Remember the phrase the customer is always right?
While the sentiment behind the adage is to make things as pleasant as possible for your target audience, it’s also crucial to understand that having happy employees is the foundation of anything else in your business — productivity, sustainability, and yes, customer satisfaction.
Why Is Employee Satisfaction So Important?
Think about all the time, money, and effort that goes into training a new hire. You want a return on that investment, don’t you? And frankly, your employees want it to be worth their while, too. Business owners aren’t thrilled with a revolving door of team members, and employees don’t want to job hop like it’s a hobby.
Employee satisfaction is essential for many elements of success, including:
- Generate higher productivity.
- Achieve continuity of operations.
- Offer better quality services — attitude goes a long way in how things are done.
- Create brand ambassadors of your business.
- Foster a healthier work environment.
- Increase your profits.
How Employee Satisfaction Leads to Customer Satisfaction
Every single interaction a customer or prospect has with one of your employees sets the tone for whether they have a positive customer experience or not. And there are many things relating to how happy the employee is that will have a direct effect on that interaction.
Are your customer service reps overworked? Underpaid? Lacking training or resources? Feeling unvalued? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s time to do some research and ask for feedback directly from your team.
Ask them about what would make their jobs easier. What are some common recurring issues they face? Whether your existing technologies and processes are effective.
If you already have a good relationship with them, you can ask for these questions directly; but it would also behoove you — and foster more honesty — if you also ask for anonymous feedback and insights. This is especially useful if you have never worked in their position, or if you have, but it’s been so long, you’re not aware of common challenges they may be experiencing. You don’t know what you don’t know, but they can certainly help you paint a full picture.
Once employees are given proper training, are given the resources they need, and feel valued, they will be more empowered and motivated to do their jobs — and customers will notice.
5 Reasons for a High Employee Turnover Rate
1. Poor Compensation and Benefits
It’s often said compensation alone can’t motivate employees to do their best work.
That said, it sure can’t hurt!
While it’s true compensation isn’t the only factor that inspires excellence, you have to take that in context. Many customer service reps are at the lowest tier of their organization. If they’re getting minimum wage, odds are good they feel minimally valued.
There’s no need to roll out a company Mercedes for everyone who joins the team, but be mindful of the messages your compensation strategy is sending. Compensation is satisfaction is retention. A raise to look forward to can get more people through that critical first quarter — and more than warranted when you take into account that customer satisfaction is directly linked to the success of your business.
2. Lack of Training in Key Job Skills
High employee turnover is often linked to the feeling a job is overwhelming or too challenging. By ensuring new team members are properly trained, you can put the power back in their hands.
As they realize they really can handle it, they’ll gain confidence and reach for stretch goals.
- What knowledge and skills are you equipping your newest team members with?
- What feedback mechanisms are in place to ensure mastery and answer questions?
- As employee responsibilities grow, are training resources keeping pace with that?
3. Lack of Clarity in Goals and Results
It’s true anywhere: If you don’t know what the rules are, you can’t follow them.
In a call center, customer service encounters produce a treasure trove of data. Yet, not all organizations are capturing that data or the insights it holds.
Whether you measure performance individually or across the whole team, everyone needs to know what your KPIs are and what they can do to push in the right direction.
Establishing exactly what you need and expect from reps is priority number one. Make sure they’re listed somewhere that’s easy to reference — such as employee handbooks, internal communications, ongoing training, or tacked up on a wall in a common area if your employees are working on-site.
After that, look at providing timely, one-on-one feedback to help team members nurture their strengths.
4. Poor Recognition for Performance
Customer service is a hard job — and getting a thank you from customers can be a rarity.
On the other side of the phone or desk, you’re all in this together. A little bit of earnest recognition brings humanity back into the workplace and helps people feel truly valued.
While most people appreciate recognition in one form or another, it’s a good idea for leaders to find out early about the best form of recognition for each team member.
For example, not everyone wants to be praised in front of the group. Misunderstandings with recognition can produce stress. On the other hand, recognizing people based on their preferences shows you remember and care. And isn’t that what recognition is really all about?
5. No Opportunities for Advancement
Ask your customer service representatives if they plan to stay in that role forever.
In most organizations, most of the time, people will tell you no.
And that’s fine! Professional growth — in responsibilities, skill, and opportunity — is a normal part of what people are looking for on their life journey.
Your organization should face that with clear-eyed realism by investing in your people. And that begins by outlining career development plans for your customer service representatives (CSRs).
Having formal career development plans in place doesn’t mean everyone is stuck on a single trajectory. Instead, it clarifies what customer service pros should do to prepare for success if they want to take on bigger challenges later.
Stagnation will drive high employee turnover every time. On the other hand, promoting from within ensures you’ll have a class of leaders within the organization who understand what the frontline customer service reps face.
That fosters rapport, creates empathy, and — most measurably — it opens the door to process improvements that will make your customer service organization more productive.
How to Improve Employee Satisfaction for Your Customer Service Team
Pay Them Well.
You like to make money, right? So does your team.
Granted, a CEO will make more money than a customer service rep. But if you want them to stay — and be happy while doing it — you gotta give them a reason to arrive at their work station with a sunny disposition.
Train Them Well.
One of the worst feelings a person can experience is feeling helpless. If they don’t know how to address customer complaints, the customer will grow increasingly angry, and your employee will bear the brunt of it.
It’s a never ending cycle of hell. But you can prevent this from happening by educating your customer service reps on key elements, such as:
- Good communications skills
- Having empathy
- Becoming an active listener
- Product features
- Available resources
- How to use customer service software
- How to escalate customer service issues
- Keep them updated on all company news and offerings
- Emotional intelligence
- Conflict resolution
Promote From Within.
As previously mentioned, everyone wants to find opportunities for professional growth. If you have team members who are key members of your organization, recognize their good work by promoting them for positions they are qualified for. The experience they gain from earlier positions within your company is invaluable when working their way up the corporate ladder.
Remember, providing excellent customer service will always give you a competitive advantage, and it all starts with treating your employees well.