Leadership and Engagement

employee engagementThe result of the EU referendum last week has, over the weekend, led to unrest in both the conservative and labour parties. Leaders in all areas of life – be it politics, sport or business are directly responsible for creating the culture in the team they lead and this culture directly affects engagement.

Creating the right culture in a team leads to higher levels of engagement, and it is known that engagement affects many factors at work – from attendance and attrition to performance. This is particularly important to leaders of customer service teams, as there is growing evidence that connects employee engagement with customer satisfaction levels.

Research by David Ulrich, professor of business at the Ross School of Business in Michigan, has shown that for every 10% increase in employee engagement levels, a company’s customer service levels go up by 5%. The reasons for this become clear when other research (from Accentuate) is considered. This research showed that that top performing (engaged) customer service staff create six positive customer experiences for every negative one, compared to four negative experiences to three positive ones for the lowest performing (dis-engaged) staff.

It is, therefore, not surprising that engagement is a hot topic in many board rooms - particularly since there are also some startling statistics out there on the level of employee engagement. Indeed, a recent Gallup estimate suggested that employee engagement was as low as 13%!

Given the majority of customer complaints are the result of “people related issues” (according to the Institute of Customer Service), anyone responsible for managing staff who have contact with customers (either directly in sales and customer support roles, or indirectly, such as in accounts) needs to take steps to create the right culture that drives engagement in their team which in turn will improve the customer service levels they provide.

However, managing a team to provide good customer service has never been easy and it’s not getting any better. Over the past years there have been large changes in consumer behaviour as the expectations of customer’s rise and their tolerance of poor customer service falls. So getting your management of your team right is more important than ever.

In future blogs we will look at how you can do this. However, in the meantime you may like to look at the blog on preventing conflict at work.