If you’ve read any of our material or downloaded our complimentary articles, you know by now that we believe there is a strong linkage between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. There has been an overwhelming amount of research on this connection and how it positively influences a company’s financial performance; however, it’s important to clarify that this link isn’t always linear. In other words, companies can inaccurately assume that by improving one, they’ll automatically improve both. So, they start with the easier option and wait for both situations to get better. This is the wrong way to go about it – let me explain.

It isn’t that easy. Just as exercising and eating healthy are two factors to losing weight, treating employees well and satisfying customers are two factors to driving success – but with that being said, if you just do one, the other won’t automatically change for the better. If you just eat well but never move your body, you won’t necessarily lose weight. And similarly so, if you just strive to satisfy your customers, your employees might not feel any different. Doing both substantially increases your likelihood of achieving financial success.

If you’re wondering why the linkage matters, considering you still need to work at both efforts – well, I’ll tell you why. John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund published Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter in 2007, and through their research, they discovered that “Stores that performed well in employee and customer engagement – even though they may not have had the highest scores on either metric – tended to deliver considerably better financial results than those that scored poorly on the two measures.” In other words, you don’t need to be the best in one or both; you just need to be making strides in each area to achieve better results overall.

This is great news for 3 main reasons:

  1. It provides a focus. Companies can spin their wheels when deciding where to begin when they know they need to change. This evidence provides companies the direction they might be lacking.
  2. It provides a realistic approach to reaching results. If companies think that only one thing is standing between them and their success, they can put an unhelpful amount of pressure on the one department or one manager that they believe is responsible for making it happen. Knowing how these two things work in tandem can spread the responsibilities around.
  3. It proves that everyone matters. If just employees mattered – your customers wouldn’t want to return for more. And if just your customers mattered – your employees might feel severely shunned. But with this news, both factors matter, which ultimately means more people will be pleased with your company.