Five effective ways to boost employee engagement

Improve productivity and performance with our top tips for inspiring and motivating employees.

By Philip Bonhard

Great customer experience depends on your employees. But hiring the right people is only half the battle. If you really want to improve your service, you need to build employee engagement. This is a big commitment but the payback is huge. Engaged employees are dedicated, enthusiastic workers who embrace company values and are driven to go the extra mile.

Here’s how you can get the best out of your employees.

Share your vision and values

Communication is everything. To bring your company vision to life, your employees must understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve and what’s expected from them. So you need to keep them informed and inspired. Starbucks employees are given a set of five principles, which include “Make it your own” and “Surprise and delight”. These encourage ownership and empower staff to create individual and unique customer experiences.

Guide don’t prescribe

Rigid rules prevent employees injecting their own personality into customer interactions and can end up creating stale, emotionless experiences. So instead of focusing on what employees should do, provide guidelines on how you want them to behave. Going back to our Starbucks example, their guidelines urge staff to:

  • Be welcoming
  • Be involved
  • Be genuine
  • Be knowledgeable
  • Be considerate

This encourages a far more effective attitudinal shift in the way staff interact with customers compared to a prescribed list of things to do.

Empower and equip

Employees thrive in an atmosphere of respect and appreciation. A little extra trust can enable your team to go above and beyond where necessary. Take your cue from luxury hotel chain, the Ritz-Carlton, which describes their team as “Ladies and Gentlemen” and “the most important resource in our service commitment to our guests.” Each employee has the authority to spend up to $2,000 to solve any customer complaint in the way they think is best. This gives employees the freedom and autonomy to defuse complaints and respond to service failures before they get posted online.

Provide the right support

Sub standard tools and inefficient processes are a recipe for low productivity and employee dissatisfaction. We’ve seen ‘single customer view’ systems that require employees to complete 16 different logins before they get access. To get the best from your employees, you need the right support in place. Start by initiating ways to gather and action employee feedback and suggestions for improvement. Then invest in the tools, processes, and systems that make your employees’ jobs easier, more productive and pain-free. After all, you can’t expect employees to care about your customers if they don’t feel cared for themselves.

Bring your team and customers together

It’s easy for your Head Office employees to feel disconnected from your customers, which is why it’s so important to find ways to bring them together. This applies to every Head Office employee from the most junior to the top senior. Direct contact with customers and their feedback builds empathy and engagement on a continuous basis and helps motivate employees to deliver improved customer experiences. Arrange for employees to spend regular time in your call centres to get first hand knowledge of pain points. Or follow Tesco’s example and launch a ‘Feet on the Floor’ initiative where employees do a shift in store once a year. The more your employees connect with customers, the better.

How Newt can help

We know customers drive your success so we’ve made it our business to help you get to know them better. Our expertise and tools get you right to the nitty gritty so you can build the profiles, journeys and blueprints that make a difference today and tomorrow.

Newt solutions

  • Customer journey mapping
  • Customer segmentation
  • Customer insight
  • Customer Experience Framework

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