Customer Service Starts With Employee Engagement

Infini Kimbrough
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Most companies strive to provide excellent service to customers, and successful companies know that they wouldn't succeed without good customer service departments. But, not all companies associate a high level of employee engagement with outstanding customer service. The companies that recognize that exceptional customer service starts with employee engagement have built loyal customer bases that steadily grow each year.

Rackspace Inc. is known for having exceptional customer service. In fact, the company prides itself on putting support at the forefront of everything it does. Company executives use the term "fanatical support" to describe the way energized and motivated "rackers" provide exceptional support to customers. It's not just the level of customer service that stands out, however. Rackspace Inc. has created a unique work culture, and the fun and creative work environment boosted the company's overall employee engagement, which in turn increased the level of customer satisfaction. In 2013, Rackspace Inc., an IT hosting company based in San Antonio, Texas, claimed the number thirty-four spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list—a forty-place rise from its previous year's ranking. According to an article that Henry Sauer, Vice President of Human Resources at Rackspace Inc., posted on the Rackspace blog, the forty-place rise was due to the work-culture changes that took place over the past year.

According to an article posted on the Harvard Business Review's blog, a recent study surveying 200,000 employees from forty different companies showed that employee engagement scores decline with employee tenure. It also highlighted the fact that employee engagement levels are the lowest among customer service and sales employees—the workers who have the most interactions with customers. So, what can your company do to improve employee engagement and provide good customer service to customers? You need to ensure that all of your customer service employees know and understand how valuable they are to the company.

To increase employee engagement, it's important to teach supervisors how to have candid conversations with their team members. Supervisors don't automatically know how to interact with employees they are overseeing, and, in fact, some struggle with the process. Successful companies have training classes specifically to teach new supervisors how to interact with others.

It's also imperative for your employees to know that their suggestions and opinions matter. Consider creating short online surveys that employees can submit anonymously to voice their opinions on various company issues and problems. Also, implement as many employee suggestions as you can because your customer service representatives know what makes customers happy.

Ultimately, the higher level of employee engagement your company has, the higher its level of customer satisfaction will be. Take some time to listen to your employees and implement changes that make them feel appreciated.


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