Is customer satisfaction vital to a successful business? Of course! Is there anything more important than a satisfied customer? Absolutely! Wait a minute…what? What could possibly be more important than a satisfied customer? After all, if the customer is not satisfied, they will not purchase from you again or refer their friends and family. I agree 100%, but if your focus is on customer satisfaction, you are putting results first and quite possibly ignoring the most important piece of the puzzle.
Consider this…employee satisfaction is far more important than customer satisfaction. After all, if your business is full of satisfied employees, doesn’t it follow that your customer satisfaction results will be great as well? If your customers are only dealing with satisfied employees, isn’t that better than them having to deal with a dissatisfied employee? Since people enjoy dealing with people that they like, how difficult is it for them to be satisfied if they are dealing with an employee of yours who is only pretending to be happy or worse, unhappy and not trying to pretend otherwise?
Let’s start at the beginning. Are you hiring the right people for the job? The job market is tighter than it’s ever been. You know that. You are experiencing that every day. There just aren’t enough qualified candidates available at a time when many businesses are experiencing growth and need more employees to sustain that growth. There is more than one way to address this problem.
The first one that comes to mind is ‘we need to hire the right people, but we don’t know what we can and cannot do to improve the process and remain compliant with all the government regulations’. There are ways to work within the system and improve the odds. For example, you can verify, prior to a new employee stepping foot on your production floor or jobsite, that they are physically capable of performing the job for which they applied.
Think about that for a minute. It is important enough to repeat...you CAN verify that every new employee is physically capable of performing the job for which they applied before they ever set foot on your jobsite or production floor. No more ‘surprise’ injuries the first day or first morning or first hour on the job. No more replacing a new employee the day after they were hired.
The second is more important than the first. What if you could improve employee satisfaction to the point where you didn’t have to replace as many people (turnover) at the same time you are trying to hire to fill new positions? Would that one thing, by itself, free up time allowing your HR professionals to focus on more important aspects of their jobs?
How many employees have been with you for 5 years, 10 years or longer? Ask them what they like about working for you. Ask them what they would do if they were in your position and could make any changes that they could to improve the working conditions for their employees. ‘That sounds like an exit interview’. Correct. Why wouldn’t you want to have ‘exit interviews’ before your good people leave you?
Many businesses send out customer satisfaction surveys. How many send out employee satisfaction surveys? What if your employees could anonymously tell you what they like or didn’t like or wish they could improve or change to make their jobs more satisfying? For example, what if you could find out that the reason for higher turnover in a certain department or facility was due to a problem with a specific supervisor or manager? Maybe you could ‘fix’ the problem with targeted training for that supervisor or manager and decrease your turnover.
As your turnover improves, it follows that everyone’s job becomes easier. You spend less time looking for qualified employees. In fact, qualified employees may start looking for you! Your quality control becomes easier. Your customer satisfaction increases. All you had to do was start at the beginning instead of the end.
About the Author:
Ray Gage, Director of WalkerHughes Allen County Office, is a Master Work Comp Advisor who's passion and life's work is to help sophisticated, process-oriented businesses create safe, healthy, productive workplaces, and as a result, more profitable firms. Feel free to contact Ray at email@example.com or by phone at 260-627-3641 with any questions or inquiries.