Sir Richard Branson, the British business magnate and founder of the Virgin Group, once remarked that employees should be prioritized over customers. Paradoxical though it may sound, following this mantra does actually lead to happy customers as well as happy workers, research shows.
There’s a simple reason for that: your employees are your company’s first point of contact with your customers. As a result, adopting an attentive and dedicated attitude towards your employees can easily influence your customers, too. Here are a few examples of how.
Reward individual employees, not just sales.
You’re understandably delighted when your team hits a particular sales target, but rewarding your staff as a team, and so repeatedly emphasizing the “team effort,” can risk alienating individual employees who have gone above and beyond to help make those great sales a reality.
Bizcommunity.com explains that, when you give deserved credit on an employee-by-employee basis, you can help to instill pride, ownership and responsibility in your workers— and, consequently, turn them into brand salespeople.
The word can spread quickly on social media.
If your employees air their thoughts on social media (which they do), they may occasionally mention your brand in the process. For this reason, your business should have an established social media policy that outlines what your staff should and shouldn’t do (regarding your business) on such social channels like Facebook and Twitter.
These guidelines can include how your employees should react to positive or negative feedback about your company. You don’t want employees to respond inappropriately, or make to make unrealistic promises on behalf of your organization.
A personal message is a more powerful one.
While your brand may use social networking sites to promote your content or advertise your latest product or service offer, have you noticed how much more effective those messages seem to be when your employees relay them?
Often, promotional posts shared or retweeted by individual employees can, compared to those posts left in their original context of a soulless corporate page, resonate more easily with customers. This is partially due to the perception of authenticity, and partly because as research shows, employee networks have, on average, 10 times as many connections as a company’s Company Page followers.
The good word starts with your offerings, not the word itself.
You’ve likely heard the expression (particularly if you work in the software world), “like putting lipstick on a pig.” It’s not a positive endorsement. In the promotional sphere, you can’t expect your employees to inspire passion if they have little to feel passionate about.
However, the good news is that, if your products truly offer value and you support good causes, you can expect the message to spread quickly once your workers start regularly communicating it.
Engaged employees lead to increased sales.
This theory is borne out by the research firm Gallup, which explains that, as reported by Forbes, employees engaged in their work are likelier to enhance customer relationships. Such employees increase their sales by 20%, Gallup further revealed.
Measuring employee engagement is tricky, but analytics software such as LifeWorks can ease the process and so help you to see how you could spur meaningful improvements in this metric.