As experts in the customer experience industry, Market Force receives requests every month from brands looking to deploy customer experience survey programs. While we have a series of best practices to offer these firms, I am struck by how infrequently these companies are thinking about the Service Profit Chain. Developed in the mid-90s, this model establishes the relationship between profitability, customer loyalty, employee satisfaction, and productivity.

If this research holds true, why do so few brands conduct surveys of front line staff? Simply put, the first building block to great customer experience is having engaged team members to deliver it. Every customer satisfaction survey program should include an employee study that focuses on both engagement and enablement. These two employee-focused components provide rich insight into the environment in which your teams are operating and the perceptions that they have of it.
Our approach to conducting these studies is to first survey employees and then link the feedback to important business outcomes. These outcomes include attrition, productivity, error rates, and employee absenteeism, as well as key performance measures such as customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, same-store sales, and average transaction.

Our research shows that employee engagement is an important driver of business outcomes. In one recent engagement, we helped a retail brand discover that locations with higher employee engagement results also had 23% lower absenteeism, 15% lower turnover, and 3% higher satisfaction ratings. The results presented a clear connection justifying investments in further employee engagement initiatives that would enable them to reduce costs, increase morale, delight customers, and ultimately, make more money.

At Market Force, we recommend conducting these studies twice per year, in six-month intervals. This cadence allows for enough time to analyze results and take action on the insights derived by each effort. Following the studies, we’ve found brands that implement action planning processes and tools based on data modeling and analytics have the greatest chance of driving measurable change. Needless to say, the old adage still holds true, if you take care of your employees, they will take great care of your customers.
As Managing Director, Brad Christian consults multi-location businesses on optimizing the customer experience. With a focus on driving location level performance improvement in both customer loyalty and financial metrics, he helps client organizations prioritize initiatives based on their potential to deliver ROI.