#3 Do happy employees matter to customers? Not much!

Welcome to my third newsletter covering customer experience and customer-centric business strategy. The four topics this week are:

  1. Do happy employees matter to customers?
  2. Highlights from my own blog.
  3. Notable customer experience items from other sites.
  4. Looking forward.

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Do happy employees matter to customers? Not much

Most people believe employee satisfaction is critical to customer satisfaction. My own research on the subject covers 340 companies. I can find no precedent for this much depth. The full details are in this Tuesday’s blog post, linked below. There has been a huge amount of feedback. While some of the feedback is highly sceptical, none of the scepticism so far seems to be based on facts. “I know this is not true, therefore your research is wrong” would characterise some emails. Some feedback confuses employee satisfaction with employee engagement, a far more sophisticated concept. Others have provided me with links to single-company studies. The thinking can be represented by “Google employees and customers are both very happy indeed. Therefore employee happiness drives customer satisfaction for all companies.”

Daniel Kahneman provides a good way of thinking about this in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. He talks about the phenomenon cognitive psychologists have come to know as “What You See Is All There Is” (WYSIATI). When you are presented only with information about employee and customer satisfaction, the average human being will jump to the incorrect conclusion that one is critical to the other. If you were to sit down and brainstorm a list of things that affect customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction would probably be on the list, but not at the top. Think about it. In many companies, such as Google, most employees have no contact with customers.

Post-truth fake news alert – The Donald read this week’s blog post

As reported at the end of the post, here is what the new leader of the USA had to say about the relationship between happy employees and happy customers at his hotels:

“All my guests are happy. They’d be happy even if my workers weren’t happy, but they are all happy. It’s happening in all of my hotels and I have lot of them, all over the world but not in Russia, and they’re all paid for. Maybe some of my workers aren’t happy, I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t make much of a difference whether they’re happy or not, it’s the name that counts, the Trump name is huge, everyone knows that. No one pees in my hotels. It’s disgusting and made up, fake news!”
It is a pity his hotels are not covered by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. With a Glassdoor rating of 3.9 from Trump Hotel employees, he is doing pretty well. Not so well for Trump Golf at 3.0.

Our latest blog posts

Older posts are of course still available on the blog page.

image Does employee satisfaction drive customer satisfaction? In general… no! Conventional wisdom always tells us that employees need to be happy for customers to be happy. But what is the evidence for this belief? This post includes new original research on the topic, covering 340 business that sell to US consumers. The results are surprising. Don’t miss the ‘fake news flash’ at the end.
image Customer-centric cost reduction – there are just 3.5 ways to reduce cost This post is about customer-centric cost reduction, an apparent oxymoron. It includes the list of the only 3.5 ways of sustainably cutting costs that exist. Unfortunately, faced with a profitability crisis or a need to find money to invest, most companies want to sort out their P&L first and worry about keeping customers onside later.

Notable customer experience items from other sites

Shep Hyken interviews Chad Keck on Amazing Business Radio

Shep Hyken is one of the most respected customer experience gurus on the planet. In this podcast, he interviews Chad Keck, CEO and co-founder of Promoter.io. The subject is how to design a survey that your customers will actually want to complete. Well worth a listen. You can find it here.

Yet another example of how not to find out what your customers want you to improve

This LinkedIn article by Dr. James Borderick recounts a survey he was asked to complete by phone, how horrible it was, and how to do better. A nice short read here.

Looking forward

My brother and I are happy to report that we are on track for all three books to be ready around the end of February. We could still use one or two more test readers for the Customer-Centric Cost Reduction book. The requirement is that the test reader(s) should have a strong financial background. The book is around 40,000 words, so it will take some time to read. I would send a Word file to any volunteer. A line editor has already done most of the grammar and spelling corrections, though some could still have slipped through.

I expect to write two blog posts next week. The first will be a relatively short one on things to consider as you design a customer survey. The second will be the first of several covering behavioral economics topics and their relevance to customer experience. These and all other blog posts are variations on some content in our three forthcoming books.

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You can also email me, Maurice FitzGerald, at mfg@customerstrategy.net.

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