Employee Connectedness: Damaging customer service quality?

Recently, there’s been considerable talk about the need for retailers to provide consumers with a better ‘customer service experience’ if they are to maintain a market share as internet retailing continues to grow. Inevitably, at the heart of this better experience is  employees who can deliver great customer service. It would seem the consensus is that too few of us experience employees who provide great customer service.

So why is it seemingly so difficult to get employees to deliver great customer service for their employer? Is it because –

a. Employees haven’t been trained sufficiently in customer service?

b. The systems and processes that should enable staff to deliver great customer service aren’t doing their job? Or

c. They have the knowledge but they don’t have the willingness to deliver great customer service for their employer?

I’m not sure about you, but in our experience it all comes down to willingness.

Training is important – absolutely. And I know I’ve experienced situations where customer service employees have been the victim of bad back-of-house systems and processes. But most of the bad experiences I’ve had are not a question of knowledge or system failure but rather an employee’s lack of willingness to deliver great customer service for their employer. If staff don’t have a willingness to deliver a great experience for customers, then all the training in the world and most brilliant of systems won’t guarantee they will deliver outstanding customer service.  So the question therefore is: What underpins willingness?

From our perspective at the heart of willingness is Employee Connectedness.

Therefore, if you’re a manager within an organisation it’s critical that your frontline customer service personnel can respond positively to these statements:

– Managers are interested in me

– People here know I can do good work

– I have at least two managers I can go to if I have a problem

– I am encouraged to suggest improvements to the organisation

If the responses aren’t positive then they are experiencing low Employee Connectedness and are unlikely to deliver customer service to the maximum of their ability. Sure, there’s always going to be employees who just aren’t right for the job (this is a question for the recruitment gurus out there). But for those with the ability, a lack of Employee Connectedness  smother their willingness.

If your staff aren’t responding positively to Employee Connectedness statements like the ones above, then how likely is it that they’ll want to:

  • deliver great customer service on behalf of your organisation?
  • improve what they do?
  • respond proactively to feedback  and not defensively?
  • work for you and not despite you?

Is your induction/recruitment strategy creating connectedness? How is your customer service training building connectedness? Do you managers have the ability to think their way to increasing connectedness?

Having a strategy to create Employee Connectedness amongst new and existing employees is crucial to maximising employee willingness to deliver great customer service. Stanford University recently released a study that showed 87% of success in business is based on connecting with people and only 13% on product knowledge. Customer service staff pass on to their customers their expereince as an employee. If staff are unhappy you sense this as a shopper and it erodes your experience. If customer service staff experience low Employee Connectedness, they will pass this on to the customers they should be trying to connect with.

Customer service employees will want to deliver great customer service for you and for your organisation when you create a productive and strong relationship with them that recognises them as more than just employees. This is when they will start to establish an emotional investment within their organisation. This is Employee Connectedness. They are, after all, people not robots.

Contact us to discuss how increasing Employee Connectedness can enhance your customer service levels.


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