Winning with employees

User Not Found | Apr 8, 2016 User Not Found 04/08/16

There’s a lot written about how vital employees are to delivering a great customer experience. That’s why engagement initiatives have gone beyond a trend to become an established best practice for today’s leading organizations. SMG was founded on The Service Profit Chain—a principle stating that loyal employees lead to loyal customers who recommend your brand to others, return more often, and spend more when they visit.

Recently at the Restaurant Leadership Conference (RLC), I had the chance to get on stage with a brand who really takes that principle to heart throughout the organization: Caribou Coffee. I presented with Karen McBride, the SVP of Culture & Development, about how Caribou is able to achieve higher performance by creating a winning culture.

As the leader of our employee engagement practice at SMG, I regularly talk to organizations about the impact a great culture can have, not only on employee engagement, but also on the the customer experience. As Caribou found out, engaging team members in an ongoing dialog yields deeper insights around the customer experience at the location level. After all, employees have a unique perspective on the customer experience, because they are there on the front lines every day seeing the impact organizational initiatives are having.

As any operator will tell you, the customer has limited visibility to everything happening in a location from an operations standpoint.  In fact, it’s often the elements the customer can’t see that are having the biggest impact on their experience. So where do you go to get insights on those issues? For example:   

  • Who experiences the new POS technology on a daily basis and knows whether it’s streamlining orders or holding them up?
  • Who can best gauge the efficiency of preparation techniques for your best-selling items?
  • Who has a direct line of sight on how to sustain high performance during peak traffic periods?

Your employees are the ones implementing your operational protocols and seeing the everyday effects, so next time you’re facing questions like these, consider getting their input. Beyond helping your brand improve operations, it shows your front-line staff that you find their insights valuable, which in turn makes them feel more connected to the brand.

It really is simple: everyone benefits from a winning company culture.

If you didn’t have a chance to join us at RLC, you can read more about how Caribou Coffee has put the employee culture at the heart of their organization, seeing firsthand how The Service Profit Chain works in practice.

Customer Experience Update