Do you want loyal customers? Start with your employees…
A lot of organizations fail to recognize the role employees’ play in building a brand’s reputation and value.
In a sea of competition, today’s consumers have a multitude of choices at their fingertips. Even if you’re a pioneer in your industry, chances are that competition is popping up every day, edging you out and earning more and more of your coveted consumers’ attention. One slip up, and your consumer is already searching for somewhere else to take their business – no matter your industry.
Think about the last time you received poor service at a restaurant. Have you been back since? Chances are, you haven’t. Even worse, one bad experience like that can spread like wildfire. Research shows that when customers have a good experience with a brand, they tell three people.
When they have a bad one?
They tell seven.
That one bad experience with one customer has now cost you seven times the business.
Harness Your Employees’ Brand Power
So how do you build loyal customers?
More and more companies are harnessing the power of their own employees when it comes to building brand power. The interactions your customers have with your staff are the single most important factor in determining how they feel about your product or service.
If you think you have control over your branding with advertising alone, consider this. Younger generations of consumers, like Gen Y and Gen Z, are weary of advertising, its claims, and hype. They’re more drawn to their own experience with brands, which is made up in a large part by the interactions with your employees.
To boost your brand power among customers, start by getting your employees engaged. Why?
Your Employees Are Your Brand
A lot of organizations fail to recognize the role employees’ play in building a brand’s reputation and value. Employees interact at personal and professional levels each day with current, as well as potential customers. Each interaction is either a positive, or a negative representation of your organization, and your brand.
Studies have found that companies with high employee engagement scores had twice the customer loyalty, meaning high employee engagement translates into more repeat purchases and recommendations to their friends. It makes sense: Don’t you like shopping in place where employees are friendly and helpful? Where they actually seem to enjoy what they do?
Employee engagement worked for Sears. The retail chain measured “that a 5 point improvement in employee attitudes drove a 1.3 point improvement in customer satisfaction, which in turn drove a 0.5% improvement in revenue,” according to the Harvard Business Review.
Now, you may be wondering what comes first: companies being successful or employees being engaged? Don’t people naturally enjoy working for companies who are successful? Or can engaged employees really improve the bottom line? Research says yes; they can. Organizational psychologists found that employee engagement affects business growth more than growth affects engagement.
Investing in employee engagement is an investment in your business’ future. Not only is employee engagement effective, the result of a team of engaged employees lasts longer. For instance, the impact of whether or not a business is thriving affects an employee’s engagement for about a year. However, the effects of an engaged employee can drive the business’ performance for up to three years.
Building Employee Engagement in the Digital Space
Focusing on employee engagement isn’t necessarily just for brick and mortar businesses. While retail operations certainly can capitalize on the face-to-face exchanges they have with customers, ecommerce companies are also focusing more and more on keeping their employees engaged in the digital space. In fact, even brick and mortar businesses can capitalize on the digital space.
Engaged employees are willing – and excited – to share your company’s news and special offers. Because most employees are active in social media, having engaged employees provides you an extra opportunity to spread your brand’s message online. Their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can include hundreds or thousands of potential customers, who are eager to see the products their friends recommend. Providing your employees with an easy way to share your company’s latest news online is the new way to keep your employees engaged – and grow your business.
Need help automating your employee advocacy program? Drop us a line!