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Findings: Progressive Companies Boost Customer, Employee Engagement First

June 24, 2014

We have a habit today of defining company success by financial terms. Strong growth companies are progressive, whereas companies that aren’t posting massive gains are not, or so the thinking goes. It may be time to ditch these ways of thinking, however, and remember that companies exist to service customers, not necessarily to post blockbuster quarter financials.

A recent YouGov study performed on behalf of Vodafone (News - Alert) Group plc's U.K. division with a goal of identifying the driving factors of a progressive business found that financial success alone doesn’t make a company “progressive.” In the survey of 1,000 managers and employees of SMBs (businesses with between 2 to 249 employees), only 36 percent of respondents listed strong financial performance and growth as a criterion for a progressive business. Far more important, the survey found, was customer satisfaction, which 61 percent of respondents said was the major identifying character of a progressive business, and employee engagement and loyalty (tied at 56 percent). Other highly rated factors included efficient systems and processes (47 percent) and an entrepreneurial, inspiring or open-minded leadership team (46 percent). Under these criteria, nearly half of respondents identified their companies as progressive.

When it came to businesses identified as not progressive, the top characteristics were poor employee engagement (50 percent), restrictive or old fashioned leadership (47 percent) and lack of information about the firm’s performance (39 percent).

There’s a message here in the way workers think of their companies, and it’s one that will resonate with customers. Customers don’t particularly care whether a company’s growth exceeded expectations this year. They don’t care whether executives met their growth quotas. They do know whether their needs are being met, and they will understand when they’re being helped by engaged employees rather than bored individuals simply filling seats.

“The findings suggest that these organizations may be lagging behind due to a lack of customer focus – an assumption corroborated by the fact that progressive businesses are significantly better equipped with the kinds of technologies that enable a greater responsiveness to customer needs,” wrote the report’s authors.

This has broad implications on the contact center. Organizations that engage in the kind of practices and use the technologies that can help boost both employee engagement and customer satisfaction are simply faring better in 21st century business. Workforce optimization, in particular, is a technology that can achieve both goals.

Solutions such as NICE’s Workforce Optimization suite can help transform a company’s work culture so that each employee is more committed to delivering a great customer experience. They provide employees with the tools and information they need to do their best work, which is an important component of fostering employee engagement (along with performance management).

While nobody is saying that a business shouldn’t be profitable, chasing profit without first channeling efforts through employee engagement and customer satisfaction is likely to be a futile exercise. 
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