CREATE – E=Engagement, Part 1

“Your employees come first. And if you treat employees right, guess what? Your customers come back and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees and the rest follows from that.”

—Herb Kelleher
Cofounder and Chair of Southwest Airlines

What is engagement? The business consulting firm, Allegiance, defines engagement as “the emotional bond or attachment that a customer develops during the repeated and ongoing interactions accumulated as a satisfied, loyal and influencing customer.” They continue, “any discussion of engagement must include the relationship between the customer and the employees who are responsible for taking care of the brand.” When the leaders of a business inspire employees to function at a high level of excellence, many constructive results evolve: measurable growth for the business; longevity of employees; less sick days, absences, and tardiness; improved cooperation between and among team members; willingness to change when it’s time.

For a long time, the mantra of business has been, “the customer is first!” Certainly without satisfied and loyal customers, a company does not stay in business. So, yes the customer is the reason for the business in the first place. However, without engaged employees, the customer will not be satisfied. In today’s digital world, finding an alternative company or provider of service is easy. Trust is hard to establish, easy to lose, and even more difficult to regain. Engaged employees who create and retain customers are the heartbeat of any healthy organization.

“Actions not words build trust. As a leader or as a teammate, knowing that others can believe you will do what you say is integral in creating and supporting a high performing team. It seems so simple. But you will often find it easier said than done. Internal trust of team members leads to trust from and with clients.”

Carrie Webber, Owner and Chief Communications Officer, The Jameson Group

In the competitive world of business today, having satisfied customer is no longer good enough. Dr. Ken Blanchard encouraged the creation of “Raving Fans.”: People who receive all they expect and a little bit more every time they have an encounter with a business (Blanchard, 1993). The goal of the organization is to move people from satisfied customers to faithful customers and then to engaged customers. Engagement is the key element of successful businesses in the 21st century.

“Having satisfied customers is no longer enough. You want people to receive all that they expect and a little bit more – at every contact. You want “Raving Fans.” – Dr. Ken Blanchard