I came across some Forrester research recently that highlighted how making customers feel valued is the key driver of customer loyalty.
It's certainly something I’ve always found. Humans have an exceptional ability to detect how someone feels towards them, and a trip to a supermarket (or indeed any retail store) gives customers ample opportunities to sense whether the company really values them. Loyal customers feel the company is on their side.
But it’s also true in the workplace. Whenever and wherever I’ve researched employee loyalty, feeling valued always comes out to be a key driver. For example, I was recently interviewing employees of a small retailer about their customers. I was struck by how committed they were, and as I probed, I heard many stories about how the company had gone out of its way to accommodate individual employee needs around education, childcare or other personal issues.
Of course, the two are connected. I remember some research I did in the U.S. into retail and service brands. I was trying to understand why customers were so clear which ones gave them good service and which ones didn’t. The answer was blindingly simple. As one respondent put it: “In these stores the employees enjoy working there, in those they don’'t.” As the old adage says, for “happy customers” you do indeed need “happy staff.” And happy employees feel valued.
All of this would only be of academic interest if all employees felt valued. But as survey after survey has shown, the vast majority of frontline workers in the U.S. (and indeed around the world) feel disengaged from the company they work for.
So if you want to earn the loyalty of your customers, first ask yourself a simple question: Do our employees feel valued?