There is a crucial link between customer satisfaction and staff happiness, according to a new survey from Humanforce, with 79% of Australian casual workers saying their workplace happiness directly impacts on the level of customer service they deliver. 

The survey also found that an extremely high proportion of casual workers in Australia are customer facing, with 82% saying they have direct contact with customers and the general public in their job.

Casual workers are key to the customer relationship in retail, as they are at the front-line of customer service and the first human contact point people have with a business or brand, according to Humanforce CEO, Clayton Pyne.

“This can go both ways, where people can have positive or negative interactions depending on the level of service delivery provided. While many businesses in Australia appreciate that just one negative human interaction can make or break customer loyalty, they still aren’t making the connection between the important role that casual workers play in their business’ customer satisfaction levels.”

Half of casual workers said they are in contact with customers most of the time and 30% indicated that half of their job consisted of contact with customers. Additionally, 61% of casual workers interacted with customers face-to-face, 16% over the phone or online, and 12% outside of the workplace in public or in homes.

Almost half of casual workers (45%) named workplace pressure as the top thing that would influence their satisfaction at work and ability to deliver high levels of customer service, followed by poor workplace culture (39%), inadequate staff engagement (39%) and not receiving enough work shifts (37%).

“Encouragingly, 62% of casual workers said they were empowered by their employer, who trusts and supports them in interacting with customers, leaving 38% in a position where they feel like they don’t have freedom in their interactions with customers, which are overseen by their employer,” Clayton said.

“This shows that some businesses still do not regard their casual staff highly enough or fail to engage with them properly, so they feel empowered and supported in creating the best customer experiences possible.”

The support casual workers said would help them to deliver higher levels of customer service were good communication with their employer (46%), training (43%), on-the-job training (41%) and employee rewards (40%).

“Positively, again, 69% of casual workers indicated that their employer is already providing specific training and support to help them manage customer relationships, however there is a lot of scope for more businesses to get on board with this and to further engage their casual workers with the other incentives they’re asking for including increased communication and rewards programs.”