Happy Employees, Satisfied Customers: The Link Between Glassdoor Reviews and Customer Satisfaction

Daniel Zhao

August 7, 2019

A growing number of companies today are striving to build a “customer-first” culture. But can employers deliver on the promise of great customer satisfaction without investing in satisfied employees first? In this study, we link Glassdoor's unique data with the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to understand how happy employees translate into satisfied customers. Overall, we find a strong connection between better employee and customer satisfaction. Each 1-star improvement in an employer’s Glassdoor company rating out of 5 is associated with a statistically significant 1.3-point increase in customer satisfaction out of 100. The effect is more than twice as large (each 1-star improvement in employee satisfaction predicts a 3.2-point increase in customer satisfaction) for companies in “high customer contact” sectors where customers routinely interact with employees: Retail, food services, tourism, financial services, and health care. Regardless of industry, some types of employees interact more with customers than others. Glassdoor ratings among customer-facing sales and customer service roles have a strong link to customer satisfaction across all industries.

Why does customer satisfaction matter? 

Customer satisfaction has a direct impact on the bottom line at most companies. Past research shows higher customer satisfaction scores are linked to higher company valuations. Based on one estimate from the academic literature, each 1-star improvement in Glassdoor company ratings translates into a predicted 7.8–18.9 percent higher stock market valuations through improved customer satisfaction. Our findings suggest employers who invest in employee satisfaction and improved workplace culture may enjoy spillover benefits that go beyond talent attraction and retention. Maintaining a satisfied workforce—particularly among customer-facing roles—should be considered a key prerequisite to delivering great customer experiences. To explore the link between customer and employee satisfaction in high and low customer contact industries, please explore the interactive data visualization from our study below:

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