During the nineties, consumer confidence and spending were so strong that consulting firms were often hired without an in-depth credential check and the assurance that their corporate culture aligned with the hiring organizations'. Furthermore, profits were so high at that time that many companies settled for satisfied customers, rather than truly engaged customers.
Things have changed.
Now, with consumers spending less and competitors slashing prices, organizations are more prudent with the choices they make when selecting professional services firms. They are beginning to understand it is more important than ever to create sustaining relationships with employees and customers. Because of this professional service firms need to incorporate these measures to ensure business success.
View on Relationships
Customer retention/loyalty consistently ranks high in compiled lists of CEOs' top concerns. Furthermore, our research on engagement has proven that a company's financial health is directly tied to how well they engage employees and customers.
In this economy it's especially important for organizations to build stronger relationships to retain current customers. To do so, they must work to engage both employees and customers. Professional service firms that understand that long-term profitability depends on exceptional customer service leading to fully engaged customers will have greater success.
View on Employees
Excellent customer service begins with engaged employees. When customer-facing employees are passionate about providing unparalleled service, customers are more likely to enjoy their interaction with your company. Engaged employees positively impact your company's productivity as they win over fully engaged customers.
How should engaged employees be defined? First and foremost, they should be characterized by their loyalty. Engaged employees will stay with their current employer because they are passionate about their job. They feel appreciated at work, and they're sure management values their opinions. Engaged employees will also put extra effort into their work. If asked about their job, they will recommend the company they work for.
It is extremely important to engage the employees who are delivering the customer experience. When these employees are engaged, their passion and genuine dedication to their work win over and create engaged customers. And engaged customers are willing to buy more and recommend your business to others. Employee engagement is pivotal across industries, but is especially crucial in service industries, including banking, hotels, retail, and dining. In these environments, employees interact with customers on a daily basis and shape customers' perceptions and attitudes.
Employee engagement analysis is most often conducted in business environments with high “best practices” expectations, multi-level reporting of consumer concerns, and in-place mechanisms for employee feedback. Your employees are a rich source of ideas on how to improve your company's procedures, since they are on the front lines of customer service.
View on Customers
Engaged customers have a lot in common with the engaged employees that they interact with regularly. At a basic level, customer engagement measures the emotional connection between a consumer and a company or brand. We define engaged customers according to the following characteristics:
- Retention: Given the choice, Engaged Customers would choose to do business again with a specific company.
- Effort: Engaged Customers go out of their way to do business with their favorite companies.
- Advocacy: Engaged Customers recommend their favorite companies to friends.
- Passion: Engaged Customers love doing business with their favorite companies.
Customers with these characteristics bring higher ROI and profits. Companies with high levels of customer engagement outperform the average for their industry, as our Most Engaged Customer Study shows.
Creating Engaged Employees and Customers
In addition to capturing employee feedback discussed above, organizations should also be proactive in gathering customer feedback. A customer-centric culture begins with obtaining transaction-based feedback. There are an array of techniques for gathering feedback, including surveys, BlogTrak, which tracks both negative and positive posts from consumers, and one-on-one customer service follow-ups.
Customer feedback will help your organization make appropriate changes, but it will also have an immediate impact on two things:
- Helps you win back customers who have had negative experiences as quickly as possible.
- Enables you to identify and recognize extraordinary employees who have gone “above and beyond” expectations to wow the customer.
Businesses need more than simple data to improve their employee relationships and grow customer loyalty. It is necessary in this economic climate to gather information you can take action on to develop relationships that create a stronger, long-term backbone for the company.
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Improving customer engagement is proven to increase your company ROI. Contact the professionals at PeopleMetrics to find out how they can help you cultivate good customers.
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