Putting Employees First Increases Customer Delight

Customer Service
Customer Service
Tom Feeney, president and CEO, Safelite AutoGlass, focuses on employee engagement to help ensure customer satisfaction.

Tom Feeney's promotion to president and CEO of Safelite AutoGlass in 2008 initiated a cultural transformation at the auto-glass repair company. The new approach emphasized internal improvements that would ensure customer delight. "Up until that point I knew Safelite was a good company, but it had the potential to be a great company," says Feeney, a 20-year veteran of the company.

At the heart of those improvements is employee engagement, built through accessibility across the organization.

This synchronizes harmoniously with the company's core principles of people first and customer delight. "It stems from the philosophy of always having an open door and being accessible to all of our constituents,"

Feeney says. "When you make yourself accessible, it means...being responsive to customer needs, not putting in a filter that would direct them to others. It means being involved in the business."

Feeney's focus on employees led Safelite to implement People First, a pledge that highlights the four cornerstones for developing engaged employees: leadership, caring, focus, and talent. Leaders, first and foremost, create an engaging environment among associates, one that encourages them to deliver outstanding results. Focus recognizes that, to believe in people first, you must concentrate on those who carry out the service. Caring emphasizes a genuine concern for people, meaning leaders listen to and communicate with associates effectively, making sure they understand what to do and holding them accountable for their actions. These great associates, in turn, represent an abundance of talent that drives the company's competitive advantage.

"When you have great people, and you invest in your people, and you communicate effectively with your people, they in turn will delight the customer," Feeney says.

Safelite also instituted the Technician Profile Email, which provides customers with the date, time, location, and insurance confirmation the day before their appointment, as well as the photo, bio, and credentials of the technician coming to their home or business. This added level of visibility increases customers' comfort and builds trust in both the company and the technician. "We feel it's important that [customers] have a picture of the person and know a bit about the technician who's going to come out and do their work," Feeney says. "And to say we've received phenomenal feedback is an understatement."

According to Feeney, technicians represent the heart and face of Safelite, while the customer service agents who answer 15 million calls per year in the contact center represent Safelite's voice. From these calls, along with phone surveys, Safelite analyzes customer "verbatims" to uncover what employees need to improve upon and what actions deserve special praise. The executive service team can also draw out negative comments from a sea of positive feedback and call particular customers to let them know their complaint has been read and will be investigated.

"We don't care how many customer issues we get. We believe we should try and investigate and search out all negative comments [and resolve any issues]," Feeney says. "Every customer touchpoint, everything customers tell you, is a nugget of gold."