Employees are in a unique position to boost customer engagement, for several reasons. First, if they are front-line employees, they deliver a large part of the client’s experience, so they can improve it by providing top-line service with a winning attitude. People can’t help but respond to positive, uplifting emotions, and customers are no exception. Second, because employees observe the customer experience regularly, they understand nuances and shifts in customer opinion, often before they can be detected by more formal market research efforts. Employees occupy an overlapping area between customer empathy and company culture. For instance, an employee can often identify which parts of an individual internal process create obstacles to providing fast, accurate, engaging service.

Appreciating the influence that employees have on the customer experience, many company leaders are looking for ways to harness employees’ insights and increase customer engagement. These 5 strategies listed below can help you maximize your employees’ power to improve the client experience.

Create a customer-centric culture. A company-centric company does what works best for its leaders, shareholders and sometimes employees. In contrast, a customer-centric company has a highly loyal customer base because it makes customers part of its mission; it invites them to give feedback on a regular basis. Furthermore, in customer-centric companies, employees are — Empowered to handle customer issues, given customer feedback, recognize when they serve customers well. Employees working at customer-centric teams are more likely to be fully engaged — and employee engagement leads to higher sales! To study and encourage employee engagement through recognition, it is recommended setting up a ambassador in each micro-teams to identify which employees are already going the extra mile for customers. A lot of team members feel personally dedicated to their jobs and customer service they provide. They believe customer engagement matters.

Empower. Give teams the tools for gathering customer observations. It isn’t unusual for companies to spend big bucks on market research campaigns while completely ignoring the best customer research tools they already have — i.e., their employees. Staffers can be excellent listening posts, reporting back on what they hear customers say about their experiences. To boost customer engagement, then, you can outfit employees with tools to record their observations. This can be as simple has having a shared online forum where employees and leaders alike can contribute to discussions on the customer experience, or as complex as a relationship management channel that includes spaces for customer notes. Grow by making lasting relationships!

Encourage innovation: As mentioned earlier, employees are in a unique position: they have direct involvement with customers, and they are also steeped in company culture. This makes them especially qualified to suggest how company procedures, products, and services could be improved. Make it easy for your employees to pass on their nuggets of customer engagement insight. One approach to encouraging employee innovation is to create games around providing suggestions. Send out a personal level of recognition when a certain employee exceeds expectations. Seeing their peers receive such recognition will naturally encourage your employees to pick their brains for ways to improve customer processes. As motivation blossoms among your staffers, make sure you have a centralized, organized platform for gathering employee suggestions.

Make it safe for employees to report on their experiences: Employee engagement and customer engagement go hand-in-hand. Disgruntled, apathetic employees rub off on customers, and vice versa — enthusiastic, engaged employees tend to make customers engaged as well. To provide exceptional service, your staff needs to feel safe and supported at work. Discover reasons why your employees may feel disengaged. However, to honestly report on what limits their employee engagement, most workers require anonymity. It is natural for people to become frightened and tight-lipped during employee surveys — especially when their honest feelings may be construed as criticism. Therefore, it’s important to choose a platform that provides anonymity. Make employees feel more comfortable providing honest organizational feedback!

Standardize vertical feedback flow: All of the employee feedback in the world is useless unless company leadership can incorporate it in strategic planning. The amount of data involved in employee engagement research can be overwhelming without a centralized engagement. Ideally, your voice of the employee should include built-in tools for moving feedback from customers and employees through your client experience team and on to the c-suite. Online employee engagements should include tools for determining which employees should see which feedback data, and for following up on employee engagement issues.

Overall, an campaign, when embedded as part of a larger ecosystem, can prove to be an efficient pathway for amplifying customer engagement. I am hoping you find my personal views and the tips useful. Maximize your employees' power to improve the customer experience.

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