Any company that’s truly interested in customer satisfaction must first meet the needs of its employees; otherwise, it’s putting the cart before the horse. JetBlue (Nasdaq:JBLU) came to realize, in 2007, that it wasn’t doing a good job satisfying employees when it stranded thousands of its passengers because of a New York City ice storm. Employee morale dropped, and with it, customer satisfaction. Up to that point, the company surveyed employees once a year looking for feedback.
It needed to do more, so it implemented “Net Promoter,” a scoring system that calculates how many employees are actively promoting the company, both as a place to work and as a place to do business. Once it began to look at employee satisfaction department by department, it was able to deliver programs that put everyone on the same page and results followed.
Employees are the face of any brand. The quickest way to destroy brand equity is to disrespect them. Once you’ve lost trust, it’s only a matter of time before you lose the customer. Without customers, you have no business! It’s a slippery slope that, privately owned software firm, SAS knows well.
CEO and co-founder Jim Goodnight has been in charge for all 40 years SAS has been in business, and from the beginning he’s emphasized employee benefits, leading to 13 straight years in the Top 50 on Fortune‘s “100 Best Companies To Work For” list as of 2016. In its 2008 corporate social responsibility report, the company states, “If you treat employees as if they make a difference to the company, they will make a difference to the company … At the heart of this unique business model is a simple idea: Satisfied employees create satisfied customers.” Public companies are no different.