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When John Esler, CEO of Esler Companies, started the company in 2004, he had a simple premise: Follow the Golden Rule with associates, customers, and partners, and success would follow.
“From the start, we defined ourselves as a customer comes second company,” Esler explained to Loyalty360. “Associates come first, and we know if we delight them, they will delight our customers. To be clear, we don’t delight associates SO THAT they will delight customers. We delight associates and their families because we are in deep relationships with them and we love them, and it helps them be their best selves. Delighting customers is the natural result.”
This form of deep employee engagement has served Esler Companies quite well.
“Delighted associates are necessary, but not sufficient to delighting customers,” Esler said. “To delight customers, we have to look at every point on the customer journey map and figure out how we can go above and beyond their expectations. We also follow the peak-end rule which says that people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak (i.e., its most intense point) and at its end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.”
Esler Companies comprises four Renewal by Andersen affiliates (Colorado, Greater Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Southern New England) and its marketing engine, Telefluent Communications. Esler Companies is a privately-held, $300 million company with 1,000 associates.
“Delighting customers starts with delighting our associates and building a culture with love,” Esler explained. “We want customers to experience more than satisfaction. We want them to feel loved. Our model for driving our business forward “with love” is called Our Thriving Circle. The foundation comes from loving yourself. When we love and value ourselves, it brings out the best in us—our best self. Collectively committed to bringing our best selves to work, we create the capacity to develop an amazing company culture. When we focus our behaviors on words and deeds originating from love, we will ignite delight for our customers, associates, and partners. The fire that starts deep inside with self-love is now felt deeply by customers. This all cycles through to create an unparalleled Customer Experience. There is no end to the circle. Having provided an unparalleled customer experience, each time we complete the cycle, we feel good about ourselves and are enthusiastic to start the cycle again at a higher level.”
Medallia plays a key role in the success of Esler Companies.
“Medallia inspires us through leading by example,” Esler said. “Their company mission to create a world where companies are loved by customers and employees is inspiring and it is one that we want to be closely linked to. Medallia teaches us–they have traveled the road of associate delight and customer delight with the leading companies in the world. They are transparent with what they do internally and share best practices thru their partnering companies. Medallia software allows transparency of how each person, department, and the overall company is doing in a variety of places in the customer journey to delight our customers. In the future, we will use Medallia Employee Net Promoter Score software to bring us full transparency on everything associate related in our effort to being as much delight to associates as we do to customers.”
Esler noted: “We believe the future of CX for Esler Companies starts with asking, ‘What is the most loving thing we can do in this situation?’’’
In past decades, he said workers built retirement savings by paying down the mortgage balance on their homes, putting money in savings bonds, and building up cash values in their life insurance policies.
“However, today, people are saving in this way less and less,” Esler said. “Alternatively, today, many top companies are investing in employees by providing matching contributions into 401(k) plans. We took a look at what we were doing and realized we weren’t excelling in the size of the company match we were providing. Historically, the Esler Companies offered a company match of 10 cents on every dollar saved. The average company match in America is 50 cents on every dollar saved. We announced at our kickoff meetings that, beginning in 2018, we have increased our match to 50 cents on every dollar saved. The news was well received, and we’re excited to see the impact it will have on associates to save more.”
As an employee-driven program, Window of Giving impacts Esler Companies’ communities in many meaningful ways.
“With $5 for each window or door installed in each of our locations donated back to the communities in which we serve, Esler Companies gave more than $350,000 in 2017,” Esler said. “These donations are in the form of donated windows, gifts in kind, financial support, book drives, food drives, sponsorships, sponsorship of a 10K walk for Veterans–and many more initiatives. Esler Companies also provides a generous associate match program in which the company contributes $3 for every $1 our associates donate to charities of their choice. Enabling our associates to give back in so many different ways and so genuinely is the cornerstone of the Window of Giving Program. When interactions and giving happen organically, the true magic happens.”
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