People say they will pay more for a better customer experience. More importantly, they will leave to go to a competitor after a bad experience.
86% of people will pay more for a better customer experience, and 89% will go to a competitor after a bad one. Source State of Marketing Report 2015
In that same survey, three quarters of customers queried indicated they choose brands with friendly employees while only a third choose brands because they have a good reputation.
Companies that deliver a better customer experience tend to deliver better results. Watermark Consulting regularly studies the performance of companies by comparing the 8-year stock performance of customer experience leaders and laggards to the broad market S & P Index. Based on their most recent analysis:
- Customer experience leaders outperformed the broad market by 35 points.
- Customer experience laggards trailed the broader market by 45 points.
Brands are often struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing expectations of increasingly social consumers. I talked about this 8 Ways to Enable an Effective Social Shopping Experience.
It’s a new day. The traditional marketing funnel is being replaced by a dynamic buying journey. Customer’s want to deal with friendly, competent employees and they expect a seamless experience no matter when and how they choose to interact with a brand.
Marketers who want to be relevant must have engaged and friendly employees at all of the touchpoints along this buying path. So how does one go about developing engaged employees?
5 Ways To Engage Employees
- Build a culture that rewards and supports the kind of experience you want your customers to have.
Customer experience leaders have a different mindset that the broader market. For them serving their customers is more than rhetoric or a campaign, it’s a way of life.The same applies to they way they view their internal stakeholders. They understand that when employees are engaged, customers can feel the difference.
Most of us can sense the difference when dealing with a brand; we know when employees would rather be anywhere else doing anything else. It shows.
- Create an engaging employee experience from the outside in.
Use the same customer centric marketing skill sets to engage employees. By this, I don’t mean turn your employees into marketers; consider their voice and input.
Provide the tools and training to help ensure their success.5 Ways to Create an Engaging Customer Experience I offered 5 ways to create an engaging customer experience.Try shifting the focus to engaging employees. They are looking for many of these same benefits as customers.
- Use social media tools to improve productivity.
Does Social Media Make You More Productive In the Workplace? fellow contributor Tammy Fennell offers some specific ideas for improving productivity.
Community and communication are two powerful allies. With an increasing array of touch points, organizations have to find ways to share and respond if they are going to provide the seamless experience customers are expecting.Customer experience leaders tend to be more transparent and more collaborative. Collaboration and healthy communication are built and fueled by trust.
- Give your employees a voice.Marketers often talk about Voice of Customer strategies.
These are strategies designed to engage customers by listening and responding to their input.Giving employees a voice helps to build the community I spoke about earlier. As human beings, we want to feel that our input matters.
Wade Harman The Positive Psychological Employee Advocacy Program the positive psychological benefits of leveraging employee advocates.
Brands that have a different mindset view employee advocacy as an interactive exchange of information that provides helpful feedback on a plethora of topics.
Giving employees a voice typically requires some kind of assessment tool to ensure there is opportunity for objective feedback. Most healthy organizations have an ongoing objective assessment tool in place to facilitate the conversation. This will require time and resources; however, it’s an important investment.
- Grow Ambassadors
Effective customer experience marketing is built on trust not pressure. The same is true for the employee experience. Raymond Morin The Fast Growing Influence of the Social Media Ambassador creating employee ambassadors.
In this post he includes advice and some tools for creating an employee ambassador program.I want to point out that the idea behind this strategy is to create an environment and culture that is so compelling, employees want to share. There is a very fine line between providing tools that facilitate sharing and creating a program that can make employees feel pressure to sell. The later is usually not effective and often it has the opposite effect.
Planning for the Future
Increasingly brands are beginning to compete for talent. Firms are starting to realize that the landscape changes are affecting talent management and acquisition.
As I was finishing up this post my son Five things millennials look for in an employer about the five things millennials are looking for in an employer. He sent it to me because I used to work for Epsilon. Needless to say the timing was fortuitous.
I believe most of us would like to work for a company that embodies a mission-driven culture, believes in work-life balance, provides constant feedback and reinforcement, offers learning opportunities and manages talent.
Brands that recognize these characteristics and adapt now will be probably be in the customer experience leader group, assuming of course they have a decent product or service.
What are other ways to engage employees?