The key to improving your business's customer service could lie in your commitment to social responsibility.
Rather than motivating frontline employees who serve customers with more money or greater benefits, new research suggests corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities such as charitable giving, environmental programs and ethical practices could do the trick.
"What we found is that CSR motivates employees in an entirely different way,” said Daniel Korschun, one of the study's authors and an assistant professor at Drexel University's LeBow College of Business. "Because CSR communicates the values of the company, it can become a window into the values of the customer."
Researchers found that if employees believe that customers share their excitement about the company's CSR activities, it can break the ice and make conversations easier with those customers.
"Employees become more confident that they know what customers want," Korschun said. "And they become more motivated to serve those customers because they see that they care about the same sorts of things."
Korschun, along with co-authors C.B. Bhattacharya, a professor at the European School of Management and Technology, and Scott Swain, a Clemson University assistant professor, said their findings suggest that while traditional means of improving performance can be effective, CSR represents an entirely new way to motivate the frontline work force.
"This is an exciting finding for executives because we not only show that CSR can lead to better job performance, but we also document the entire thought process of employees," Korschun said. "Now executives can create CSR initiatives that maximize these benefits in job performance."
The study appeared in the May issue of the Journal of Marketing, which is published by the American Marketing Association.
Originally published on Business News Daily