NPS Blog

The magic of engaged, empowered employees

Energetic, enthusiastic and creativeA couple of weeks ago, I found myself on a marathon shopping trip with my family. We were visiting my son at college. As autumn progressed and temperatures began to drop, he realized that his wardrobe of shorts and t-shirts was not going to keep him warm enough. Off to the mall we went.

I’m an impatient shopper at best, so after four hours I volunteered to get my son’s iPhone fixed at the Apple Store. The small store was full of shoppers playing with the new iPhone 6, getting help with iMacs and waiting for appointments with Apple’s “Geniuses.” More distressing to me was the line of a half-dozen customers just waiting to see the “concierge” for the Genius Bar. There was no way I was going to see a Genius that day. Even so, I decided that I’d rather wait in queue and see when the next appointment might be available than rejoin the quest for the perfect sweater.

After a few minutes, I reached the front of the line, finding myself face-to-face with an iPad-wielding, bearded store employee. I said, “I’m sure you can’t help me today. I can see you’re really busy.” “Right,” he said. “We’re fully booked today. Can I make an appointment for you tomorrow?” “No,” I replied, “we’re leaving town tomorrow.” “What do you need to see a Genius about?” he asked. “My son’s iPhone won’t charge completely.” “Do me a favor,” said the employee, “and stand over there for a minute until I can work down this line. I might be able to help you.”

A couple of minutes later, he called me over and asked to see the phone. He peered deep into the connector on the bottom of the phone, using his own phone as a flashlight. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a paper clip, which he unfolded and inserted into the hole. Like a magician pulling scarves out of his sleeve, he drew what seemed like inches and inches of lint from the impossibly small space.

“That should do it, sir,” he said with a grin. “If that doesn’t work, tell your son to bring it back. Have him ask for me.” He handed me a business card with his name and the store’s location.

This guy loves his job. He’s passionate about Apple’s products, and he wants everyone to enjoy them as much as he does. If he didn’t care much about his job, he probably would have sent me on my way, dismissing my complaint as not his problem.

Day by day, little by little, detached employees wear down customers and fellow employees. Sometimes, the proliferation of unenthusiastic employees indicates hiring mistakes. More often, employee detractors indicate a company culture that saps employee energy, enthusiasm and creativity. While management teams generally don’t intend to create such a culture, they too rarely succeed in creating the opposite—a culture that fosters energy, enthusiasm and creativity in serving customers.

It’s a well-established fact that companies that put employees in a position where they can consistently earn the enthusiastic advocacy of customers win in the long run. What’s less apparent to the leaders of many companies is how to earn the enthusiastic, energetic creativity of employees.

In our latest Loyalty Insights, we describe the employee Net Promoter System as well as how companies are using it to inspire their employees and to provide them with a way to shape their own work environment. We look at the best practices of companies with truly engaged employees, along with the tactics they use to involve their teams in problem-solving and ownership for both their own work environment and their customers’ experiences.

Net Promoter System podcast

We also explore some of these same issues on the latest Net Promoter System podcast. In this episode, Fred Reichheld and I discuss a new employee engagement tool he’s developing called HuddleUp. It’s an app that helps employees provide feedback about their work to teammates and managers, identifying opportunities to work better together and serve customers more effectively. As you know, Fred invented the Net Promoter Score and considers engaged employees crucial to a company’s success.

Here’s the latest Loyalty Insights brief: Energetic, enthusiastic and creative. You can listen to my discussion with Fred on iTunes, through the player below or on our podcast pageClick here to browse more Net Promoter System podcasts.

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