract millions of people back to the parks to see them do it again and again. They even bring their friends to show them how well Disney does what it does.

It is in every company’s best interest to provide superior customer service so that their customers, whether they are businesses or individuals, return the favor with their loyalty. This loyalty leads to word-of-mouth advertising, and also creates strong and lasting relationships.

To improve customer experience, you can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in high tech and user-friendly CRM (customer relationship management) software. You can even use powerful marketing tactics to build compelling office and/or store spaces. However, at the end of the day, it all comes back down to this simple fact: you need people to solve people problems.

You need engaged employees to engage customers.

As a leader, what can you do to ensure your front-line employees create exceptional customer experience time after time? How do you engage your employees in a way that motivates them to treat all your customers with kindness and respect – even after a long day? Allow me to outline a few ideas:

Build a strong and positive corporate culture.

Culture should be people-focused, not profit-focused.

It is intuitive to look at the bottom-line to measure results because it is a clear indicator of ROI (return on investment). However, it is the people who drive the profits – not the other way around. Employees are your most valuable and most promising asset. Invest time in them.

Front-line employees are as successful as how well they are treated.

Enthusiasm rubs off on other employees, and so does petulance. You cannot expect sales associates or customer service representatives to treat customers with kindness and respect unless their peers treat them considerately. The only way to ensure that everyone in the organization treats each other with kindness and respect is to create a strong culture. Maintaining a strong and positive culture should transcend financial goals.

Engage Your Employees

Appreciate employees for any job well done.

Don’t let good work or kind attitudes go unnoticed. Send them Kudos of appreciation. Make recognition specific, timely, and meaningful by connecting their action or behavior to company goals. Surprise your employees at how observant and encouraging you are. Engaged employees go the extra mile to deliver. Show them how much you appreciate and respect them, and they will appreciate and respect your customers.

Implement well-managed recognition programs.

Implement programs that reward employees for performing well and for recognizing and appreciating one another that can be used on a daily basis. Kudos makes this as simple as can be. Reward your top Kudos Receivers and Senders. Emphasize the importance of taking the time to recognize and appreciate peers for helping with a task, going out of their way to achieve a goal, or doing a great job on a task. This is how you engage teams and build culture.

Share Product and Industry Knowledge

The best customer-facing employees are passionate product- and industry-experts.

If you want customers to trust you, they need to feel as though you know what you are talking about. Hire customer-facing employees that are passionate about your product and industry. Help employees stay up-to-date on industry news and product updates. Use Kudos Wikis to share tips and relative information frequently.

Encourage employees to share knowledge with each other.

Make it part of weekly meetings for employees to share with the team something they recently learned about the product or industry. Perhaps they can take turns, and each week, one of them will share an interesting news article they read the previous week. Save these articles as Quick Links or Wikis on your Kudos account! This frequent sharing of knowledge will encourage a team player attitude and keep the company’s major goals in the forefront of their minds.

Become a customer-focused organization.

When you have established a strong ‘people’ culture, and are continually training passionate, happy and knowledgeable employees, turn this positive energy to create exceptional customer experience. Make it a primary company goal to deliver great service and other company goals will follow. It is often said: “the customer is always right.” The fact is that customers determine a company’s success. Customers aren’t as impressed with impeccable products as they are with the service they receive when their product doesn’t live up to their expectations. To help your customers, build your people.

Entice your customers to come back to see you do it again, and bring their friends to show how well you do what you do. The Walt Disney Company may call their secret to success ‘magic’ or ‘pixie dust’, but we call it by a different name. We call it engagement.

Tom Short

Tom Short is the President and Co-Founder of Kudos Inc, where he is pioneering his vision for an industry leading recognition and engagement SaaS solution. Tom’s expertise in branding, marketing strategy and cloud-based SaaS development allows him to chase his passion of changing the world one thank you at a time. When he’s not showing the world that recognition matters, Tom enjoys coaching football, the Black Keys and a steaming vanilla latte to start his day.

Other posts by:
Tom Short

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