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Engage your employees and you engage your customers

In the past, Britain hasn’t always had the best reputation for customer service. Comedians would construct entire routines about poor service. TV shows would ratchet up healthy viewing figures showing it. And other nationalities – especially those across the pond – struggled to understand why we put up with it.

That seems a very long time ago.

Because far from being a nation renowned for its rather haphazard approach to service, things have turned 180°. We, as customers, now accept exceptional service as standard.

And that has implications for every business in the land.

Because the service you provide to your customers isn’t just gauged by the service norms in your industry – you’re measured against every business your customer comes across. Your delivery speed, customer care and online CX are all compared to name-brands across the market which are heralded for their services.

The bar has indeed been raised. And it’s very high.

So how do you meet these stellar expectations? How does your business reach the standards of service that today’s customer has come to expect?

Well, the first step is to have purpose. To convey your ambition and aspirations to staff and customers alike. Here at O2, that’s articulated as ‘Making every day better through personal experiences that count’.

But to really make a difference, to really make your customer experiences sing, you need buy-in from your staff. People in your organisation have to feel your purpose every single day. They have to live it.

It’s a tough ask, but an achievable one.

Start by posing yourself a few questions…

“Are we doing enough to help our people?” 

“Do we empower them so they surprise and delight our customers at every touch?”

“Do we create the environment to help employees be their very best?”

These questions – and the answers to them – are critical because ultimately, the people who take care of your customers are the most important people in your business.

It’s a fact recognised by more and more businesses who create ever more ingenious ways of keeping staff – and customers – engaged.

We heard from AO at O2’s Blue Door Conference in October, for instance, that they leave bottles of water in their delivery vans every day for their drivers. Nothing unusual in that you might say, but on the side of every bottle is the line :A little bottle of happiness. Bottled by pixies in Crewe…“, enough to send anyone off with a spring in their step.

The importance of employee engagement is something we never underestimate at O2. In fact, we’re committed to engaging with all 6,700 of our people in a way they can genuinely relate to.

That’s why we make the most of our digital platforms to run a host of programmes designed to appeal to our entire workforce that say “You are important to us”. We use monthly Live Streams, for example, to host the kind of conversations people are genuinely interested in. Our ‘Biggest Night In’ is used around conferences and any big product launches so people can see, feel and talk about the latest tech in groups. O2’s Got Talent was a great, fun way of not only discovering our brightest entertainment stars but also keeping staff engaged.

There’s no ‘silver bullet’, no one-size-fits-all solution for keeping staff motivated and happy so they in turn surprise and delight customers. Really successful businesses create their own unique ways of keeping staff – and customers – happy. These ideas don’t have to be grand projects (remember the AO water bottles?), they just need to resonate with staff and put a genuine smile on their face. A smile they’ll pass on to customers.

And the lightbulb moment that sparks those projects can come from anywhere. The only constant is that you need to keep evolving, stay curious, keep thinking and learn – even steal – from others. We’re all consumers, so get ideas from your own experiences online, on the high street, anywhere.

Because when you focus and engage with the people who deliver your CX, they’ll never stop focussing on and engaging with your customers.


Find out more about delivering a successful customer experience strategy in our Blue Door events blog series inspired by organisations like yours.

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