By Sarina Rapini (Customer Impact editor)

Trying to make your customers happy but ignoring the satisfaction of your employees is like sending an apathetic, unorganized, and unprepared army into battle. Customer service and employee morale tend to go hand and hand. So what is it that makes employees content with their work? Throwing money at the problem with commission and pay raises is the typical approach, but research has proven again and again that this is not the case. Employees need recognition, opportunities to grow, job security, and the chance to be innovative. For 14 years, SAS has been included near the top of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for. As pointed out on CNN’s website, the summer camp for employees’ kids, car cleaning, beauty salon, and on-site healthcare definitely don’t hurt. However, as one manager stated, “People stay at SAS in large part because they are happy, but to dig a little deeper, I would argue that people don’t leave SAS because they feel regarded — seen, attended to and cared for. I have stayed for that reason, and love what I do for that reason.” Employees feel like part of the family at SAS rather than just an employee. Not only does this provide job security, but it gives a feeling of importance which creates pride for the company. An employee that feels proud about their company is willing to go the extra mile to see it become a success. They are happy to take work home, give a little extra time on the weekend, and genuinely enjoy coming to work, which obviously leads to upbeat, smiling customer service.

Take DreamWorks, who ranked number 10 on the list, as another example. CNN notes, “Any DreamWorker can pitch a movie idea to company executives — and can take the company-sponsored “Life’s A Pitch” workshop to learn how best to do it.” Even if an employee is making the lowest salary in the organization with the most menial job, they have an opportunity to innovate and contribute. An employee who feels devalued or unappreciated will not reflect the customer service or productivity that will make a company a success. Even retail stores like Recreational Equipment (REI) can make a difference in their employees’ lives and make them excited about work. CNN reports, “A separate Challenge Grant program provides up to $300 worth of gear to employees that participate in a challenging outdoor adventure (one cycled 500 miles across Iowa).” By rewarding, inspiring, and challenging employees, a job is no longer just a job. It is a way for employees to express themselves and their interests through their jobs, which enriches the role they play within the organization.

Getting involved in not only the lives of the customers but also the employees can create a valuable and dedicated team. Organizations like DPR Construction that “do a lot of celebrating: birthdays, baby showers, anniversaries, engagements, TGIF parties,” helps employees feel like their supervisors care about them and their lives, recognizing them as people with passions and family lives rather than just employees that show up for work. When the employees of your organization are happy to be there and loyal to an organization’s mission, customer service will flourish. It’s not enough to set up a good system of customer service, you have to empower and encourage the employees in the front lines to really make it a success. For help with improving customer service, please contact Customer Impact Info.

For a full list of Fortune’s 100 Top Companies to Work For:



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