How Employee Recognition Supports Customer Satisfaction


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Achieving a high level of customer satisfaction requires providing customers with positive, helpful interactions with support team members. Of all the ways to generate a satisfied customer base, this is one of the most important.

Positive, helpful interactions with your support team are crucial because it sets the tone for your customer relationships. The moment a customer interacts with your support team, they’re going to associate that experience with your company. If that experience is positive, they’ll feel positively about your brand. However, if that experience is negative, they’ll see that as a reflection of your brand.

When your goal is to increase customer satisfaction, there are hundreds of small things you can change. However, there’s something you may not have considered: employee recognition.

Recognition encourages high performance

Recognition has the power to bring out the best in your staff members. When employees feel recognized, they’re more likely to do their best and represent your company in a positive manner, and as a result, your customers will benefit.

While 89% of employees say positive feedback is their biggest motivation, only 39% receive any feedback at all; positive or negative. If your workers aren’t getting any feedback or they’re only getting negative feedback, it’s going to affect their performance.

For example, say a customer wants to process a return. A worker who feels unappreciated might make that customer feel like it’s a burden to help them with their return. On the other hand, an employee who feels appreciated will make them feel like it’s no big deal and they’re happy to help.

You want every customer interaction to feel light and easy. As one example, easy returns will help you keep more customers long-term even when a particular product doesn’t work out for them.

How to recognize your employees

There are several ways to recognize your employees, and these are the most common:

  • Verbal praise. Employees love being told they’re doing a great job and that their work is appreciated. After putting in many long and hard hours, it’s nice to hear that appreciation from the boss. Verbal appreciation can go a long way to make workers feel like they’re a genuine contribution to the team.
  • Physical awards. Many companies recognize employees with a physical item, like a crystal award plaque. These can be given for any reason, but the most common reasons are anniversaries and promotions. Physical awards serve as a constant reminder to workers that their efforts are appreciated.
  • Cash bonuses. Who doesn’t love a cash bonus? When employers offer a generous bonus to their employees, either with or without a reason, they’re going to feel appreciated. Employees who work for an hourly wage appreciate cash bonuses because many live paycheck-to-paycheck.
  • Permanent raises. Sometimes, a permanent raise is an appropriate way to recognize an employee who has been doing an excellent job over a long period of time. This type of raise doesn’t need to be huge to make someone feel appreciated. For workers who have proven their value to the company, even a small permanent raise can motivate them to give their all.

All of these forms of recognition are effective and you can use them all periodically to make a cumulative impact.

Recognition creates a feeling of purpose

Employees want to feel like their work makes a difference, that what they’re doing serves a purpose. When you recognize your staff, they feel that sense of purpose. People are more likely to do their best when they feel like what they’re doing matters.

For example, a purpose-driven customer support team will take on the responsibility of making sure each customer is satisfied, not because it’s their job, but because they really feel it’s their purpose. When this happens, your customers will receive outstanding support.

Happy employees create happy customers

Improving customer satisfaction is no small feat. It requires a commitment of time and resources, but it all begins with happy employees. In fact, according to data, 35% of companies with a recognition program notice an increase in customer satisfaction.

Recognizing your employees increases motivation, boosts their engagement, makes them more willing to learn, enhances company culture, and catalyzes employee innovation. All of these directly foster customer satisfaction.

Your employees are directly responsible for your customer experience, so it makes sense that when you nurture them, you automatically nurture your customers. If you haven’t launched an employee recognition program, consider starting one and you’ll be amazed at how much happier your staff and customers will be.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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