Front Line Employees Hold the Key to Long Term Growth
March 14, 2012 4 Comments
The strong correlation between Long Term Growth and Employee Satisfaction
I’d like to start this post by asking three quick questions. They all relate to important issues that affect your business.
- When was the last time you were delighted when you did business with a service company?
- What role did an employee of that company play in the delightful experience?
- Do you think you could make a guess about that employee’s attitudes toward his or her job based on what happened?
Even though great service is a rarity these days, we’ve all had at least one experience with a company that really knows how to take care of its customers. In fact, I distinctly remember a small dry cleaner in an area where I used to work. I was so happy with the service, I’d drive halfway across town to give them my business, passing other dry cleaner’s shops in the process.
Why did I go out of my way to deal with them? The employees went out of their way for me. Once, they even made a special, after hours delivery to my house when I needed something in a hurry. They also welcomed me and called me by name whenever I stopped by. That made me feel like they really appreciated my business.
If you place people first, then good customer service and profitability will follow.
“Employee behaviors and attitudes , even more than leadership principles and ideals, communicate most directly to customers just what the company stands for.” Fred Reichheld, Loyalty Rules!
When you get right down to it, employees have the power to start a chain reaction that leads to success. Here’s how it goes in reverse. Customer Loyalty drives long-term growth. Customer delight drives loyalty. Appreciation and interest drive customer delight. And guess who’s in the best position to show your customers that you really care about them? That’s right. Front line employees.
Not everyone understands the connection
Despite the obvious importance of employee satisfaction, the great recession has resulted in many companies not placing nearly enough emphasis on developing and retaining employees. Consider these survey results:
- 84% of employees feel that their workplace is headed in the wrong direction according to a November 2011 survey by Right Management
- According to a June 2011 study from Mercer, one in two US employees are either actively looking for work or have mentally ‘checked out’
“Diminished loyalty and widespread apathy can undermine business performance, particularly as companies increasingly look to their workforces to drive productivity gains and spur innovation,” said Mindy Fox, a senior partner at Mercer.
Of course, great leaders have always known that taking care of their employees is important. The companies that have continued to make employee satisfaction a priority will come out of the current economic environment stronger and will ultimately put a lot of distance between themselves and the competition.
If your employees are happy, customers see that, and they respond by giving you more of their business.