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Thoughts from Disney and Gallup on Customer Satisfaction, Employee Engagement and Leadership

Posted Oct 17 2008 9:13pm
I've just returned from the ALFA conference - tired, but with new vision and energy.

Two themes stood out: Leadership and People.

Leadership: as Fred Lee (Lessons from Disney ) put it, if you're a manager and you're not shaping your employees' behavior directly, you're a WIMP! And good employees hate having wimps as managers more than nearly anything else. As leaders in providing services to seniors we need to take strong, active leadership roles. Training our team leads and department heads in leadership skills is vital to growing the kind of community we want.

People: Finding and keeping excellent caregivers is a crisis in senior care. As more people need care (with the aging boom) even more caregivers will be needed. Anything a company can to do hire and retain employees will put them ahead of the curve, significantly. In fact, basic survival will depend on the people you have providing the services you give.

One of my favorite speakers (after Fred Lee, one of my all-time favorites) was the speaker from the Gallup organization. I don't know his name; I got to the seminar after introductions were over, and half way through he explained that he was here as a substitute for the schedule speaker, his colleague, who had a family emergency. (As a fully engaged employee, he has a "best friend" on the team whom he would step in for in an emergency - evidenced this day.)

What he spoke about, however, resonated with me in a big way. Gallup works hard to find ways to quantify feelings and opinions - that's their business. You probably know them as the Gallup Poll people - that's their business of quantifying who you would vote for in the election if it were held today, for example.

Finding the exact right questions to ask is important if survey results are going to actually mean anything, and Gallup has this down to a science.

The speaker in this session talked about evaluating your customer satisfaction (by the way, that was Fred Lee's theme, too - satisfaction is a "0" - you've got to aim for a "5" if you really want to measure and build customer loyalty).

The goal is to evaluate the level of customer engagement so you can improve it. Gallup finds that if your staff are engaged and your customers are engaged your outcomes can be as much as 300% greater on those things you can measure.

Do you know what a FULLY engaged customer says about your business? Something like this: "I can't imagine a world without your company/community/product." Those customers are a "5" in terms of satisfaction, loyalty and engagement. Think this is impossible? Think about Starbucks or Google - many people can't think of a world without them.

Could your clients say the same about you? Could mine?

We have work to do, folks! Whether you're in the business of providing caregiving to seniors in a care setting like an assisted living community or nursing home, or some other service to this segment of our society, we've got work to do. Gaining the fully engaged employee is a start (see training imperatives in other entries); gaining fully engaged customers is the goal.

Only strong vision and leadership will make it happen.
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