Is Employee Morale a Result of Your Customer Service Culture?

Which came first, the happy customer or the happy employee?

Recently, a returning client asked if I would deliver a one-hour presentation for his trade association. With further discussion, I learned that his group wanted its hired speaker to show attendees: “How to Motivate Employees During These Tough Economic Times.”

This got me thinking about the not-so-obvious parallels that exist between employees and customers …

The smartest companies know that employees are the lifeblood of their organizations. Culture is everything. Your people help to make up your company; your brand. They’re the ones who deliver the customer experience.

“Whether you are big or small, you cannot give good customer service if your employees don’t feel good about coming to work.” -Martin Oliver


The customer experience will never exceed the employee experience

Some 20 years ago I worked for a global restaurant chain. That experience got me more interested in hospitality and customer service. That employer operated on a principle that has stayed with me ever since: The guest experience will never exceed the employee experience. Every day I see evidence of the fundamental truth in that statement. Sure, a great employee might be able to deliver a great customer experience in spite of a less-that-ideal work culture, however, that situation isn’t sustainable. A poor employee experience can only wear on a worker’s attitude and negatively affect customer interactions. That employee will probably leave the organization before too long.

It should come as no surprise

So I set about to research employee satisfaction. I was looking for proof that “dollar” compensation is not one of the top factors in employee loyalty. Along the way I discovered an interesting correlation.

As it turns out, some of the best places to work are also known as industry leaders in customer service.

In the top 20 of Fortune magazine’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list, for example, you’ll find such firms as Google, Wegman’s Food Markets, and USAA.

That’s an interesting mix, isn’t it? A search engine, a brick-and-mortar grocery retailer, an online retailer and a call center serving insurance and financial needs.

Bottom line

Some might say poor customer service is a vicious circle: customers are angered by it, so they take it out on the employees. Others would blame hostile, demanding clients who cause frazzled employees to behave badly.

Consider this: Giving employees an opportunity to engineer a positive customer experience by way of autonomy, mastery and purpose might just be the magic pill you’ve been looking for.

I accepted that offer to teach a group of executives how to motivate employees and – between you and me – what I discovered along the way was this:

  1. Our intrinsic motivators at work don’t suddenly change with a changing economy
  2. We’re much more alike than we are different
  3. The customer experience is in direct correlation to the employee experience:

Happy employees make happy customers who make happy employees who make happy customers who are more likely to become raving fans who generate 80 to 90 percent of your referral business. But here’s the part that may surprise you, mainly because no one is talking about it or connecting the dots:

Employees who are given the permission, the training, the ownership, and a consistent opportunity to make customers happy are less likely to leave your company. An experience-based organization fosters employee engagement by giving your employees a sense of purpose. In other words, a culture of great customer service magically produces employee loyalty. Go figure.

Here’s a quick video segment of Richard Owen, CEO of SATMETRIX, addressing “The chicken and the egg” >>

Click Image to Skip to quick video segment

2 Compelling Reasons You Should be Using Online Video

Leveraging Online Video for Business (Part 1)

It’s not the future of the web … it’s the NOW

Internet users (that’s you) are watching an average of 186 videos per month¹ … 186! … per month!

A friend called me and said, “I was researching something today, and I just visited about 6 web sites. I’m at the point now where if I don’t see a video on someone’s home page, I’m gone!”

Is he alone? Absolutely not.


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what about a video?

Recently, I was hired by a great company to present and train at their national sales meeting. Although referred to me by another client, the vice president of sales listed her primary reason for hiring me as a 93-second video she saw on YouTube.


T.M.I. = A.D.D.

As the hours and minutes in our days seem to lessen, the amount of available information and often distracting messaging continues to grow. How many times have you gone to your computer to do one specific, quick task only to find that 30 minutes or more have passed in a flash? It’s almost as if many of us have A.D.D. when we’re sitting at our computers – quickly losing focus and easily becoming diverted, distracted or sidetracked. There’s just too much information out there.


