October 7 through October 11 is National Customer Service Week—a week dedicated to boosting morale, awarding the “front line” service representatives, educating “the rest of the company” on the importance of customer service, and thanking “other departments” for their contributions and ongoing support, and, of course, letting (external) customers know how important they are. A lot to do in a week—and too bad we only spend a week doing it!
Most employees can readily recite the company's customer related goals and objectives—but do they live them? The phrase “a happy employee means a happy customer” comes to mind. An executive I once had the pleasure of working with, and working for, always said that— “if I keep my employees happy, they will keep our customers happy.” And, he was right. It was a service company, and a unhappy employee was exposed to many customers every day—unhappy turned to rude which could very quickly equate to lost business.
Happy Employees=Happy Customers
How happy are your employees? Are you sure? When was the last time an employee satisfaction survey was done? Asking an employee face to face does not necessarily provide the same information that a confidential employee survey would. Employees may feel uneasy or even threatened truthfully answering questions with a potentially negative response when asked face to face. But when they are allowed to answer anonymously, they find the courage to say what they are really feeling. Another vice president I once worked for was always confident that morale was high, and employees were happy—the total opposite of the truth. But, he was sure because he walked around once a month and asked the entry level employees questions. Imagine, an entry level employee, usually at their first job, being questioned by a Sr. Vice President—most of them could barely get a nervous hello out of their mouths when he came, to say nothing of reporting their feeling of being undervalued, or that there wasn’t enough light to do their work! So, of course everything was wonderful, when indeed it was not! A confidential employee survey could provide the information needed to improve employee satisfaction which would, inturn, improve customer service to the level desired, improve productivity, reduce turnover, improve morale, etc.
Employee Satisfaction Surveys
Employee surveys, whether paper or on-line should not be voluntary. A random group of employees should be selected, (or the entire work force), to assure a good sampling of results. If done on a voluntary basis, only the very happy and the very disgruntled may respond, skewing the results.
The survey should also include one or two free form questions or ask for comments, to be sure that all employee concerns are addressed.
Share the Results
Once the survey results are received, it is important that the information be shared with the participants or employee population for the following reasons:
Increased trust - The employees know that management is not trying to hide something; and are willing to address the issues.
Insure future participation - If the employees feel that their voice is being heard, they will be more likely to participate in the future. If they feel that the survey results are not valued, they will not “waste their time” in the future.
Added accountability - Publishing the results will require addressing or responding to the issues. Employees will know that someone is assigned to work on those issues that can be “fixed.”
Employee satisfaction surveys should actually be done about once a year. This will allow comparison of results, the ability to measure the success of any programs implemented or changes that were made as a result of information from the previous survey.
An employee satisfaction survey that is confidential, not too lengthy and easy to complete can garner a lot of information that could ultimately be critical to the success of the branch or corporation. Employee attitudes impact the entire gambit of a business and spill over to the customer base on an ongoing basis. If your organization does not currently conduct employee satisfaction surveys, National Customer Service Week might be a good time to start the process. It really is true—HAPPY EMPLOYEES DO MAKE FOR HAPPY CUSTOMERS!