Customer Satisfaction Comes When Employees Are Advocates, Not Foes

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Successful home builders recognize the importance of customer loyalty in generating sales. Few, however, realize just how significant employee loyalty is in achieving those same goals. Paul Cardis of Avid Ratings relates this to customer satisfaction.

July 01, 2009
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Cardis’ Tips

 

Paul Cardis on Customer Satisfaction

Successful home builders recognize the importance of customer loyalty in generating sales. Few, however, realize just how significant employee loyalty is in achieving those same goals. But customer loyalty is so dependent on employee loyalty that it’s impossible to improve the former without maintaining the latter.

This challenge is getting tougher, too. According to the biennial employee loyalty study by Walker, an Indianapolis-based consulting firm, disloyal employees in America now outnumber truly loyal ones. The study shows that the percentage of loyal employees has remained steady at 34 percent, while the percentage of high-risk employees is at 36 percent — 5 percentage points higher than it was in 2005. Negative employees now outnumber positive ones.

 


If ignored, high-risk employees have the

potential to cause significant damage to a company’s reputation.

The impact on organizations is far-reaching — from high turnover rates to low sales figures. According to the survey, loyal employees are twice as likely as disloyal employees to execute company strategies in their daily work. Loyal employees are also more focused on helping the company succeed, and they are more willing to help colleagues with heavy workloads.

If ignored, high-risk employees have the potential to cause significant damage to a company’s reputation. Just look at the recent case of Domino’s Pizza, where employees at one store posted a video on YouTube of a worker putting cheese in his nose before placing it on a sandwich and performing other bodily functions on the food. The video went viral, and the company’s CEO was compelled to post his own video to try to mitigate the harm.

Closer to home, one home builder’s disloyal employee became disgruntled and quit, only to call the builder’s clients to trash talk his former employer in violation of their employment agreement. Even though the builder got a cease and desist order from the courts, the damage was done.

Recovery from such employee damage is not easy, but it is possible. I recommend a transparent approach whereby employees openly discuss the actions of a rogue employee with those affected. Acknowledging the problem and openly discussing it will help customers assess your true integrity. In the end, most customers will overlook it if you handle it properly.

However, it’s best to avoid this problem altogether by having systems in place that make employees feel valued and connected. You can gauge employees’ current level of loyalty by asking a few questions about job satisfaction, productivity and how likely they are to recommend your company as a great place to work.


Author Information
Paul Cardis is CEO of Avid Ratings, a research and consulting firm specializing in customer satisfaction for the home building industry. You can reach him at paul.cardis@avidratings.com.


 

Cardis’ Tips

Be nice Treat your team with the same level of care that you give your best customers.

Inquire Survey employees to assess their attitudes about their job and your company.

Tackle the issues Resolve problems with disgruntled employees before they get out of hand.

Be appreciative Make every employee feel like a valued contributor to the company’s goals.

Be proactive Terminate high-risk employees before they have a chance to harm your company’s reputation.

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