Restaurants with the most engaged employees experience exponentially righer customer satisfaction ratings, according to research from management consulting firm DecisionWise.

While working with U.S. restaurant chains to measure and improve levels of company-wide employee engagement, DecisionWise quantified the impact on guest perceptions. Over a one-year period, restaurants ranking in the top 10 percent for levels of employee engagement experienced nearly a 300-percent increase in guest satisfaction ratings. Conversely, locations with employee engagement scores in the bottom 10 percent or lower experienced stagnant customer satisfaction ratings.

Further findings show that the locations that experienced the greatest gains in employee engagement had nearly a 400-percent growth in customer satisfaction scores.

A strongly correlated relationship between customer satisfaction and employee engagement directly relates to the profitability and long-term viability of a customer-centric company, according to Dr. Paul Warner, DecisionWise director of Consulting Services, who led the research on this project.

"The current restaurant environment is a competitive playing field where winning the hearts and minds of customers is the key indicator of success. Because so many employees in these types of companies have direct contact with customers, an engaged workforce is critical to creating a strong customer base and increasing market share. It is not surprising that those restaurants with the most engaged staff members also have created a better experience for their guests," Warner said.

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  • Chuck Udzinski
    Imagine, happy workers = happy customers. It seems so simple yet the blogo-sphere is chock full of testimonials that tell a much different story. Employees fundamentally want to do a good job. I doubt many wake up each day with the primary goal of doing a bad job. The problem is, as leaders we often fail to tell our employees the criteria for doing a good job. Want your employees to be engaged? Try the following: 1. Show them in non-accounting terms the relationship between profitability and great customer service. 2. Explain how their actions impact top line sales and bottom line profitability. Employees will take some ownership if they know their efforts make a difference. 3. Tell each employee the criteria for doing a good job. Take your time with this one and make sure the goals you set out follow the SMART convention for goal setting. Telling someone to go faster is not the right tact. 4. Measure their performance and discuss the results 5. Coach as needed. 6. Rinse and repeat #4 and #5 forever. 7. Ask your customers for feedback. The only way to measure satisfaction is to go to the source. 8. #7 seems easy but it can be disastrous if you go about it the wrong way. You may know a lot about your job but few people know a lot about surveying and how to interpret the results. Seek professional help. 9. Celebrate the wins. No matter how small a gesture or how grand, when the needle is moving in the right direction celebrate that moment with the team. 10. Don't give up. This is not the flavor of the month type of activity. Be ready to commit to the long haul. This process needs to become part of your DNA starting at the top and trickling down to the newest new hire. @chuckudzinski
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