Want to Know the Secret to Happy Customers? It’s Employee Satisfaction


As a business leader, you’re used to thinking about the customer experience. You know that customer satisfaction is key to loyalty, word-of-mouth-marketing, and long-term success. You’ve probably heard the saying, “The customer is always right.” 

But while being “customer obsessed” helps, it isn’t the only requirement for happy customers. 

Your company may be missing a critical ingredient for a good customer experience.

The Missing Ingredient For Customer Satisfaction

The problem with focusing on customers alone is that they don’t create the customer experience. Employees do. 

And employees have emotions that impact both their productivity, and their attitude, both of which bleed over to the customer.

Every aspect of the customer experience is tied to your employees. Employees answer your help line. They manufacture your products. They sell your services. They make recommendations. They solve your customers’ problems.

So if you want highly satisfied customers, you need to think about creating highly satisfied employees.

When Employees Are Happier, So Are Customers

There’s been plenty of research on the relationship between employees and customer satisfaction. Most studies come to the same conclusion: Happier employees lead to happier customers.

For instance, Glassdoor did a study on the relationship between customer and employee satisfaction. For each one-star improvement in companies’ Glassdoor employee ratings, their American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) scores go up 1.3 points. In industries where employees interact a lot with customers, the impact is more than twice as large.

Forbes Insights and Salesforce have also studied the links between employee experience, customer experience, and revenue growth. They wanted to know whether companies grew more when they focused on customer experience, employee experience, or both. The results? Companies that focus on both see their revenues grow almost twice as fast as the others.

What Happens When Employees Aren’t Satisfied

When employees aren’t satisfied with their jobs, they feel less satisfied with their lives, since so much of their lives are spent at work. And when employees aren’t satisfied with their lives, they have less energy for their work. When they have less energy for their work, they tend to perform poorly. When they perform poorly, they become even less satisfied with their situation. It becomes a vicious, downward spiral.

It’s important to note, that when it comes to employee performance and productivity, time and talent aren’t the only factor. Energy is essential, too. 

If your employees lack energy because they’re exhausted, dissatisfied, or disengaged, they won’t be as effective. They’ll find it harder to engage in the things they do. They might decide to quit and leave (a popular past-time during what is now known as The Great Resignation), or they might quit and stay (a popular current phenomenon called “quiet quitting”). 

All of that has an impact on your customers.

Customer problems don’t get resolved as quickly. The people they interface with are less friendly. Quality control issues increase. New initiatives and ideas don’t happen as often. Employee turnover goes up, and new employees need to be trained more often, which reduces productivity. Employee dissatisfaction and disengagement impacts the customer at every level.

Have you ever shopped at a store where the employees seemed tired and unhappy? Did you want to shop there more often? Now think about a store where employees were engaged and willing to go the extra mile.

When employees aren’t happy, the whole business suffers. And customers notice.

You Need to Measure Employee Satisfaction

It’s not always easy to tell when you have an employee satisfaction problem or when a downward cultural trend is underway. Because of a phenomenon called change blindness, you often don’t recognize those small, incremental changes to employee sentiment because they happen slowly, and over time. 

The good news is that you don’t have to rely on just instinct, there are systems for measuring employee satisfaction. What’s more, they’re incredibly simple to deploy, and incredibly good at helping you keep tabs on something so important.

One of the most common metrics of employee satisfaction is the Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS). This survey asks employees how likely they are to recommend working at your organization to others. 

It’s the most commonly used instrument, because it’s just so easy to deploy, and carries a very low “attention burden” to the employee.

The down side of ENPS is that it only gives you a surface-level view of employee satisfaction. 

If you want to really understand how employee satisfaction levels are impacting your company, you need a tool that dives deeper into their emotions. 

For this reason, we’ve invented an entirely new, proprietary instrument to get to deeper to the heart of what employees may be actually feeling, without increasing the burden of adding a bunch of questions. It’s called the Employee Sentiment Score or ESS for short. It’s a companion to ENPS.

ESS goes one step deeper into the emotional state of your employees. Of course the Employee Engagement Assessment goes much deeper. For this reason, it’s often popular for leaders to use ENPS and ESS as a sort of litmus test to identify pockets of discontent, or sudden shifts in employee satisfaction, and then use Engagement Assessments to go deep when necessary.

You Can Start Measuring Employee Satisfaction, Employee Sentiment, and Employee Engagement Today

ENPS, ESS and our deep-science-based Employee Engagement diagnostic set is only available through a Life Engineering membership. 

When you sign up for Life Engineering, you get access to more than just our employee satisfaction and engagement tools. Our personal development software includes tons of content, articles, courses, assessments, leadership training, and other services to help organizations boost motivation and productivity.

Our team of scientists has done all the research on how to improve employee satisfaction and employee engagement to achieve organizational success. 

Sign up for Life Engineering today to get access to the entire toolkit.

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