“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
- Steven R. Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
You’ve been sitting in traffic for over an hour and are two appointments behind. Even with the heater on in your truck, the bitter cold from outside is sitting in your bones. You were onsite with your last customer for hours and all you managed to gain was frostbite.
The customer is angry due to their equipment being down for the second time. Because you didn’t know everything that was needed for the job, they’ll lose another day using it because you have to go back tomorrow with the right gear.
You’ll likely be late getting home after taking the truck and paperwork back to the office, which means no real down time before going to bed and having to do it all over again. You’ve made suggestions on how to make the job easier, but for two years there haven’t been any changes. If nothing else than for self-preservation, you think it’s time to take your 10 years experience and find a new employer.
What do you think the quality of service is like for this field service worker’s customers? Do you think they’re having an optimum customer experience? How do you think this may affect customer loyalty?
The Cost of Unhappy Employees
For a company with customer-facing employees such as those with field service workers, unhappy employees can be detrimental to the business. Not only can their lack of enthusiasm affect the customer perception of the company, but it also may lead to higher churn.
Quality field service workers are challenging to come by in every industry, so this is not an issue to be ignored. In addition, seasoned, skilled workers can cost anywhere from 150 to 400 percent of their annual pay to replace. Compound this by a culture of unhappiness and your business will struggle to recover.
Employees as Customers
To control this potential issue, a key business strategy is to treat employees as not only your most valuable asset, but your most loyal customers. If a customer were to raise concerns about the service they received, they’d be attended to. However, for many businesses, employee concerns are ignored. Making a shift to prioritize their voice for feedback and suggestions goes a long way.
Employees can provide you valuable information that can be used to improve your business overall. In the example above, there are a number of opportunities for improvement. For example, since the employee deals with the challenges every day, they can draw your attention to the pains associated with having poor customer information and arriving to customer sites late. Finding a solution to these problems will help to strengthen your business.
Rewarding Good Feedback
If an employee makes suggestions that results in improvements, recognizing them for their effort and rewarding them can transform their negativity to enthusiasm. Do you think they’ll be happier showing up at a customer location then? A happy employee can delight your customers, who are then more likely to be loyal to your brand and make additional purchases over time.
Listening to employee feedback and actively investigating their concerns helps them to feel valued, but it can also guide you to areas of your business that can be improved. This provides stability for your workforce, a better work environment for your employees, and creates higher customer satisfation and an environment where they're happy to continue doing business with your brand.