The link between happy retail employees and positive customer experiences

July 23, 2021 | 4 minute read
Dave Stark
Product Marketing Manager, Oracle CX
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Why do some customer experiences exceed our expectations while others are lacking in so many ways? While a number of circumstances can affect our experience, much of it comes down to the employee. Are they satisfied? What kind of experience are they having with the company, and how does that impact their ability to satisfy the customer?

Learn more about new approaches to building an agile workforce by watching the replay of the recent Virtual Summit, “Skills Matter: What Your Organization Needs to Survive and Thrive.”

Positive customer experiences stem from each step of the customer journey with a brand—from awareness to purchase and beyond. Each interaction contributes to the overall experience across industries, but perhaps even more so in retail.

What keeps customers coming back?

The interaction between a customer and store employee greatly affects the in-store shopping experience and the feeling of satisfaction (or lack thereof) a customer leaves the store with. But buying online has become much more prevalent and, in many cases, much easier for consumers. According to Statista, over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online in 2021, up from 1.66 billion global digital buyers in 2016.

As there are now viable alternatives to going into a retail store, many consumers today are only tempted to shop in-person if the experience makes it worthwhile. The experiences that compel customers to visit a store go beyond a simple transaction. They offer a positive experience, and store employees play a key role in that.

Happy employees lead to happy customers

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that how employees feel about their own job affects how they treat customers. Engaged, satisfied employees are more likely to provide excellent customer service, creating a solid brand affinity that keeps customers coming back.

According to KPMG, when employees choose to work at a company, they’re placing a premium on their evaluation of the company and what it provides for them. Addressing and prioritizing employee satisfaction can only lead to better results for both employee performance and positive engagement with customers.

So how can employers focus on their internal customers and provide their employees with a positive experience that will trickle down to their customers? The answer:  with process, purpose, and even a little artificial intelligence (AI).  

Create employee experiences with a process and a purpose

To offer your employees great experiences, be intentional and focused on doing so. Put the necessary processes in place to be successful.

In the book, “The Power of Moments,” Chip and Dan Heath highlight industrial farm equipment manufacturer John Deere, which uses an onboarding program that applies across industries. John Deere developed an invaluable first day experience to welcome new employees, help them acclimate to their new job, and communicate that the work they do matters. The first email a new employee receives is from the CEO, who writes about the company mission “to provide the food, shelter, and infrastructure that will be needed by the world’s growing population.” From day one, employees feel connected, valued, and part of an organization that aims to contribute to the greater good.

This story is only one example of how companies can establish employee programs—for both new hires and those who have been with the company for years—to let them know they’re valued. Whether it’s new hire orientation, ongoing training and development, rewards and recognition, internal movement within the company, or prioritizing a diversity- and inclusion-based workforce, all these things contribute to a positive employee experience. When employees feel good about where they work, it translates to how they feel while they’re at work.

Elevate employee (and customer) experiences through AI-driven systems

Having the resources you need to do your job effectively contributes to feeling like a valued employee. And technology like chatbots, AI, and machine learning can help employers provide the necessary resources for their employees. Both employees and customers can use a chatbot to quickly find the answer to a question, and AI and machine learning power many of the applications retail leaders use to run their businesses today across HR, finance, supply chain, and customer experience.

At Oracle Advertising and CX, we recognize that every customer interaction matters. Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform helps businesses know the customer, predict what they need, and deliver the personalized interactions they’ve come to expect. And Oracle Dynamic Skills within Oracle Human Capital Management improves employee experiences by helping organizations provide the skills for today’s workforce to thrive.

Brand loyalty for both customers and employees depends on positive experiences, particularly how they’re treated and understood. Both groups are seeking experiences that are authentic, context-aware, and empathetic. And neither group is a captive audience. They’ve made the choice to be there—to shop or work with a particular company. So it’s more important than ever for retail leaders to have a vision of the experiences they want to provide and put the systems in place to make it happen.

Want to hear more about how to provide positive employee experiences and positively impact your brand’s customer experience? Watch the replay of our latest virtual summits.

Dave Stark

Product Marketing Manager, Oracle CX

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