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How to drive customer loyalty by engaging your employees

Nov 28, 2018 4 MIN. READ

How to prepare and engage your frontline employees in delivering a successful loyalty program.

Traditionally, brands across service-oriented industries like retail and restaurants approach employee engagement and customer loyalty as two separate initiatives.

At the same time, frontline employees interact with customers every day, and they often directly control customer engagement and satisfaction. Service at the front line – whether good or bad – impacts customer engagement and ultimately customer loyalty.

That’s why it is critical to prepare and engage your frontline employees in delivering a successful loyalty program.

There are stark differences between organizational goals and employees’ individual goals: Seventy percent of U.S. workers report disengagement at work, and about half are actively looking for a new job. That poses a challenge to organizations striving for increased customer loyalty: How can you engage customers when your own employees are preoccupied with leaving?

As you develop, implement, and evolve your loyalty program, it’s key to understand five factors that motivate employees:

1. Share your mission.

Mission-driven employees tend to be more engaged and successful. When employees understand the program’s mission and purpose, they’re able to deliver the intended customer experience. They need to understand how their actions impact the organization’s broader strategic goals, whether it’s enrolling a new member, delivering a benefit, or recognizing a customer’s membership.

2. Set achievement goals.

Empowering employees to reach specific goals will help connect company interests to personal and professional growth. Incentive programs that reach all employees, regardless of their position, can improve employee engagement and retention. At the same time, it is also important to emphasize the importance of organizational rules and local regulations on incentivizing or compensating employees to avoid risks like employee fraud.

3. Recognize employees (out loud)!

In addition to incentive programs, both formal and informal recognition programs can help boost morale, engagement, and retention. Whether it’s an official “Employee of the Month” title, or a way for customers to provide positive feedback on their service, recognizing employees for their efforts in helping to achieve loyalty goals will have a positive impact for both your customers and employees. And celebrating employee accomplishments with their peer groups drives the engagement of that group.

4. Let them experience the program as a customer.

Allowing employees to participate in or experience your loyalty program will enable them to personally see the value. These experiences provide valuable insight for employees to share with prospective customers, while also creating an authentic way to sell the program.

5. Keep them informed as a key stakeholder.

Employees want to know that their individual contributions make a difference and that the organization values them. Regular reports or updates on overall program performance can help to connect employees--to the company, to leadership, and to the program. Transparent communications about program changes will also help to equip employees with the necessary messages to engage with customers.

As customers gain more agency over their purchases than ever before, they expect more personalization and authenticity from brands. Front line employees, as ambassadors of the organization, drive brand perception and loyalty with every customer interaction and experience.

What tactics have you used to ensure employees are engaged and motivated in delivering a loyalty program? Let us know by tagging us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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