Inspire your Employees or Lose your Customers
Here’s something you already know – customers are the core of your business. They drive your sales, word of mouth marketing, online reviews, and aftermarket business. Customer interactions with employees have a significant impact on customer retention. With brand loyalty weakening in the heavy equipment industry, it’s absolutely critical that customer experience is considered at all levels of your dealership, but especially on the front lines where one-on-one interactions happen between customers and employees.
It’s estimated that 70% of a customer’s perception of a brand is determined by their experiences with your employees. And with customer loyalty in mind, it’s important to look inward first, by measuring, fostering and growing your employee engagement. Empower them to become your greatest advocates, and customer loyalty will follow.
We’ve found that, just by surveying employees at low engagement locations, customer experience scores have increased by 1-3 points on average the following quarter. In one case, an ag dealer that had been conducting customer feedback surveys and closing the loop with customers for 8+ years was struggling to create memorable experiences in one of their service departments. Then, two years ago, they introduced our annual employee engagement assessment. As a result, they achieved a 10-point increase in their service department’s customer satisfaction score within the first quarter. Let’s take a closer look at how measuring success and giving their employees a voice helped this dealership create an alluring and inspired workforce culture.
Building the Right Foundation Through Calculated Engagement
This dealer first focused on creating an experience-based roadmap of actionable opportunity by promoting organizational buy-in, defining objectives, and establishing well-defined future processes.
Once established, collecting employee feedback and measuring employee engagement was much more straightforward, and allowed the organization to more easily identify areas of opportunity, adapt processes in need of improvement and analyze the impact on employees in real-time when introducing new initiatives.
The bottom line is that this dealer understood that engagement is not just a human resources task but is ingrained as part of the company culture. When an employee is inspired and engaged, it becomes easier to instill core dealership values and help them understand exactly how their contributions impact customer experiences.
Farm Equipment’s 2017 Brand Loyalty Study reveals that, while the foundation of customer loyalty begins with a good product, loyalty is strengthened and solidified by strong post-sale parts and service support. According to the study, 41% of respondents mentioned that a customer not being prioritized by the previous dealership was a key factor for their switch to another dealer. With roughly 7 out of 10 employees claiming they would work harder if they felt their efforts were recognized (LinkedIn), it becomes a priority to create a dealership culture that embodies the importance of exceptional customer experiences and builds an employee engagement program that fosters this type of attitude.
For dealers, the key to evolving and impacting dealership growth is continuing to grow engagement year after year through flexible ongoing processes that define future expectations. By fostering an employee-forward culture and continuing to drive improvements based on the voice of your employees, you’ll be better equipped to build employee empathy, loyalty, and trust that translates into more impactful employee performance and more satisfied customers.