Linking Customer Experiences with Rewards to Employees

“People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise, and rewards.” – Dale Carnegie

Employees would pass on to customers what they receive from their company. As per the quote, it would be beneficial to a company to ensure that they not only compensate their employees well, but also show them appreciation and thankfulness through recognition, praise, and rewards, if the company expects them to do more than whatever is part of their job description. Linking customer experiences with rewards to employees would then, make a lot of business sense – satisfied and energized employees tend to be better workers and are more likely to ‘go the extra mile’ whenever required for their company. There is no doubt that today’s customers want the best and unless companies provide excellent service and top class experiences, they would not hesitate to find a company that will give them all that and more.

By linking customer experiences with rewards to employees, what a company would do is making a cultural shift and sharing its business imperatives with employees. The more buy-in a company can get company-wide, the more effective would they be with their customer service strategies. When each employee is pulling their weight towards common goals for the company, it would be easier to achieve the goals and remain consistently successful. Traditionally, people worked in the same company for years, with minimum benefits and incentives. Those times have changed too and companies that ‘look out for’ their employees will be the ones to gain a sustainable advantage. Smart companies understand that linking customer experiences with rewards to employees is the need of the hour and implementing cultural change immediately is critical to success.

While the leadership may be the ones taking the strategic decisions and formulating policies for customers and other parts of the business, it would be the employees responsible for implementing them. It would make sense therefore, to keep employees in a happy frame of mind so that they make good on all the promises the company makes to customers, and that is why linking customer experiences with rewards to employees is a good idea. Every company would pay a salary to its employees – that is the reason people take up jobs. However, unless they have good reasons to go beyond the ‘boundaries of their job description’, they would not – and such employees cannot contribute to the growth and success of a company. It is in the best interest of companies to give their employees more and recognize them for any extra effort they may make that contributes to customer experiences and in the attainment of company goals.

As mentioned, customer service and experiences should be something that each employee is aware of, understands the importance, and knows that it is part of their responsibility to the company. By linking customer experiences with rewards to employees, a company would have a level playing field for all employees irrespective of their job description. Some jobs have more visibility and hence would be recognized and rewarded more often – such as the finance or marketing departments, while others, which may be equally important, would not get the same recognition because they would not be as visible – such as the administration or housekeeping departments. However, when rewards and recognition are linked to ‘that extra’ in each person’s role – namely customer service and experiences – each person would have the ability and would be happy to highlight their contribution in the area that is not essentially part of their job description.

Training and coaching conducted companywide will help each employee know what customers truly want and expect from the company. Each employee must know how to access and use the CRM software and understand the importance of metrics such as Voice of Customer, Net Promoter Score, Customer Journey Mapping, and other such tools. It would be unfair on the part of the company to expect every employee to see a link between customer experiences and company success, without providing the requisite training. In addition, without linking customer experiences with rewards to employees, it would be unjustified to expect employees to do more than what they were hired for.

In order for employees to adopt the company’s culture of customer driven practices and feedback-based policies, they would need an added incentive. Many companies conduct customer feedback surveys but make the crucial mistake of not sharing the ‘findings’ with their employees. Without knowing what customers feel about the company in the present, how can a company expect its employees to know what to change and which aspects need improvement. Effectively communicating customer feedback is the first step to linking customer experiences with rewards to employees – employees would know what is expected of them and what they need to do in order to elevate customer experiences and gain the rewards for ensuring that customers remain happy.

Of course, in linking customer experiences with rewards to employees, a company must also place direct responsibility on its employees for creating memorable experiences. What this translates to is that employees should have the responsibility to identify the deep-seated causes for customer dissatisfaction and the reasons that they may be happy with the company. Finding these root causes will make it simpler and more effective to find solutions and put in place strategies that would make every customer experience happier, leading to more business and success for the company. It all ties in – by showing employees that they play a vital role in elevating the standards of service from the company, employees feel responsible and energized to give their best, especially also because their actions would gain them recognition, rewards, and public praise.

As the market becomes more competitive, companies are finding it harder to attract and retain the best talent in the market. One of the top criteria for joining a company is its reward and recognition policies – along with others such as training opportunities, work environment, benefits, and other such incentives – beyond the normal salary. A full-fledged and structured reward and recognition is one of the top reasons for people joining a company and the lack of such a program is amongst the top reasons why employees would leave. A survey conducted in America, revealed that at least 65% employees left their jobs because they felt unappreciated since they received no recognition for their work. Employees are not motivated by their salary – that is for a given for the basic job they do. However, in order for them to involve themselves completely with the company and its policies on customer service, it would be essential to provide incentives and rewards to employees. Every employee would then be willing and happy to provide top class customer experiences in every customer interaction they may have.

Just as customers want and expect a company to appreciate them and their business, employees too expect that if a company wants them to do more than just their job, they are compensated adequately. By linking customer experiences with rewards to employees, the company is not only keeping customers happy, but also ensuring that its employees feel appreciated for doing more than ‘just their job’. Just as a customer service person cannot be expected to do part of a finance person’s job, so also the finance person would not be equipped to handle a customer service role unless properly trained and incentivized. Given that customer service is the top reason for customers to stay or leave a company, not linking customer experiences with rewards to employees, would be a self-defeating move for any company.


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