Disengaged employees force customers elsewhere

Disengaged employees could be having a discernible negative impact on small businesses, according to new research by The Institute of Customer Service on Employee Engagement.

The report found that just a quarter of UK employees feel engaged in their roles and suggests that staff who are not engaged may actually be causing customers to look elsewhere.

It is reported that only 11% of customers said they would buy further products from a retailer if they had a bad experience with an employee.

Those experiencing such a situation would also actively warn others against shopping at a certain place in 43% of cases – a case of once the damage is done, it is difficult to put right.

A lack of customer service training was found to be a key issue for retailers, with only 14% of employees having a positive thing to say about their firm when dealing with bad customer experiences.

Not only does this risk reputational damage for a company but it could also cause sales to fall, mainly through a loss of repeat custom.

For small businesses that operate on tight margins, they can ill-afford the impacts that can result and may struggle financially.

When coupled with late payments and supplier issues, staff engagement is yet another issue that firms need to face in order to ensure they are in a position to continue trading.

Where debts do mount up, firms may be faced with a winding up petition if a creditor decides to take action – in such instances, acting quickly is essential.

The Institute of Customer Service has indicated that businesses to focus on engagement if they want to ensure that customers do not look elsewhere for the goods and services being offered.

Supporting employees with training and professional development can go a long way to rectifying the situation.

Those businesses that invested in their staff were more likely to win repeat custom, while 67% of customers said they would return to a retailer if they had a good experience.

Engagement issues were particularly paramount among 18-24 year olds, as just one in five said they felt engaged, considerably below the levels noted among other age groups.

By Phil Smith

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