Whether your company actively recognizes this notion or not, one fact’s for sure – your employees are your greatest asset by far. From those who operate along the frontlines, to those who maintain systems behind-the-scenes, your employees are the cornerstones of your brand’s existence. They interact with customers on a daily basis, making them the face of your brand. Success lies within their will and ability to deliver consistent, superior customer service at every touchpoint along the path to purchase. Yet, in many instances, leaders take their employees for granted, as they neglect to consider their insights and needs in pursuit of the elusive, almighty dollar.
Despite the fact that most leaders declare “our people” as one of their company’s prime competitive differentiators, not every brand has the proper engagement strategies in place. Actions speak louder than words and, in such cases, what these leaders say doesn’t always align with what they do. Brands that merely “talk the talk” offer employees little room for growth or feedback. But, for those companies that truly value their employees—the brands that also “walk the walk”—said individuals have ample opportunity to communicate and grow alongside the brand itself.
An effective employee engagement strategy requires emphasis on both satisfaction and recognition, as it’s not enough to simply provide these individuals with a generous benefits package and send them on their way. More than anything, today’s employees crave purpose. They wish to counter the world’s negative energy by making a positive impact one customer at a time, and that starts within the bubble of your business. After all, as a leader, you have the power to empower your employees to speak up and speak out against injustices within their ranks and throughout the organization, as they fight for what’s right for the customer day after day. You have the authority to enact programs and protocols that enable these employees to excel. You have the right to reward those whose performance elevates the customer’s brand experience.
But, at their core, what elements do such strategies command? What does it take to convey that your company cares for its employees like family? Here are the four building blocks every brand must use as its foundation for engagement:
First and foremost, your company must establish a forum that empowers employees to speak up and share constructive feedback without the fear of retaliation. In many instances, employees are afraid to share their concerns because they might face backlash from their colleagues or superiors. But such an air of trepidation can create a toxic work environment that permeates the ranks. Employees must feel free to share insights and opinions in an atmosphere that begets respect. For engagement to truly take hold, employees must know that their voice carries value.
If there’s any doubt, employees might flee to the competition. But, as on the customer front, it costs far less to retain your staff than to hire and onboard new employees. Thus, it’s imperative that you institute the processes necessary to amplify the complaints and criticisms of your current employees.
Once your company’s leadership team turns its ears to the voices of its employees, you must also bring this influx of insight to action. It’s one thing to gather feedback, but it’s another to use this data to fuel change across the enterprise. Employees want to feel safe and supported when they share feedback, but they also want to know that their suggestions will influence improvements and adjustments in the way the company operates. Communicate how you plan to use their ideas and keep them up-to-date at every stage of development. Not only will this promote trust and transparency throughout the entire company, but it will also establish a precedent for how leaders handle employee feedback in the future.
While employees might be motivated by a desire to provide the best possible customer experience at the start, they’ll inevitably become fatigued if their efforts go unrecognized. Company leadership must constantly be on the lookout for top performers so they may recognize and reward these employees for going above and beyond expectations. Ideally, leaders will set balanced goals based upon achieving key performance indicators (KPIs) for customer satisfaction and loyalty. It’s also important for leaders to recognize and reward both groups and individuals for their customer experience efforts, as some successes are collaborative, while others result from the actions of one lone individual. Companywide awards offer leaders the opportunity to declare their appreciation publicly, but employees should also be compensated for attaining measurable customer satisfaction gains.
Not sure what steps your team should take when launching your company’s own recognition program? Learn more about CRMI’s Employee Rewards Program here.
If your company’s truly invested in its employees, leaders will also be eager to invest in their continued education. In an era where technology evolves at breakneck pace, it’s often difficult for employees to remain knowledgeable about every possible twist or turn on the customer’s path to purchase. Thus, by committing to a continuous CEM training program, which includes both soft, people skills and technical or job-based competence, leadership demonstrates its desire to help staff members be the best they can be. Plus, advanced-level instruction can ultimately pay big dividends for your company and provide career advancement opportunities for employees, which benefits everyone involved.
Not sure how to boost your employees’ customer relationship skills? Learn more about CRMI’s certified CEM Professional (CEMPRO) training here.