Creative employees lead to customer satisfaction.

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Letting employees be creative results in customer satisfaction. A study by the University of East Anglia has found that companies with creativity-oriented HR practices have more creative front-line employees, which result in better customer satisfaction.

The researchers looked at 329 employees of two firms in Lithuania. They found that the branches that were ranked as more creative by management had employees who felt more comfortable in their jobs, and in turn had better customer comments.

The logic is that, in what can often be the scripted and stifling world of front-line service sector jobs, having the freedom to creatively approach problems not only results in happier employees, but results in more customer satisfaction, because solutions can be tailored to their individual issues.

Study lead author Dr. Ieva Martinaityte says, “Customers want a more personal service, and we show that a more creative approach is a way to enhance their experience. Delighting the customer will increasingly stem from frontline employees’ creative rather than scripted role performance.”

No two customers are the same, but responses by people in the service sector sometimes are. If you’ve worked in retail or a call center, for example, you know that there is only so much you can do to help a given customer, regardless of how intricate or legitimate their issue might be.

The frequent inflexibility of service jobs, especially those in larger companies with multiple branches, can lead to dissatisfied customers, who are left feeling that the company doesn’t really care about them. It can also lead to unhappy employees, who resent the fact that they can’t help people or who feel like they’re simply a cog in an uncaring machine.

Working in the service sector can be difficult, which is why so many people see it as simply a stopgap job and try to move out of it. By allowing for more creativity and flexibility, companies can help to stave off these negative feelings, which will boost employee retention. This will in turn boost customer satisfaction.