CSR and the Frontline Context: How Social Programs Improve Customer Service

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Abstract

CSR activities such as charitable giving, environmental programs and ethical practices can motivate frontline employees. One of the key variables is organizational identification. CSR communicates values, and, if these values are consistent with a person’s own value system, it results in higher identification with the company. Employees who notice that consumers are fond of the company’s CSR activities will identify even more with the company. If CSR ranks high in their own personal value system and the value system of the consumer as well, they find common ground for conversations beyond immediate business talk. CSR can be an icebreaker in conversations with customers. Once service employees find out that customers share their passion for social or environmental causes, it creates a bond that is highly motivating. They become more confident that they know what the customers want. They are more motivated to serve those customers when they see that both of them care about the same sorts of things.

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