Technology and a deeper understanding of human behavior have transformed customer service dramatically in recent decades—immediate, 24/7, multichannel support is no longer the exception but the rule. But another change needs to take place—in addition to defining the people who buy your products and services, your customers are also your employees, whose satisfaction, or level of engagement, is equally important to business performance.

And while most companies understand how the traditional customer’s satisfaction affects business performance, many still don’t comprehend the value of happy, engaged, satisfied employees—or how to begin creating a workplace that makes employee satisfaction a top priority.

Understanding the value is simple: Recent research by Gallup, Deloitte and others shows that employee engagement has an overwhelmingly positive effect on customer satisfaction.

Prioritizing employee satisfaction and engagement requires effort, but the underlying principle is simple: Treat your employees the way you treat your customers.

For example, one of the recent trends in customer expectations is response time. Waiting a few days is no longer acceptable for customers, and it shouldn’t be for employees. A customer left to rot on hold will go elsewhere. Likewise, an employee who is made to wait—for tech issues, HR questions, etc.—will be less productive and more frustrated.

Waiting a few days is no longer acceptable for customers, and it shouldn’t be for employees.

Another expectation that has changed for customers in recent years is availability. Customers expect 24/7 help, and more organizations are providing it. Giving employees that same availability for tech support, for example, demonstrates that a company respects and values every person’s time—from full-time office workers to remote part-timers.

Considering Gartner’s recent prediction that, by 2016, 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, organizations don’t have a choice but to increase their focus on employee engagement. Treating employees as customers does more than just improve engagement. It creates a ripple effect that increases customer satisfaction and business performance overall.

Postscript: We cannot let Customer Service Week go by without a nod to the many Vitalyst employees who consistently go above and beyond to keep our clients and customers happy and productive. Customer service excellence is at the core of what we do, and every one of our employees has a vital role. Thank you!


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