This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Adele Halsall writes about how important it is to support your employees in order to achieve brand success. I have always believed that you must treat your internal customers the way you want them to treat your external customers. – Shep Hyken
In almost every case of failed business performance or poor customer service practices, there is usually a large element of employee dissatisfaction or disengagement. Without employment engagement, there can never be any real team solidarity, and without team solidarity, your brand can never begin to establish itself or start to flourish.
This is why employee happiness is so important in achieving brand success. Your employees are your greatest assets, so aside from making sure you hire the right minds to start off with, you need to make your team is happy, healthy and well.
Happy employees provide a strong support structure from inside the company and they make much better brand ambassadors.
So how do you go about doing that?
1. Empowerment Is A Great Tool
Empowerment is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your employees. It is often empowered employees who are able to take matters into their own hands and create those ‘wow’ moments that keep customers coming back. By empowering your employees to make responsible decisions on their own and take control of a situation, they’ll be in a better position to help customers without being limited to the ‘red tape’ that comes with traditional policies and procedures.
It’s never too late to empower your workforce. Introducing weekly training sessions in your workplace can slowly encourage your staff to start thinking more proactively and confidently, without being told what to do. Exercises that boost self-image and self-belief will also play a huge part, as the more positive your employees feel about themselves and their own capabilities, the better they will be able to reflect and communicate this to customers.
Try to favor training programs that approach sessions as social forums rather than formal ‘classes’ or seminars. This will offer a more dynamic and interactive learning process and provide long term results.
2. Team Bonding Is Essential
Your team members don’t all have to be best friends (and that’s highly unlikely anyway). But promoting a kind, friendly work environment where your workers can feel supported, comfortable and accepted is the best foundation for stimulating creativity and productivity.
One of the first things you ought to do is eliminate gossip from the workplace, and make it known that any similar behavior will not be tolerated. Gossip does nothing for workplace wellbeing; instead, it simply isolates, fragments and detracts from growth and progression; whether that is individually or on a project scale.
Provide plenty of opportunities for your employees to get to know one another outside of work – this could be monthly or weekly lunches, after-work drinks, or even a weekend event. Whilst team-building seminars with plenty of activities can bring positive results, employees are more likely to respond to day trips that have teamwork embedded within them, such as paintballing or rock climbing.
3. Individual Success = Brand Success
Employees that feel a personal alignment with the company brand and demonstrate shared values are already likely to perform their job much more effectively.
But what about your employees’ own individual goals; aspirations; dreams; hopes, or plans for the future? If you’ve noticed a decline in your employees’ motivation or passion for the role, it may be because they’re feeling undervalued.
Brand flourishing isn’t always all about the collective. UK based company Npower’s customer services department is often said to have one of the best customer service departments within the energy industry, this is probably in no small part because they make a genuine effort to empower their employees and help them to progress in their career. By nurturing individual ambitions and personal projects, you’ll be fostering a positive environment of growth and flourishing, which will only serve to strengthen your brand’s mission overall. Try having a heart-to-heart with your employees individually to see what you can do to support their own talents and projects. Where do they hope to be in one to two years time? How about three to five years? Five to ten?
By making the traditional work dynamic more collaborative and two-way (rather than static and one-dimensional), your employees will feel more appreciated, valued and stimulated. They’ll be more likely to feel excited about coming to work and more likely to immerse themselves in working towards the goals and projects of the brand. And when a whole team is excited and passionate about what it is doing, magic things can happen.
Adele Halsall is a writer and researcher for Customer Service Guru. She is passionate about retail and consumer trends, and how this is shaped and governed by advertising and social marketing. She is particularly experienced in marketing and customer engagement and enjoys contributing to ongoing debates related to best business practices, start-up culture, and the culture of customer relations. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @gurucustomers
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com