If companies wish to improve the quality of the service they provide to their customers, they should not forget the human factor. The more they involve their staff directly in what the company is trying to do, the more likely those employees are to convey the right image to customers.

"Employee Engagement" a Key Factor in Customer Relations

Company productivity and customer service quality do not only depend on the company’s business activities and the policies it sets. It goes without saying that the firm’s employees have a major impact on these outcomes and a recently-published study - The Five I’s of Employee Engagement - by Massachusetts-based customer experience (CX) research and consulting firm Tempkin Group, points out how important in this respect is the level of employee engagement. The five keywords are: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent(ivise). The Tempkin report underlines that while three quarters of the employees at companies that are rated as providing a high-quality customer service say they are highly or moderately engaged in the company’s CX efforts, only 30% of employees at companies where customer relations are assessed as poor describe themselves this way.

The Five ‘I’s of Employee Engagement

Employees who are engaged in their company’s CX efforts are also 3.5 times more likely than non-engaged employees to act in the interests of their company even when not asked to, 3.5 times more likely to recommend improvements, and 5.8 times more committed to the success of their firms. The study, based on interviews with 20+ companies, puts forward a list of 25 best practices for getting employees fully involved in their firms. Regarding the imperative to ‘Inform’, Tempkin stresses the need to “provide employees with the information they need to understand the organisation’s vision and brand values along with how customers feel about the organisation.” Under the heading ‘Inspire’, the report advocates a number of best practices that will enable companies to “connect employees to the organisation’s vision and values, so that they believe these matter and take pride in the job and the organisation.”

Assessing engagement                                                              

By ‘Instruct’, the report means that companies need to “support employees with the training, coaching and feedback they need to successfully deliver the organisation’s brand promises to customers.” ‘Involve’ implies that, among other things, the company should “take action with employees when designing their jobs, improving work processes, and solving problems identified through customer or employee feedback.” Finally, says Tempkin, companies ought to ‘Incent’(ivise), which means deploying “appropriate systems to measure, reward and reinforce desired employee behaviours and motivate employees to give their best.” The study points out however that only 35% of large firms received high marks for their employee engagement efforts.