Companies offering an exceptional customer experience can exceed their peers’ gross margin by more than 26 percent.

How do you deliver a consistently top-level customer experience?

Sadly, there is no short-cut to becoming best in class. Creating great customer experience comes down to having great employees and treating them well. Looking after your employees makes them feel more engaged with your organization and more committed to your service goals. So how do you do it?

One good place to start is by evaluating the extent to which your employees feel genuinely cared for. Caring for your employees creates an emotional connection that drives a commitment to goals and overall engagement in the organization. If employees believe an organization truly has their well being as an individual in mind, this behavior will translate into their interactions with customers. 

How can you intentionally C.A.R.E.? Here are four things Disney Institute recommends:

Clarify. Before you embark on a customer-experience transformation, put as much effort and rigor into understanding your employees as you do into understanding your customers. Treat interviews, surveys, and suggestion boxes as important sources of information. Combine the input you receive with customer satisfaction scores, business metrics, and employee churn rates to isolate the issues that matter most to your employees and your business.

Align. Define a common purpose that encapsulates what your organization stands for, and make it the emotional pivot around which all your employee and customer strategies revolve. Forget slick marketing campaigns; instead, use common purpose to rouse your employees to action on the things that count. Make sure all your leaders are 100 percent aligned with this vision. Without their commitment, communication and implementation will soon break down.

Reinforce. Even the best customer-experience program is of no use unless leaders put their commitment into practice by being role models for the behaviors they want employees to adopt. Seeing leaders acting in a new way encourages employees to follow suit and makes common purpose a living reality within the organization. To help the changes stick you need a systematic reinforcement program combining training, coaching, and 360-degree feedback mechanisms. Develop metrics to track how employees are performing, and intervene when necessary. Training and coaching should evolve over time as the needs of employees and the organization change.

Empower. Clarity about expectations plus freedom to act, equals an empowered front line. Establish quality standards to ensure your employees make real-time decisions that are consistent with your common purpose. Then support your quality standards with behavioral guidelines to shape your desired customer experience and enable your staff to measure, coach, recognize, and reward one another in their day-to-day work. Armed with this framework, they’ll be able to handle every customer encounter in a way that expresses your company’s vision and values.

What motivates employees to go above and beyond the call of duty to provide a quality, memorable customer experience? It starts with engaging your employees. For an example of how Barclays Center made C.A.R.E. a reality within their "Brooklyn's Best" service strategy, click here to read their Disney Institute case study