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Happy Employees Create Happy Customers "Studies confirm that employee happiness correlates with employee efficiency, creativity, and productivity. This, in turn, has the same effect on customers– proving that happy employees make customers happy."

By Priyanka Mittal Edited by Aby Sam Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Creating happy customers is key to running a successful enterprise- but how does a business or business owner ensure this?

While the majority of business owners are more likely to focus on things like providing great customer service, building a strong sales team, offering competitive pricing, and developing creative marketing strategies, the reality of the matter is that the success of a business lies in the happiness of the employees who run it. Unhappy employees can negatively impact the productivity, turnover, and overall efficiency of the business, which, in turn, has a knock-on effect on the customers. So, if your business is customer-centric, invest in your employees first.

The correlation between the satisfaction of your customers and your financial performance is easy to see. This is especially true if your employees are interacting with customers a lot. Studies confirm that employee happiness correlates with employee efficiency, creativity, and productivity. This, in turn, has the same effect on customers– proving that happy employees make customers happy.

But taking active steps towards employee happiness requires planning. And if you want to succeed in genuine rather than forced employee happiness, you must do the following.

Find out what makes your employees happy You need to not only define what success means for your company, but your employees as well. It's easy to say "money"- but that's not it. Money is the result of achieving a goal or benchmark. What do you want for your company and its employees? How should they feel about their workplace and the experience with your customers? Figuring out what motivates them, and defining it helps to create a roadmap and actionable plan you can put in place.

Ask them See how employees feel about the current situation. What do they like, what do they dislike? What changes would they want to see most? What do they think about your goals? Invite them to share their feedback, and ensure that negative feedback is welcome and plays a crucial role in changing things for the better- without consequences!

Related: Why Organizations Should Take A Customer-First Approach During Unprecedented Times

Foster a giving community You want to become a business that gives more than it takes. If you just take, you can expect high turnover rates and unsatisfied employees. Giving more than you take –be it salary, bonuses, perks, flexibility, good atmosphere, friendliness, or inclusiveness– will help keep satisfaction and retention well. Not every startup can afford large bonuses, but you can reward employees in other ways and recognise their achievements and growth. Something as simple as gifts on birthdays, or awarding "employees of the month" with rewards, can help make your employees feel more human and less like being part of a machine.

Reflect happiness in your company culture Think about the current culture of your workplace– the shared values, behaviours, and assumptions on how things are done in your company. It's a key element to ensure your employees can thrive in the workplace, to feel safe and included. Where do you stand on feedback, collaboration, and transparency? Do you have actual guidelines on company culture, or did you just let employees blend one together out of their own values? It doesn't matter if you offer the best services and products in the world. The experience your customers get when interacting with you is the deciding factor. Without a clearly defined culture, every employee will have a different experience in their workplace. This also means that customers will have different experiences when interacting with different employees. Don't dictate the change on your own– your employees should be on board before you start a journey towards a culture that is aligned with happiness and company values.

Turn negatives into positives While your aim is to employ people who will support your company, you must know what to do with people who you have already employed that just don't fit. The best thing to do? Figure out the unique talents of who you have employed, and help them decide what they want to do. Where are they most happy? Can you accommodate or work towards this goal by facilitating training or learning? For instance, if you have someone in sales who isn't a "people person," you could be damaging your customers, and your employee's happiness as well. Instead, move this person to where they are suited best, and get someone in sales who is going to let their happiness shine on the customer.

At the end of the day, when customers are happy, you'll stay in business. When customers are more satisfied, the business will experience better market positioning. But ultimately this lies in the hands of your employees, which is why it's important to keep them happy and satisfied. Ultimately, investing in employee satisfaction and building an inclusive and positive workplace culture doesn't just make employees happier. It also helps to acquire new talent, and spills over beyond the company walls and into customer experience.

Related: Focusing On The Problem You Are Solving Will Help Attract Your First Customers, Says 2018 Dubai Smartpreneur Competition Winner WakeCap

Priyanka Mittal

Director, KRBL Limited

Priyanka Mittal has been Director at KRBL Limited since April 2001. In her current role, she oversees KRBL’s offices in UAE and USA and is responsible for international business, marketing and brand development of the KRBL product portfolio. She is also head of strategy of a new product development and product diversification portfolio.  Along with her brand management role, she oversees legal matter pertaining to intellectual property. While at KRBL, she has spearheaded the development of the ‘India Gate’ brand, which accounts for over 80% of the company’s total revenue.

Mittal represented KRBL at the World Economic Forum from 2013-2015.  In 2004, she presented a paper to the Nigerian key heads of state from the agriculture and industry, on Nigeria’s path to self-sufficiency in collaboration with KBRL. She also represented the Indian rice industry, in the Confederation Indian Industry delegation to Malaysia, for open market access on agriculture commodities from India. She put forward India’s interest to BERNAS – Malaysia’s Rice Board that controls domestic as well as imported rice into its country.

Given her keen interest in promoting women leadership, Priyanka was a Special Advisor to the ‘Women in Parliament’ – a European Parliament Initiative. She also is an advocate for food security and sustainability, hunger and malnutrition issues, supply chain management, food storage and wastage.

Priyanka is the Chairperson of the Agri Business and Food Processing Committee – PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and has been a member of several associations including YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India) and FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry). She is also the Northern Region-Chairperson of FIEO (Federation of Indian Export Organisations), Ministry of Commerce, and the Government of India.

Priyanka holds a degree in business management from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, USA, and has graduated from Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management program. She is on the board of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.


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