Let’s continue our “employee series” with a discussion of the impact of employee satisfaction on customer experience. The research I directed last year (http://bit.ly/oDzXg8) showed that 79% of US employees surveyed say they are loyal employees. Banking employees are the most loyal (87%) and Credit Card company employees the least (70%). But that loyalty doesn’t count for much. The research also revealed that just 65% of employees are satisfied with their jobs and plan on staying for at least a year, just 63% would recommend doing business with their company, and 41% would switch companies for a 10% increase in pay. The post-recessionary situation may be even worse than that. A 2010 survey by job-placement firm Manpower (http://bit.ly/q5SwbC) reported that 84% of US employees were planning on looking for a new position in 2011. That’s a lot of knowledge and experience jumping ship!
The recent lack of opportunity produced by the recession is not the only reason for employee restlessness. Nearly half of employees (44%) do not believe their company values them as an employee, and more than 30% say that their companies have reduced investment in their tools and training over the last three years (see http://wp.me/p1CnRN-2F for more on this). So even if they say they are loyal and plan to stay in place, how well can we expect employees to serve customers when they don’t feel valued or equipped?
Lack of autonomy is a major reason for employee dissatisfaction. 28% of employees say they are not empowered to resolve customer problems, and that percentage has increased during the recession. The most significant decline was in Satellite/Cable, where employees reported a 23% drop in empowerment over the last year. In the leading industry, Technology, just 20% of employees said they were not fully empowered. Across industries, however, 84% of employees said they would rather be empowered and held accountable vs. someone else being responsible for handling customer’s’ issues, and 71% said they would rather be given the time and tools to solve complicated problems themselves versus transferring a customer with a complicated problem to a special help desk.
My research also showed that customers consistently value “knowledgeable employees” who “treat me like a valued customer” and “addresses my needs on first contact” (http://bit.ly/mzJhTg). Companies therefore need to create a culture where employees can truly focus on these requirements. To do so, they need to develop metrics and incentives that look beyond cost-control and encourage first-contact resolution of customer problems. They need to establish policies and processes that empower employees to take the initiative in meeting customer needs. Most of all, companies need to train, equip, empower and engage employees to make them feel valued and discourage “ship jumping”. In short, companies can only expect to improve the customer experience if they work to improve the employee experience.