What’s Love Got to Do With It? How Employees Impact Customer Experience


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I know it sounds strange, but I am in love with my Apple and Amazon products and services. Do your customers love your company or brand experience? Is it a “WOW” experience or a “What’s That For?” (WTF) journey?

You might spend millions to attract customers, but don’t pay enough attention to the people (your employees) who can truly help realize the success and customer lifetime value of your brand. I believe that strong customer experiences start with your company employees. One of the best ways to ensure a powerful customer experience is to create a happy environment for employees who are responsible for your brand value and vision.?? At every touch point employees can “make a difference” and impact the customer experience along the journey.

Your customer experience management (CEM) program motivates employees to transfer their experiences (good and bad), each and every customer “touch point”. So, simple as it sounds, if you keep your employees happy (feeling good), focused and rewarded, they create the same experience for customers. Happy, people-centric, experiences increase brand loyalty and build a dedicated customer following. ??So, how is it that not any employee but only a ‘happy’ employee creates an outstanding experience for your customers?

??A happy employee replicates the happy experience for the customer as a “real/real” emotion. You can’t fake happiness. It is natural to want to spread happiness, and a real happy disposition is bound to bring a smile to your customer. Making it “happy” happen requires that you define a work culture that reflects the commitment of the leadership team to the employees; that fosters a sense of genuine caring and optimism among all the rungs of the organization.

At Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, delivering a great employee service takes a greater priority to customer service. The ‘Kimpton Spirit’ of genuine happiness, caring, and optimism, is evident in every employee working across the Chain. Employees here are known to say that they like to do something nice for their customers since it is what their managers do for them.?? Reputed online shoe retailer Zappos also follows the ‘happy employees’ philosophy. Managers here are encouraged to spend more time with their team than at their desks to develop understanding. Promoting fun and weirdness is part of the culture here. In fact, the organization offers new employees $2000 to quit their job after a month if they find it difficult to engage with the work culture here. ??An engaged employee goes the extra mile to keep customers happy – A famous real-life example that is often mentioned when talking about keeping customers happy is of Zappos. A client called up Zappos customer service late-night to test their customer commitment and asked for a list of pizza parlors in the neighborhood that were still open. The customer service agent though initially confused, did some research and gave him a list of pizza houses that served late-night. Also common here are instances where if a customer-preferred shoe style is not available with Zappos, they are guided to competitor stores that have them. No wonder Zappos creates customers for life.??

An engaged workforce is more productive. A valued workforce is an involved and engaged workforce. They work as a unit, collaborating for the success of the organization by understanding customer preferences and implementing them at every level for better product and enhanced service strategy.?? Happy customers are the best marketing agents you can acquire. With a management team and workforce that realizes the value of people, you succeed in delivering your brand value promise, achieve enviable customer allegiance, and yes profits too.

Keith Fiveson
A driven communications, customer care, operations, transformation consultant. Helping clients develop people, using convergence based technologies to brand, expand and optimize the customer experience globally.


  1. Hi Keith – thanks for a great post. I agree that customer-centric empowerment is integral to customer experience excellence. I also admire the way Kimpton, Zappos and Amazon uniquely manage customer-focused employee engagement. I’m a strong advocate for starting with the customer perspective in every strategy – otherwise an organization may have zealous employees who ineffectively connect with customers, causing suboptimal business results.

    Lynn Hunsaker helps companies improve customer data ROI, customer-centricity and customer experience innovation. She is author of 3 handbooks. See ClearAction.biz, Twitter.com/ClearAction, Facebook.dj/customerexperience.


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