Engaged employees lead to happy customers.
There is an undeniable link between employee experience and customer experience. Companies that lead in customer experience have 60% more engaged employees, and study after study has shown that investing in employee experience impacts the customer experience and can generate a high ROI for the company. Here are 10 companies that have seen the benefit of engaging their employees to build customer experience.
“Take care of associates and they’ll take care of your customers.” -J.W.Marriott
Marriott International founder J.W. Marriott said, “Take care of associates and they’ll take care of your customers.” It still holds true at the company—employees are valued, which makes them want to share that experience with guests. Marriott publicly rewards employees for a job well done, celebrates diversity and inclusion, values loyalty, and offers a wide variety of training programs. It has been regularly rated a top place to work and a top company for customer experience.
Chick-Fil-A encourages employees to build relationships with customers
With its chicken and waffle fries, Chick-fil-A generates more revenue per restaurant than any other chain in the country. But it’s not just the food that sets the restaurant apart—it’s the employees. Franchise owners are given thorough training but also have bandwidth to explore creative ideas. Employees are encouraged to build relationships with customers because they have strong relationships with each other and with the company.
The Zappos contact center calls its team customer loyalty team members
E-commerce site Zappos is known for connecting with its customers and for responding to issues quickly. That’s likely because the company also has a great reputation for connecting with its employees. Every employee plays a role in the company’s customer-first culture—even call center employees are referred to as customer loyalty team members. When employees feel connected to and valued by the brand, they want to bring customers into the circle.
Nordstrom only asks employees to use their best judgement
Employees at Nordstrom are given just one rule in their employee handbook: “Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.” Instead of being bogged down with corporate guidance, empowered employees know they are trusted and valued. That translates to their interactions with customers and is a large reason why the “Nordstrom Way” of doing customer service is well respected.
Taco Bell provides an easy way for employees to ask for help
Fast food giant Taco Bell puts employees first by always providing them a way to contact management. The company has a network of 1-800 numbers to field complaints, answer questions, and alert management of potential red flags for its 175,000-plus employees. It also holds regular employee roundtable meetings and company-wide surveys to gage employee satisfaction. With their needs met and questions answered, employees can focus on helping customers.
Jet Blue employees are allowed to go the extra mile for customers
Jet Blue is consistently rated one of the best airlines, and a large part of that is the great customer experience. Jet Blue’s employees are given the freedom to go the extra mile to help customers. Instead of being constrained by red tape and bureaucracy, employees have power to solve problems themselves, which means they often consider customers problems to be their own. Jet Blue also fosters a spirit of collaboration and teamwork with employees that extends to customers.
Starbucks provides extensive training on how to interact with customers
Starbucks knows that happy employees lead to happy customers. The company is consistently at the top of every customer experience “best” list, and this recognition comes from taking care of its employees. Starbucks provides employees competitive wages, health benefits, and stock options. Each employee is trained not only on how to make the drinks but also how to interact with customers. The welcoming atmosphere of a Starbucks coffee shop is echoed in the company, where every employee knows they are welcomed and included.
Airbnb helps employees focus on personal growth
Airbnb’s mission statement of “Belong Anywhere” extends beyond customers to also include employees. Airbnb is invested in every aspect of its employees’ lives, not just what they do at the office. The company works to create a culture that sets employees up for success in their personal and professional lives, from having a flexible, open office space to being transparent with the goals of the company. Employees can focus on their personal growth and the mission of the company, which allows them to create better customer experiences.
Adobe ties employee compensation to customer experience
Instead of viewing customers and employees as separate entities, Adobe brings them together to drive positive, connected experiences. Employees are trained on customer experience metrics and how each person’s role impacts the overall customer experience. It also encourages employees to be advocates for customers’ needs and jump in when they see a problem instead of waiting for something to run its course. At Adobe, employee compensation is tied to customer experience. When employees are connected with customers and see the role they can each play individually, they want to create a better experience (disclosure: Adobe is a client).
GE uses root cause analysis to improve customer satisfaction
It takes an innovative HR department to drive employee experience at General Electric. Employees are involved in the process to make sure they have the physical space and technological tools to do their best work and that training programs keep employees moving forward. When a division of GE saw it had low customer satisfaction scores, it worked to find the root cause and streamline internal processes. Cutting red tape keeps employees happier and allows them to be more productive, which helped the customer satisfaction score jump more than 40% in two years.
Your employees are your often your most untapped resource when it comes to building powerful customer experiences. I hope you are just as inspired by the companies highlighted here as I was.