Critical link between employee & customer happiness

JoAnna Brandi

The only way you can consistently and reliably create happy, engaged, committed and loyal customers is by creating and nourishing a work environment where the employees feel valued, appreciated, connected, cared about, and challenged to be the best they can be. Positive customer experiences are directly related to positive employee practices.

Businesses, non-profits, educational institutions – are all at a crossroads now. The “old guard,” leadership models that have served us for thousands of years are simply no longer effective. Just look around. If you want to attract and retain the brightest and the best employees and customers today, you’d better be looking at how leadership operates in your organization. If you’re stuck in some version of the “Power Over” model you’ll eventually lose to a competitor who has the wisdom to adopt a “Power With” way of doing business. Power Over is about control. Power With is about inclusion, co-creation and valuing everyone’s contribution.

It’s time for old outdated “Power Over” leadership practices to change. The organizations that thrive will be those who develop a “Power With” practice that builds on employees’ strengths and creates a place where people are happy to come to work. Our bright, enthusiastic, technologically advanced young people want to work in a place where they feel valued and appreciated and where they can make a significant contribution – before they move on, that is. They want to feel good at work. Employees who feel underappreciated, uninspired, and disconnected don’t have the emotional or physical energy necessary to consistently deliver positive customer experiences except at the expense of their own health and well-being.

Employers who ignore this fact put their future profitability at stake. The talented young people in the workforce today refuse to tolerate workplaces that don’t value them and their contribution.  Sure, in the middle of a recession they will stay put –but beware – if they are not getting the kind of emotional experience they want at your place of business, they’ll be the first ones out as soon as the economy picks up and talent is needed.

Today, if you want to create value in the marketplace, you must create value in the workplace. Companies who are great to do business with and great to work for will be the companies that thrive into the future. People who feel good at work outperform those who don’t. Period.

According to the latest information from the Gallup Organization (who interviewed over 4 million people), only 29% of the American workforce is actually “engaged” in their jobs. Only 29% are passionate about and connected to the work they do. What a pity.

In a world where almost any product or service can become a commodity overnight, what differentiates one company from another is the quality of the customer’s ‘felt’ experience. If workers feel alienated, negated, not appreciated, disconnected or disengaged they are unlikely to deliver the kind of service that has the power to make you stand out – positively – in the marketplace. And since few people trust companies anymore, they rely on friends and networks to deliver the word-of-mouth on how you stack up. If your employees aren’t happy and committed to creating value, your customers won’t be committed to coming back and bringing friends. It’s pretty simple.

The “Customer Experience”  is the sum total of the feelings evoked as a result of any interaction that takes place at any touch point in your organization.  The customer’s experience is based on their perception of the value you deliver, whether tangible or intangible.

It’s time for organizations to wake up and shake up outdated thinking on what good leadership is. The deep-seated you-ought-to-be-grateful-you-have-a-job belief systems still exist and hold dysfunctional leadership habits in place. It’s evidenced everywhere.

Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”


It’s time to look at the belief systems that hold our old habits in place and shake them up a bit. Negative customer experiences don’t just come from the people on the front lines – they come from leadership mindsets that focus more on the profit and not enough on the people who produce it.

Maybe it’s time to take a look at what your leaders need to do to grow and attract the kind of passionate people that contribute discretionary effort that will help your company take exquisite care of customers. Maybe it’s the perfect time to look at what needs to be done to create a culture that innovates and creates the kinds of products and services that will put you heads above the competition and make your company a great place to work.

Happiness. Some people are afraid to say that word in the same sentence as the word Business. Is there a Return on Happiness? You bet there is! The new “science of happiness” research is proving the enormous benefits of positive emotion in and out of the workplace. Researchers all over the world have made the link between employee and customer happiness and profitability. There is NO doubt about it – how people feel at work impacts their productivity and your profitability. It’s time to take your leadership skills into the future and learn how to boost your “Positivity Ratio” as well as your profit –ability ratio.


JoAnna Brandi is Publisher of CustomerCare Coach, a weekly training program on mastering The Art and Science of Exquisite Customer Care. She is the author of Winning at Customer Retention, 101 ways to Keep’em Happy, Keep’em Loyal and Keep’em Coming Back, and Building Customer Loyalty – 21 Essential Elements in ACTION. She writes a free Bi weekly Customer Care Tip. Sign up at www.ReturnOnHappiness.com or www.customercarecoach.com Contact: 561-279-0027(US).


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