As Forrester recently stated, we are five years into what’s become known as “the age of the customer.” This era is one defined by rapid escalations in customer expectation, so much so that businesses not prioritizing the improvement of their customer experience are being left behind in the dust. While many top enterprises turn to technology to help overhaul and revamp their customer experience—be it big data, machine learning, chatbots, AI, etc.— these fancy bells and whistles tend to lack heart and don’t take the human mindset into consideration. A great customer experience involves making customers truly happy, and in order for that to happen, a company’s employees need to be happy, too!
Before companies embark on making their customers more satisfied, they need to turn the looking glass inward and see what they can do internally to make the people running the show happier. That all starts by establishing and maintaining a positive company culture. Multiple surveys and reports have documented the business value of prioritizing company culture. In fact, an overwhelming majority of CEOs and CFOs believe improving company culture positively correlates to an increase in their organization’s value and standing. Businesses that set out to create a positive company culture and a top-notch employee experience tend to reap four times the average profit of those that don’t.
It’s not hard to read between the lines—happier employees who are fulfilled by their work and feel emboldened in their workplace tend to be more innovative and productive, which is undoubtedly reflected in a company’s revenue stream. When it comes to customer experience, the same sort of mentality applies. Happy people foster other happy people. Employees that are thriving, satisfied and being treated well by their employers are more likely to extend that good will and positivity to the customers they interact with, or take the feelings and concerns of their customer base more to heart. This all leads to a more empathetically-conscious customer experience.
With more and more businesses realizing the impact a strong, positive company culture can have on value, profitability, loyalty, creativity and scalability, it’s in their best interest from a branding standpoint to treat employees well or face the wrath and mob mentality of the consumer base. The Golden Rule is the shining pinnacle of human behavior for a reason. By treating others like you want to be treated, it’s much easier to create a positive feedback loop where happiness and satisfaction can thrive on all fronts. As humans (both employees and customers alike), we seek out and respond much better to behavior that leaves a positive impression. Employees that feel taken care of by their company will spread that love to customers, who will in turn feel more heard, satisfied and appreciated.
It’s hard to measure the actual value that improvements in company culture can have on customer experience because the two are fairly tangential in nature, especially when weighed against the documented impact technology possesses on customer experience. But rest assured, the proof is in the pudding—you just have to look a little harder. Gallup studied nearly 50,000 work units to determine the effects of engaged employees and strong culture. They found that work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed the bottom quartile units by 10% when it came to customer ratings and 22% in profitability.
The numbers don’t lie, and neither does the care and consideration a happy employee will be more likely to deliver to customers. Engaging employees through a positive company culture means they’ll be better brand advocates and creates a reputation that you put people first— something that customers are way more likely to gravitate toward.