Loyalty Begins At Home

in Aug 13, 2018
Group of business people.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Work your pay plan.” It doesn’t matter whether you held a position in sales, service, or parts, this advice has always been considered good. Towards the end of the month, when Sales Managers need those extra units sold on the weekends in order to hit bonuses from the manufacturer, they throw cash bonuses at the salespeople. The same thing happens in the service drive when it comes to tires or other service goals. It’s easy to see how a little extra cash might help motivate staff to work a little harder to achieve a sales goal. Recently a Nissan dealership in the San Francisco Bay Area provided a $30.00 incentive to the service writers for each pre-paid maintenance plan they sold in the service lane.  They quickly sold over 250 plans in one month generating over $50,000 in plan revenues. But just as importantly they easily retained those 250 plus customers for another two years of service. However, the next month there was no sales incentive and those same service writers sold only 14 plans.  So it is easy to see how engaged employees can either help or hinder a far more important goal… customer retention and loyalty.

The Temkin Group’s 6 laws of Customer Experience infographic contained two laws that, were they not next to each other, could be overlooked as being connected.

“#4: Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers

#5: Employees do what is measured, incented and celebrated.”

There are three types of employees: unhappy, satisfied and engaged. You notice that I left “happy” off of that list? It’s very simple, really. Your employees are either not happy with their job (whether you know it or not); are satisfied with their job (whether you know it or not); or are an engaged employee.  It’s fairly easy to identify a person who is unhappy with their job. They are typically going to underperform or perform at minimum acceptable levels; they may or may not have attendance issues… you see where this is headed? Hopefully, you know how to handle those types of employees. The trick is to be able to tell the difference between someone who is engaged with your company and someone who is simply satisfied with their position. The reason it’s so important is that, as the Temkin Group points out in their 4th law, if your employees aren’t engaged with your company, they cannot create engaged customers.

The difference between someone who is simply satisfied with their position and someone engaged, is that an engaged employee will be a brand advocate. They are emotionally invested in the success of your business.  They work harder to make sure that the customer experiences the same feelings they have, and are just as disappointed when things don’t go right for the customer. They also go above and beyond to make it right. They may not have the best solution, but the fact that they are going to bat for the customer means that they care.

If you subscribe to the 5th law described above, there could be an opportunity to include some incentives for customer experience. Many dealerships reward sales reps for perfect CSI surveys, so this idea isn’t foreign. It’s simply that once the perfect survey is rewarded, the incentives stop, so the salesperson moves on to the next customer. The same idea could be carefully implemented long term. Whereby excellent customer service experiences are rewarded or, at the very least, celebrated.

Identifying engaged employees, transforming satisfied employees into engaged ones, and turning around some of those unhappy employees, greatly increases the chance that your employees will then transfer that engagement to your customers. This creates better and more memorable customer experiences. Customer loyalty is based on the law of reciprocity. Provide those excellent customer experiences by having employees who want to give them, and your customers will reward you with their loyalty in return.

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