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Whose job is it to create member / customer loyalty for your organization?

Account managers? Customer service reps? Maybe YOURS?

You may even have a team in your organization dedicated to the client experience, like we do.

According to our VP of Client Success, Emily Hayes, EVERY SINGLE employee is an important player in the member retention and satisfaction game. From web designers to shipping clerks to payroll representatives, each employee should understand how their efforts contribute to happy members.

Because when organizations get it right, and members are loyal, the payoff can be huge. Research shows that 81% of emotionally connected consumers will not only promote the brand among their family and friends, but they will also spend more.

And we’re not talking pennies.

Repeat customers spend 67% more than new ones, according to one study.

So…member retention, engagement and loyalty are clearly a big deal.

But what about the employees at your organization… the ones expected to create engagement-invoking, loyalty-inducing experiences for your members?

What about THEIR retention, engagement and loyalty? Does THAT matter?

Human resource departments are typically tasked with keeping workers happy. And in the tightest labor market the U.S. has seen in 5 decades, HR professionals are learning that it absolutely matters.

A lot.

Engaged Employees Lead to Engaged Customers

Studies show that if you are looking to engage customers, the best place to start is with engaged employees. In fact, a study conducted at Cornell University linked companies on Fortune Magazine’s Best Companies to Work For with higher customer satisfaction scores.

The payoff comes in both retention and revenue. One report suggests companies with engaged employees see 233% greater customer loyalty and a 26% greater annual increase in revenue.

We’ve written before about how engaged employees = engaged customers, but it’s never been more evident than it is today.

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The unemployment rate recently descended to 3.7% - the lowest it’s been since 1969 when millions of men were pulled out of the workforce by the Vietnam War Draft. The Fed considers the “natural” rate of unemployment to be between 4.5% and 5%. So at a rate this low, there are more open jobs than workers to fill them.

And, frankly, it’s impacting the customer experience.

The 2018 holiday season is officially here, and you can bet your bottom dollar that consumers everywhere are preparing for it.

The question is: are you?

Whether you're in the business of customer loyalty, employee engagement, or member retention, the holidays represent a major opportunity to strengthen the relationships you value most.

Here at Access, we want to help you get ready. After all, 91% of consumers say they plan to "celebrate the season" this year, giving you a chance to fill a stocking with goodwill. Read on to learn more about how (and why) a little extra care and consideration can go a long way during the holidays.

Holiday Spending: Bigger Than Ever

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, people are feeling pressure to stay on top of their holiday shopping. 18% of U.S. consumers started their yuletide spending as early as September, with another 21% beginning before November and 60% before Thanksgiving.

There's no intention of slowing down the festive spending this year as retail holiday sales in the U.S. are predicted to grow between 4.3% and 4.8% over 2017, with Americans projected to spend up to $720.89 billion this year. Last year, 58 of the 60 shopping days in November and December resulted in over $1 billion sales ALONE.

It's no secret people are spending larger-than-usual sums of money to get ready for the holidays. So what exactly are they spending their hard earned dollars on this time of year?

Consumers plan to spend a total of $1,007 on average for items like decorations, candy and gifts. When buying gifts for others, the most popular purchases are gift cards/certificates (54%), clothing (53%), toys/games (46%), books (43%) and food/liquor (39%). And many consumers, 78% to be exact, are looking simply to shop for themselves. When they do treat themselves, 42% say they'll choose food/liquor, 40% clothing, 26% shoes, 22% books and 21% cosmetics/fragrances/health & beauty.

Posted by Brandon Carter on Mar 16, 2017 8:01:00 AM

What's the quickest way to lose a customer?

Have a bad product.

What's the quickest way to lose a customer AND their friends/family?

Have bad service.

Or, to place the discussion in broader terms, a bad customer experience.

A subpar customer experience - which includes the user experience with the product as well as their larger interactions with a brand and the company's employees - is something a person will never forget. 

A bad product, on the other hand, can be improved upon with a responsive company. 

Responsive companies are comprised of engaged employees. And in those companies, every employee owns the customer experience.

Whether they interface with customers directly or not, they have an impact on customer retention (and revenue). Employee engagement equals customer engagement and retention.

It’s funny how things always seem to come full circle. We grew up being badgered by our parents to say “please” and “thank you” until eventually it became a habit.

As a kid I vowed I wouldn’t make my own children say it, yet here I am, withholding candy until they say the “magic word.”

Saying thanks in particular is a simple, instinctive gesture for most of us. We don’t usually think about it when we say it, and the recipient may not notice it.

But let’s be honest - we notice when someone doesn’t say it.

Unless we’ve done something significant, it’s not a major deal. Just a bit of an annoyance. But it may make you reconsider helping that person the next time around.

It’s not an ego thing for most of us. We don’t expect praise for everything we do for someone. It’s just a common courtesy.

In business it goes beyond that, however. It's not just the finishing touch on a great experience, but a cultural mindset that pays off in the overall health of an organization, it's employees, and it's customer relationships.member benefits

Did you know Starbucks, probably the biggest coffee brand in the world, spends more on health benefits than coffee beans ?

They invest more in their employees than they do in their primary product.

They have a great corporate culture and they compensate fairly. If you asked them, they’d say their employees (and the on-site atmosphere those baristas create) are their primary product.

They’re one of the most beloved brands in the world, and odds are the majority of you reading this have bought a drink from there in the past 24 hours.

What Starbucks has done works very well.

Yet many companies are moving in the opposite direction.

Someone has been a jerk to you today.

It may have been during your commute, or maybe someone stole your parking space just as you were pulling in.

If you’re like me, just recalling the incident gets you worked up all over again. Your shoulders tense up, your stomach churns, and you think about all the snappy one-liners and responses you could’ve thrown out to put that worthless, snot-nosed barista right in his place.

If you experienced boorish behavior today, you’re not alone. Incivility may not be a growing problem – it’s always been around in some form and always will be – but people are growing sick and tired of it.

The uncivil world presents an opportunity for businesses: be a part of it and suffer the consequences, or be a personable, polite island of peace to customers, who just want to be treated like humans.