Employees are the first direct link between a company and its customers. This can classify as a make or break situation in terms of leaving an impression. In order to ensure customer satisfaction and retention, focusing on employees and motivating them to work is of the essence. To attain customer loyalty, you first need to make your staff loyal to you. The key to this is catering to the needs of your customer service staff to keep them motivated to work.
Small Gestures that Make a Huge Difference
It’s important to realize that small gestures on the part of managers/CEO’s can prove to be more than effective in making your employees loyal brand advocates. For example, being flexible in times of emergency, offering occasional bonuses, being positively reassuring and appreciative and making the staff feel valued. Similarly providing traveling means to workers who are unable to commute to work would take a lot of unnecessary stress off their minds. Encouraging group activities could both yield high productivity and instigate creative thinking. Make sure your staff isn’t overworked and underpaid.
Mike Thompson explains in his book, “The Organizational Champion,” how lack of good leadership qualities, are often to blame for unmotivated workers. By choosing inspiring team leaders, companies boost the probability of retaining productive and satisfied workers, and eventually, satisfied customers.
How does a motivated employee actually retain a customer?
Having established that motivated employees are a primary reason for a business to flourish, let’s move on to see how this can both actively and passively retain customers and ensure customer loyalty. Customers tend to compare not only prices of products but also service experience provided by different brands. Unhappy employees can often cause bad service experience. However, an active interaction between a happy customer service rep and customer would ensure a pleasant and memorable customer experience. Such CSRs would go an extra mile to solve any issues that the customers might have, and pay significant attention to them.
Secondly, as stated earlier employees are your biggest brand advocates. They play a huge role in the type of publicity that your brand may receive. Therefore, if customers hear good things about your company they do not feel the need to switch to a competitor.
Paying Attention to Psychological Needs of Employees
Let’s take a look at the psychological needs of employees in order to keep them motivated. In this regard, the Self-Determination Theory originally by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan is important to consider. The theory focuses on the degree to which an individual’s behavior is self-motivated and self-determined. It states that humans have three psychological needs that need to be fulfilled:
Need for Autonomy:
Imagine working for someone who is constantly undermining your individuality by imposing their ideas on you and dictating everything that you do. Eventually, you will start to feel demotivated. The idea behind this is to give your employees room for creativity and a sense of independence. A person who feels in control is likely to produce better results than someone who experiences a lack of it.
Need for Competence:
Employees feel happy when they are appreciated for their efforts and positive feedback is given about their work. People want to feel that what they are doing is important and it matters. The basic need for competence goes a long way in keeping people motivated. Encourage your employees by telling them they are doing a good job. Incentives, rewards and bonuses can be given to further motivate your employees.
Need for Relatedness:
In order for your employees to be loyal and go out of their way for your customers they must feel a sense of belonging to the workplace and their colleagues. A loyal and committed employee would take upon himself to keep customers happy and satisfied. Involve your customer service staff in discussions and decision making process. Have a relaxed working environment, involve your employees and ask for their opinion on different customer related issues. Also regularly arrange team building events and activities for your staff.