Disengaged employees are driving the Great Resignation. As employees are customers in their own right, it follows that their dissatisfaction is another form of poor customer service.
Engaged employees, on the other hand, offer a customer service twofer. Satisfied employees provide better service to customers. It’s axiomatic. It’s common sense. It’s also a concept that many companies have yet to grasp.
A recent Forbes article addresses the issue. Notes contributor Henry DeVries, “It takes a team to attract and serve high-paying clients. Employee engagement is directly related to happier clients, which in turn relates to client attraction and retention… ‘Let’s quit talking about “The Great Resignation,”’ says author and business leader Brian Fielkow. ‘We should instead talk about the great recognition. Recognition that highly engaged employees are less likely to leave. Recognition that poor treatment yields high turnover. Recognition that employee retention is not an HR function. It’s a strategy function that must be driven by leadership. Fielkow has a 30-year successful business leadership track record that includes growing and transforming multimillion-dollar organizations. Based in Houston, he is a well-respected speaker and the author of two books.”
In the article, Fielkow details employee engagement lessons taught by the pandemic.
These lessons include leading with empathy and communicating often. According to the article, pandemic-related risk tolerance varied among employees. As much as possible, notes Fielkow, allowing employees to establish their work parameters and be in control signals understanding and trust. In turn, that leads to what Fielkow calls unprecedented effort commitment and results. Communicating often to counter uncertainty and fear in a transparent and humble way let employees know everyone was in the same boat, showing openness and building trust.
Another key lesson was engaging employee families. Notes the article, “‘It was not enough to communicate to our direct employees,’ says Fielkow. ‘Their loved ones needed to know that our company cared about them. We provided information about staying safe as the pandemic unfolded. For true employee engagement to happen, their families must be involved.’”
Other lessons are finding better ways to help the team grow and engaging with the community. Training needed to continue. As Fielkow emphasizes in the article, more frequent, shorter video lessons and gamification were deployed to drive innovative team learning and development.
In the process, community engagement became important. The article points out, “‘At the outset of the pandemic, unemployment skyrocketed and community needs were great,’ says Fielkow. ‘We’re in the logistics business and donated trucking service to our local food bank to stock community centers regionally. We worked with the CDC to help develop hygiene best practices for long haul truck drivers.’” All of this built pride in the company.
Service to customers/clients hinges in large part on employee engagement. The Great Resignation is helping point out a glaring lack of that engagement. Companies that bury their heads in the sand will suffocate. Companies that want to thrive will make their employees feel recognized and valued, leading to better “customer service” on multiple levels.
How will the “Great Resignation” impact customer service? With so many people quitting present jobs and searching for new opportunities (including changing industries and entrepreneurism), existing company resources are being stressed and strained. Moving forward, this will adversely impact the ability of companies to maintain and/or improve customer service levels and commitments.Mark Lusky