It has long been believed that to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction, a company needs to have satisfied staff.

But is this true?

It is one of those maxims that is always trotted out and it seems instinctively right.

Companies that research their customers often report that the way that staff deal with customers often has a very significant impact on satisfaction, repurchase intention and advocacy propensity.

And so, it goes, you need to ensure that your staff are satisfied to ensure that they are in the right frame of mind to offer the friendly, effective service that customers crave.

Last week, I listened to a presentation by the head of customer research for one of the UK's major retail banks.

He told the invited audience that its research showed no link between the satisfaction of staff in a branch with the satisfaction of customers that bank there.

In this bank, there is no statistical correlation between staff satisfaction and customer satisfaction.

The interesting thing about this case is that the bank knows of the lack of correlation because it has the data.

More importantly, it has architected a measurement system that enables it to understand the linkages between customers' attitudes and behaviours and other performance indicators.

It is this integration of measures that drive real insight. Intuition is nothing more than the ability to spot patterns earlier than others. Insight enables intuition.

Insight becomes easier when data from different sources are integrated; where like can be compared with like.

This takes careful planning. Too many organisations lack this ability.

Great business managers often say that they rely on their intuition. I suspect that they are more intuitive because they have more data points to help them build a richer picture of what is happening.

David Jackson is the Managing Director of Clicktools .


Published 29 September, 2008 by David Jackson

17 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (2)



Hardly exhaustive evidence though is it? If numerous companies had arrived at the same conclusion then you could perhaps understand it, but one bank could merely be an anomoly. Add in the current banking malaise and you could argue that what a bank says is good customer service is a fine example of what you shouldn't do. This is especially so when you consider the fact that UK banking customers are the least likely in Europe to switch providers.

So whilst you may have something it would require an awful lot more information than is provided here to allow an accurate conclusion to be given. After all, we don't know if this bank competes on price, in which case do customers care about quality? More info required please David.

almost 10 years ago

Anthony Sharot

Anthony Sharot, Search Marketing Director at

I once had the (mis)fortune to work in a company that delivered great customer service (as measured by responsiveness, consistency, opening hours and customer retention), however many of the staff didn't enjoy working there.

If nothing else it proved to me that even unhappy staff are capable of delivering good customer service, if management employ good staff and take customer service seriously. in this instance, treating staff badly resulted in a higher staff turnover and some good people leaving, but didn't directly effect the customer experience.

almost 10 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.