Here are 2 compelling reasons why I believe you should be using video:

1. Three Paragraphs of Text Can’t Compete with a Play Button

Given the choice, most people will watch a 90-second video rather than read 90 seconds worth of text. Did you know reading just one book a year places you in the top 20% of readers the U.S.? In other words, 80% of our population doesn’t even read one book a year². In fact, if just 15% of the people that receive this article in the form of an eNewsletter actually click through to this blog post – and then read it – experts will consider that a “good return.”

And while our society may have lost interest in reading, we’re really good at watching online videos. How good?

• 2 billion videos are viewed each day on YouTube alone
• 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every single minute
• YouTube is now the 2nd most-used search engine in the world (Google is #1 … but you already knew that)
• And, as stated earlier, Internet users are watching an average of 186 videos per month¹


Bottom line: Given the option between 90 seconds of reading text on a screen vs. clicking Play on a 90-second video … people are much more likely to watch the video.

Facebook Newsfeed

If you’re a regular Facebook user, do you notice how much more appealing those [Read more…]

Google’s CEO on Coaching … and Self-Perception

What you can learn in 40 seconds from Google’s CEO

A billion-dollar tip (or 2) in under a minute

My friend and colleague, Myron Radio, must feel as strongly about this 40-second video as I do — He has a link to it, at the bottom of every e-mail he sends out.

There are two related — yet very distinct — messages in this short clip from an interview with Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt. I was so inspired by both topics and really wanted to share an observation, especially since I’m wondering if most viewers will only see the obvious one. I’d love to know what you think…

The Obvious:

Eric Schmidt’s tip on hiring a coach may already be a familiar one to you. The most recent observation and parallel you could draw from coaching has to do with our Olympics. For the last 16 days, we’ve watched in awe as the world’s top athletes have endured what most of us would consider unfathomable.


These Olympians achieve such greatness in their area of expertise that there is only enough room (in the world) for a select few to even compete on their level.

So, what can a business owner, CXO, manager or salesperson learn from these elite few? You guessed it: coaching is what helped get them there and coaching is what helps keep them there. A coach can help you navigate your path to success and a coach can help you maintain your existing success. Every Olympian has reached great success and every one of them has a coach. Every single one. Shouldn’t you?

“The one thing people are never good at … is seeing themselves as others see them.” ~Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

The Not-So Obvious:

Okay, this is the part of the video (below) that really got me excited. It’s related to the Driven To Excel tag line, “Aligning Behavior … with Mission.” At the end of this video clip, Eric Schmidt says, “The one thing people are never good at … is seeing themselves as others see them.” So true, right? If you’ve ever taken a personality test, you know exactly what he’s talking about. At a recent leadership meeting, our facilitator took us through an interactive exercise involving the four personality types. What was most fascinating to me was that the group’s perception of each individual was usually completely different from that of the individual. In other words, you could think (perceive) that your dominant personality trait is influence while everyone around you sees (perceives) it as dominance — two distinctly different personality types. And perception is reality…

The same holds true for your organization. How are you (your organization; team) showing up for others? If you saw this ad (left) in the paper, what would you “make true” about the “county?” They’re spending $250k! … to advertise … A LACK OF FUNDS?!?

Just today, I was visiting the web site of a marketing company … a marketing company. The site consists of one single page of (boring, me-centric) text (not one single picture) and the founder’s personal email address at the bottom. What would you “make true” about this company? Obviously, the founder doesn’t see herself (her company) the way others might. She’s simply unaware of how she’s showing up in the world. Maslow might classify this as unconscious incompetence. She doesn’t know … what she doesn’t know. I’m sure I’m guilty of this from time to time … aren’t we all?

I see it every day; everywhere I turn. A self-proclaimed “seafood restaurant” serving frozen fish, an Architect’s flimsy-thin business card, an Editor with misspellings and grammar faux pas on his brochures, a financial planner driving a Yugo, a depressed-looking comedian, a real estate agent … well, you get the idea.

While these might be the examples of obvious and blatant misalignment, the more subtle ones are all around us too. And all of these things are gathered as evidence, both consciously and unconsciously, by onlookers. QUESTION: Based on the “evidence,” what are your potential clients “making true” about you?

Maybe it’s time for an assessment. Maybe it’s time to consult with the CIO (Chief Impeccability Officer)

Embedded video from CNN Video

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