by Alex Palmer | October 16, 2014
While employee engagement reaps a number of benefits for an organization's internal culture, a new white paper spotlights how engaged workers also better serve external customers. Titled "Engaged Employees Provide Better Customer Service," the new report comes from the Performance Improvement Council (PIC) of the Incentive Marketing Association. 

"The paper points out that using incentives and rewards helps to promote a company culture of recognition that leads to deeper employee loyalty and, ultimately, increases customer loyalty through positive interaction," said the paper's author, PIC member Mark Prine, who is VP of major accounts at USMotivation, in a statement.

Prine drew on a wide range of researchers and studies to draw these conclusions. For example, he points to Purdue University professor James Oakley's findings that knowledgeable and attentive workers account for 80 percent of the reasons customers are satisfied. A Hay Group study finds that customers with high levels of worker engagement enjoy 22-percent higher customer satisfaction.

The report also looks into specific case studies, such as that of information technology hosting company, Rackspace. The self-proclaimed "fanatics" of customer service have enjoyed enormous growth and currently serve 60 percent of the Fortune 100 companies with an unusually high level of customer loyalty. Rackspace's leadership attributes this in part to its efforts to encourage worker engagement and recognition. One of the company's notable rewards is the monthly honor of giving a worker a "straight jacket," to recognize that the employee "can't be restrained in pursuit of great customer service." 

"We know from a variety of sources and studies that companies with high levels of engagement have better customer satisfaction scores," said PIC President Beau Ballin, who is also director of marketing for MotivAction, in a statement. "This paper connects recognition, employee engagement and customer satisfaction to bottom line results."

The full white paper can be downloaded here.