Many of this month’s blog posts have been around improving the rampant levels of declining customer service levels in most organizations. Managers often point to frontline servers attitudes as the source of the problem and look for quick motivational or training fixes. But who hired the servers? Who trains them? Who provides the systems and processes they’re forced to use? Who provides on-the-job coaching or criticism? Who nurtures the levels of criticism or celebration they find at work every day? Who sets their priorities and directs their efforts? Who addresses or ignores daily job irritants? Who nurtures or neglects teamwork and team spirit?

“Satisfied and engaged employees – even those who do not deal directly with customers – bolster a company’s bottom line, according to a study from Northwestern University. The report, ‘Linking Organizational Characteristics to Employee Attitudes and Behavior,’ ….There is a direct link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, and subsequently between customer satisfaction and improved financial performance, because a satisfied customer is less expensive to serve, says James Oakley, the author of the study.”
– “Satisfied employees affect bottom line, study says,” The Globe & Mail

“Creating an organization that is successful and effective is an inside-out proposition. The quality of the culture, the quality of management practices, and the alignment of these practices with key strategic initiatives rests with leadership…leaders also hold the key to organizational vitality — the creating of an environment that allows employees to win and be passionate about what they do. By taking care of employees, leaders establish an environment in which the employees take care of the customers at a level that causes the customer to want to return year after year.”
– Study connecting profits to leadership capacity from The Ken Blanchard Companies

“Emotionally committed employees form teams that deliver exceptional outcomes…customers recognize the passion and commitment employees feel toward them and cannot help but respond in emotional ways…this emotionally driven reaction builds a bridge between employees and customers that creates engagement…this engagement becomes the key factor that drives sustainable growth…sustainable growth is the route to profits and, ultimately, higher stock value.”
– Curt Coffman and Gabriel Gonzalez-Molina, Follow This Path: How the World’s Greatest Organizations Drive Growth by Unleashing Human Potential

“You can’t measure and manage the employee and customer experiences as separate entities…most companies are not currently organized or prepared to manage employees and customers under the same organizational umbrella. But because the crucial juncture in creating value in sales and service organizations is the interaction between employees and customers, you must view both sides of the employee-customer encounter as interrelated and mutually dependent. As a result, you must assess and manage these human systems as a coherent whole, not as separate pieces.”
– John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund, Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter

“When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied, ‘Only stand out of my light.’ Perhaps some day we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light.”
– John W. Gardner, author, U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson, and President of the Carnegie Corporation