Customer experience gets a lot of focus when it comes to doing business, and rightly so. A happy customer is a return customer and so spending time building positive and memorable engagements with clients is vital to a business’s continued success.
But customers aren’t the only people that factor into a business’s well-being. A business is nothing without the employees that do the work and a poor employee experience can directly impact a customer’s impression of a business.
The trouble with disengagement: burn-out and boredom
We’ve all heard a lot about burn-out in the past few years. According to Gallup, 76 percent of employees have experienced burn-out in the course of their full-time job. Burn-out stems from overwork, poor support systems, and a lack of institutional support. And it’s not just a feeling of being overwhelmed; it has real, measurable symptoms that directly impact work. According to the World Health Organization, burn-out creates:
Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
Reduced professional efficacy
Increased mental distance or feelings of negativity or cynicism about one’s job
To sum it up: burn-out makes people less able to do their jobs and less able to do them well. They make mistakes, forget things, get behind on their workload—all things that can impact customer experience down the line.
The other side of the spectrum can be just as damaging. Chronic boredom has almost identical results as burn-out: depression, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and a multitude of other symptoms. Having too little to do can cause employees to disengage just as easily as having too much to do.
All of this amounts to apathy, disinterest, and a sense of meaninglessness—which customers pick up on. According to research by PWC, a bad employee attitude is the number one reason why customers take their business elsewhere.
The benefits of engagement: real people, real connections
But there’s another side to the coin: good employee experiences create great customer experiences. As the world grows more automated and digitized, more and more customers are naming a positive human interaction as a primary reason to choose a business. This means that addressing disengagement and poor employee experience directly impacts and improves a customer’s experience.
The good news is that even though burn-out and boredom have different sources, it turns out you solve them in pretty much the same way. According to Forbes, the biggest ways are by creating meaning and a sense of belonging and support.
One of the biggest ways to combat both of these is by directing employees toward more meaningful work. Whether it’s by reducing busy work and redundant tasks or creating more opportunities for employees to work directly with customers, helping employees find the “why” for their job tasks will help them service customers better no matter their job role.
Beyond that, building structures to create a sense of belonging can help burned-out employees feel supported and bored employees become more engaged. Strengthening communication and giving employees the space to voice their ideas and concerns not only relieves pressure on key employees, it opens the floor for those directly interacting with customers to suggest ideas that will improve their experience.
Good experiences all around
Employees impact customer experience at every level of B2B sales, whether they’re a salesperson speaking directly with a client, a member of a legal team drafting a contract, or an accountant sending them an invoice.
Keeping employees engaged through meaningful work and a sense of community not only ensures a good experience for the customers they work with, it also opens the door for new and innovative ways of doing business, based on real employee and customer experience.
If an employee enjoys their work, customers will notice the difference. And if one person has a good day, they can share it with someone else.