The Employee and Customer Satisfaction Effect


by Roy Atkinson
October 2, 2016

In the HDI 2015 Support Center Practices & Salary Report, we published our findings about employee satisfaction survey frequency and satisfaction levels. About 25 percent of the respondent organizations (n=803) survey employee satisfaction annually, 14 percent measure monthly, and 12 percent measure weekly. Other organizations measure daily, quarterly, bimonthly, semiannually, or on another schedule.

On the whole, we found that support staff members are satisfied (62 percent), with almost one-fifth indicating that they are very satisfied.
 
staff satisfaction, employee satisfaction

Source: HDI 2015 Support Center Practices & Salary Report

What does this all have to do with customer satisfaction?

When we performed a deeper analysis of the possible relationship between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, we found that, on average, customer satisfaction was 5 percent higher in those organizations with satisfied or very satisfied employees. Although 5 percent may not seem like a very large number, in an industry without wide variance in customer satisfaction, it is a significant amount. (Don’t forget: All surveys are subjective.) Our research findings uphold the adage that if employees are happy, customers tend to be happy.

Why is this so?

Consider your own general experience for a moment. If you check into a hotel, or check out groceries at the market, or interact with service employees in almost any way, you feel better when that interaction is with someone who is friendly and who seems happy at their work. Disgruntled or depressed-looking employees leave an entirely different impression. When you receive any customer satisfaction survey, you are being asked to give your impressions, and your responses will reflect the experience you had. Any interaction—a smile from the person vacuuming the hallway, for example—affects the customer experience positively or negatively.

What factors contribute to employee satisfaction?

Knowing that employees are satisfied without knowing why is not very useful, and so we asked support centers to tell us. What we heard is that employee satisfaction has more to do with people than with compensation. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of the respondent organizations who had satisfied or very satisfied staff credited relationships within the team as a factor, and 65 percent said it was their management. Compensation, including benefits, was third at 52 percent. Other factors in the top five were organizational culture (51 percent) and paid time off (49 percent).

Employee satisfaction has more to do with people than with compensation.
Tweet: Employee satisfaction has more to do with people than with compensation. @HDI_Analyst @ThinkHDI

Based on all of this information, we can say that:

  • If you want satisfied employees, start with the team
  • Money matters, but it doesn’t matter as much as people do
  • If your employees are satisfied, your customers will be more satisfied, too

If you are not measuring employee satisfaction now, you probably should be.


Roy AtkinsonRoy Atkinson is HDI's senior writer/analyst, acting as in-house subject matter expert and chief writer for SupportWorld articles and white papers. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee and the HDI Desktop Support Advisory Board, Roy is a popular speaker at HDI conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. He is a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on December 9, 2014. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson.


Tag(s): customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, metrics and measurements, supportworld

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