The Connection Between Employee Safety and Customer Satisfaction
An unsafe work environment poses hazards for businesses beyond the physical risks to employees. It can sour customer relationships in unexpected ways, damaging your reputation and creating other unnecessary, negative consequences.
But how does workplace safety affect customer satisfaction? We’ve outlined four direct connections between employee safety and customer satisfaction.
Safe workplaces help workers and customers feel comfortable
It goes without saying that customers won’t feel safe or comfortable visiting businesses that are prime targets for burglary, fire, or trespassing. But researchers have found that for employees to provide superior customer service, they need to feel safe too.
In one National Safety Council study on a group of electricians, the researchers discovered a direct connection between workplace safety and the customer experience. They found that in units with more injuries, customers were less satisfied with the service they received. The reason? The researchers linked safety to worker comfort, which carried through to customer interactions. “In an organization with a positive safety climate,” they wrote, “where safety does not take a back seat to productivity, employees are likely to believe they have permission to do things right. Doing things right is a permeating value in a work unit that is likely to reach into several domains of work behavior.”
In other words:
- When employees feel safe, they feel more comfortable and are more likely to produce better work and provide better service to customers.
- An unsafe work environment does not foster a culture of happiness for employees: it creates fear, anxiety, stress, and often resentment.
- These emotions affect performance and your employees’ interactions with customers.
Unsafe workplaces lead to high turnover
Nobody wants to work in an unsafe environment. When faced with hazardous conditions, good employees with other options will leave.
In customer-facing roles, long-term employees have a huge impact on the customer experience. Experienced staff have a deeper well of expertise to draw on in customer interactions, and this experience means they are able to forge and maintain strong relationships with those customers. Some customers love seeing familiar faces at businesses they frequent and can even convert into a long-term client through a friendly relationship with a single employee (ever have a favorite barista, or a mechanic who always knows exactly what’s wrong with your engine?).
In roles that don’t interface with customers on a daily basis, long-term employees still impact the customer experience. A long-term employee has institutional knowledge they can lean on to create better products and services for customers, which directly improves the customer experience.
A safe environment increases productivity
Some businesses cut corners with safety in the name of “productivity.” They think that time spent on safety training or safety checks takes time away from tasks that more directly affect the bottom line, like sales or customer service.
But skimping on safety actually has the opposite effect: employees working in unsafe environments are more likely to:
- Miss work due to injury or illness.
- Lose focus because they’re dealing with anxiety or distraction.
- Spend time dealing with the fallout of break-ins, accidents, or injuries.
When employees are safe and secure, they’re able to focus on their work rather than diverting time and energy into watching their backs. Safety increases productivity and lets staff focus on what matters most: your customers.
A safe workplace improves company reputation overall
No matter how great your product, if your organization develops a reputation as an unsafe work environment, people may second guess giving you their business. Conscious consumers seek out companies that they believe have positive economic, social, and environmental impacts; if a company develops a reputation as actively causing harm to its employees—or allowing harm to happen in the name of increased profits—many consumers will avoid, or in some cases, actively boycott them.
It’s important to ensure that your employees are safe and secure at all times, not only for their physical safety but to ensure a positive experience for customers. Contact us today to learn about how to keep your staff and customers safe.