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How leaders
can impact
customer engagement

“To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.”

Doug Conant, former CEO of the Campbell Soup Company

B.J. Fineman | September 30, 2016

Companies wanting to understand how to better engage their customers often start by brainstorming what an engaged customer looks like, performing brand studies, and assessing digital strategies. While these efforts are important, they’re missing a key step that’s right under their noses: looking at how engaged their employees are.

According to a Sorenson study, organizations in the top 25 percent of employee engagement outperformed their peers in the bottom 25 percent in terms of customer ratings, profitability, and productivity. A Temkin Group study also found that companies excelling in customer engagement have 1.5 times as many engaged employees as companies struggling with customer engagement.

Here are ways leaders can create an organization of engaged employees to help boost customer engagement:



  1. Treat employees the way you hope they’ll treat customers. In other words, treat your employees as your customers. Model for them—and to them—what it looks like to be respectful, helpful, and to go above and beyond. Be there for them when the going gets rough.

  2. Provide training opportunities for customer-facing employees. These don’t have to be expensive sessions; find employees with customer service skills that shine—then find a facilitator and hold lunch-and-learns that include role-playing activities.

  3. Set aside time on a regular basis for conversations about what went well and what didn’t, in terms of customer interactions. Creating a safe space for honest conversations leads to the betterment of the team as a whole.

As leaders, take matters into your own hands. Infuse your staff with the same appreciation, honesty, positive energy, and drive that a customer wants to experience when they interact with your company. You’ll see a boost in customer engagement—and your bottom line.

B.J. Fineman

B.J. Fineman is a leader in the Organizational Effectiveness practice at Slalom’s Dallas office. B.J. enjoys helping organizations and teams produce outcomes that matter.