With CX, Engaged Employees Mean Everything

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The customer experience you deliver is a reflection of your culture and operating processes. If you want customers to have excellent experiences, you need to make sure your organization is set up to accomplish that goal.

When we talk about organizations and culture, what are we really talking about? Employees. And our research demonstrates that engaged employees make a huge impact on the customer experience (CX).

CX leaders have employees who are 1.5 times more engaged than those of CX laggards. Using the Temkin Employee Engagement Index, we evaluated the engagement level of more than 5,000 U.S. employees. In companies that lead in CX, 75 percent of employees are highly or moderately engaged. Less than half of the employees in companies that lag in CX are equally engaged. This is not a coincidence. It would be nearly impossible to sustain great CX with a disengaged workforce.

Engaged employees are a huge asset. Highly engaged employees are more than four times as likely to recommend the company’s products and services, 2.5 times as likely to stay after hours to get work done, and seven times as likely to recommend the company to a friend or relative than disengaged employees are.

Engaged employees stick around. Employees who don’t feel they’re being paid appropriately are slightly more likely to seek a new job. But those who don’t feel good about the work they’re doing are twice as likely to look for a new job as those who do. Companies tend to focus on extrinsic rewards like pay instead of a more impactful intrinsic reward like meaningfulness.

Companies haven’t solved employee engagement. In our Temkin Group Employee Engagement Competency & Maturity Assessment, only 12 percent of large companies were at the highest two levels of maturity: “enhancing” (level five) and “maximizing” (level six). But 61 percent were at the bottom two, “damaging” and “neglecting.”

MASTER THE FIVE I’S OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

But companies can make a difference. How? By focusing on what we call the Five I’s of Employee Engagement:

Inspire. Connect employees to the company’s vision and values. TouchPoint Support Services fosters such an inspirational culture by having leaders at or above the director level spend three days every year at the company’s national meeting to discuss and share their successes. The meeting gives managers clear organizational objectives, but also re-inspires them by emphasizing the company’s commitment to improving its customers’ lives.

Inform. Wheaton | Bekins keeps its employees informed through a monthly newsletter that focuses exclusively on CX. The newsletter contains updates and company performance scores and provides opportunities for employees to read verbatim customer comments about agents, drivers, and the overall customer experience. The newsletter also keeps employees up to date on Wheaton | Bekins’s customer-centricity plans.

Instruct. Support employees with training and feedback. To help its employees connect with customers, EMC opened up the Egypt Center of Excellence—an initiative that gives customer-facing employees valuable technical and cultural training. The company developed this six-month rotation across seven functional areas to help employees appreciate and adapt to cultural differences and ensure that they are finding solutions that fit their customers’ expectations and needs.

Involve. Solicit employees to improve processes. The Results Companies launched an Employee Voice Program, establishing a precedent where employees’ comments and questions are submitted directly to Results’ executive team for consideration. The company supplements these efforts with quarterly town hall discussions and an active employee-focused social media channel.

Incent. Reward and reinforce desired behaviors. Safelite AutoGlass recognizes employees who deliver exceptional performance in various ways, from compliments and awards to a company Wall of Fame. The Excellence in Service award is given to employees based on internal and external letters of praise. The company presents those who receive this award with a certificate stating that they provided “Service so Great…It’s Memorable,” a copy of the customer compliment, and a personal letter from Tom Feeney, the president and CEO.


Bruce Temkin is customer experience transformist and managing partner of Temkin Group, a research and consultancy firm focused on enterprise-wide customer experience transformation. He is also the chair and cofounder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org) and author of the blog Customer Experience Matters (experiencematters.wordpress.com).

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