If you’re eating out anytime soon and want to get a good meal, then choose to eat in a place where the chefs can see you whilst they cook. Why? A recent research study showed that customer satisfaction with food shot up by 10 per cent when chefs could see their customers, even though customers couldn’t see the chefs. And when both chefs and customers could see each other, satisfaction went up by 17.3 per cent and service was 13 per cent faster. Pretty impressive results. The research reveals that seeing customers makes the chefs, or let’s call them employees, feel more appreciated, and therefore willing to put more effort into their job.
A great tangible example of this was when observing chefs cooking eggs in a kitchen. Normally the chefs would make a number of eggs in advance and then add them to plates when needed, meaning the quality wasn’t always so great. However, when the screens in the kitchen were switched on and the chefs could actually see their customers, they started cooking the eggs to order a lot more often. The research found that transparency created value.
In another example, the researchers observed a sandwich bar, whereby customers pre-ordered a sandwich and then either waited whilst the sandwich was made in front of them, or picked it up without waiting. The sandwiches weren’t any different, however, customers who waited rated the service as higher than those that didn’t have to wait. So, people who observed the chef making sandwiches thought the service was better – despite the fact they had to wait, because they could see, and appreciate the effort being made.
This research demonstrates the role of appreciation, between employees and their customers, in creating meaningful work. The closer we can bring customers to employees the better. It’s not difficult, or even expensive to do this, but it could provide organisations with a low cost strategic advantage.
It’s easy to see how connecting customers and employees can play a role in appreciation, which ultimately impacts on employee engagement. People Lab have worked with many organisations to do just this: to help make the customer real, and narrow the divide between employees and customers. If you’d like to find out more about our approach please let us know, and request a call back today, we’d love to hear from you.