How Employee Disengagement Costs Your Company

Greetings from Shoppers, Inc.! Hope you enjoy the article below from John Tschohl about How Employee Disengagement Costs Your Company and customer service as much as we did.

How do you rate your company’s customer service experience? A recent Forrester study found that 80% of American companies believe they’re on the mark. Unfortunately, only 8% of customers agree and studies show that employee engagement – or lack of it- could be to blame. A current Gallup poll reveals that 7 out of 10 employees are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.” (Gallup, State of American Workplace 2013) That statistic – a whopping 70% – is stifling growth and costing you a bundle. What mistakes are you making that contribute to this pervasive problem? And more importantly, what are you going to do about it?

Engagement – On the Rocks

We’re not talking diamonds here. You want your finger on the pulse of your employee and customer satisfaction, and survey says the majority are not giving thumbs up. In fact, 52% of workers are not engaged, while an additional 18% are actively disengaged. According to Gallup’s study, only 22% of US employees are engaged and thriving, leaving room for vast improvement in the kind of job satisfaction that plays directly to your bottom line.

Alarmingly, the survey found that service industry employees were the most disengaged of all. Given that these are most often the employees who disengaged employeeare working face to face with your customers, this is undoubtedly something no manager wants to hear.

Additionally, only 41% of employees felt that they know what their company stands for, and what makes its brand stand apart from the competition. When employees don’t know what to tell customers and leads when discussing what makes your brand special, you are losing money – and lots of it – in more ways than one.

Happy Pays

Engaged employees are in it for more than a paycheck, and that adds up to business success. Gallup sums it up saying engaged workers are the lifeblood of their organizations, with those in the top quartile of that metric showing significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer ratings, less turnover and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents than those in the bottom 25%. “When employees are engaged and thriving in their overall lives, they are more likely to maintain strong work performance – even during difficult times.”

On the flip side, Gallup projects that disengaged employees cost American business up to $550 billion every year as a result of defection and abandoned sales due to poor customer service experience. Simply put, managers must be trained to reinvigorate, inspire and engage the front line if there is to be a happy and healthy bottom line.

Coming Together

Research – and really, common sense – show that leadership and management play a critical role in employee engagement. An engaged workforce creates customer loyalty that generates positive word of mouth, reducing need for advertising and marketing expenditure, increasing profit.

It’s an equation that offers a seemingly simple solution. If you are looking for more engagement from your employees, begin with management.

While managers are hired for a variety of reasons regardless of industry, the ability to manage people is a skill that is often overlooked in the hiring process. Rather than using management positions as “promotional prizes or career pathways,” management hiring should pay special attention to the ability a candidate has in motivating and leading people. Regardless of overall skill set, if someone does not manage and motivate coworkers well, the entire team under that manager will suffer.

Get Committed

When you have engaged employees, you have happy customers. When you have happy customers, your business will grow. Cultivate a customer-driven workforce from the top down, with properly trained management, and your organization will thrive.

Improve the overall service experience by empowering your employees with the understanding that they are important members of the team, able to act with their discretion on behalf of the customer. Service Quality Institute offers programs that address both front line (Empowerment: An Introductory Start-Up} and management {Leading Empowered Teams} in achieving the ultimate goal of enhanced customer satisfaction, which makes everybody happy. A business cycle – worth repeating.

The time is now to organize a culture of service at your company, with the confidence that all of your employees understand a customer-first approach that sets your business apart.

Problem solved.

John Tschohl, the internationally recognized service strategist, is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Described by USA Today, Time, and Entrepreneur as a “customer service guru,” he has written several books on customer service and has developed more than 26 customer-service training programs that have been distributed throughout the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online.

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