Staff engagement is more important than ever
Published on 12th September 2012 by Zoe Bradley
We hear much about the importance of outstanding customer service, especially in a difficult trading environment. But how do we know if this is really necessary? And if it is, what can you do to ensure your employees are delivering the best possible customer experience?
TNS research has shown that when an individual buys a product with a long purchase-cycle, such as a mobile phone or flat-panel TV, up to two thirds of the buying decision can be influenced once the shopper steps across the threshold of your store. Approximately one third of shoppers already know what they want and leave with their choice, one third claim to know what they want but leave the store with something else, and one third have either only a vague idea, or none at all, about what they want. In the UK, more than a fifth of mobile phone buyers say that the salesperson was an important influence on their purchase decision and, despite the increased usage of digital commerce, over half of mobile purchases are still made in a bricks-and-mortar retail store.
There are a number of areas, such as speed of service, friendliness and knowledge, where your staff have the opportunity to influence customers. Staff play a key role in helping customers decipher categories where choice is complex and requires knowledge and they can heavily influence shopper choice. But knowledge aside, it is important to remember that customers' perceptions can always be positively influenced if staff are enthusiastic and engaged.
There is ample evidence that employees who are engaged with their jobs generally deliver exceptional service and create the best possible shopper experience. TNS research shows there is a direct and positive relationship between the level of staff commitment and the level of perceived service quality, or the level of customer retention.
In addition, studies show those businesses with higher levels of staff engagement benefit from:
- Lower staff turnover - because people are less inclined to look for alternative employment if they are committed to their jobs
- Higher productivity - as people stay in their jobs for longer they become more familiar with their tasks and the jobs' processes. As a result the customer experience is improved
- Fewer sick days - happier employees are less inclined to opt for the dreaded ‘duvet day'
Clive Nicolaou & Peter Firth , 20 Mar 2009