What Role Do Employees Play in Attracting & Retaining Customers
There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. You have access to a genuinely global pool of potential consumers. Yet, it’s important to recognize that enticing and keeping a steady number of buyers is by no means easy.
There are various ways to address this hurdle. One of the most important resources at your disposal, though, is your employees. Both front-line workers and behind-the-scenes professionals have multiple opportunities each day to influence how customers connect with your business. You, therefore, need to make mindful choices about how you use and support this vital resource.
Let’s take a moment to look a little closer at the role employees play in attracting and retaining customers.
Bolstering Efficiency and Productivity
Part of the challenge of attracting and retaining customers is demonstrating that your business can offer your audience convenience and reliability. Consumers tend to consider their time and attention valuable resources and your company must be able to meet their needs with minimal wastage. Therefore, your employees tend to play a key role in customer interactions by bolstering efficiency and productivity in the business.
As a result, it is important for workers to have the skills to assess their working practices and make adjustments accordingly. They must receive regular training on how to effectively prioritize and organize tasks to achieve the best outcomes. It’s also wise to pair them with more experienced mentors so they have on-the-job guidance, tips, and hacks on how to reach peak productivity with the time available to them.
However, your company also needs to recognize that too much focus on productivity can be toxic in the wrong circumstances. When employees are subjected to practices that put efficiency and results above their health, they risk experiencing burnout.
Addressing a diagnosis of burnout is not usually something an employee can influence alone or even with a medical professional. Rather, the condition is primarily influenced by working practices and relentless pressure evident in the company culture. Therefore, it’s vital to keep communicating with workers about what concerns they have and what adjustments can be made to support their wellness. This helps ensure productivity that retains consumers while protecting your invaluable workers.
Maintaining Positive Connections
Good customer experiences are essential to keep consumers returning to your services. This can also influence word-of-mouth — in person and on social media — that can impact the likelihood of new customers taking chances with your brand. Your employees are, naturally, the most direct contributors to customer experience. Their actions and interpersonal behavior can make a difference by forging strong positive connections with consumers.
It is, therefore, important to focus your hiring not just on those with good technical skills. You should also prioritize soft skills that can lay the foundations for positive customer interactions. Look for workers who understand empathetic activities in a professional environment. Prioritize candidates with skills related to conflict resolution, as they can influence positive outcomes when customers have complaints.
You should also make developing and focusing on customer connections part of your ongoing employee assessments. Effective performance management programs are essential to helping your workers achieve meaningful growth that can translate to solid customer service.
This should involve setting clear and measurable goals around customer interactions. Managers should also be providing regular feedback about performance that empowers employees to make practical adjustments to their approach. It’s also wise for your business to commit to rewarding customer service-related performance as well as traditional productivity or sales metrics.
Demonstrating Innovative Thought
Consistency of customer service and reliability are certainly important to your success. However, you’ll find that attracting and retaining customers is not just dependent on these elements. Consumers also want to know that you’re pushing the boundaries and have the ability to offer them cutting-edge services. This can be particularly relevant in tech industries or business-to-business operations. Therefore, your employees’ ability to demonstrate creative and innovative thought can be essential to positive customer engagement.
It’s important to create a space in which innovative thought is encouraged. Give your employees space to experiment with working practices or their surroundings within reason. Often the option for flexibility, including working from home or in more collaborative spaces, can provide the freedom for workers to explore. Involve employees from all levels in key project and operational meetings, and give them openings to make contributions. This can encourage them to also raise ideas in their day-to-day work.
Alongside this, you should utilize hiring and development processes that result in more innovative workplaces. Diversity and inclusivity are key here. By having employees from varying backgrounds at all levels of operations and leadership, your employees and company tend to benefit from a wider range of perspectives. In turn, this can encourage your workforce to adopt practices and explore concepts that are out of reach for more monocultural companies.
Contributing to Company Culture
Many businesses consider company culture to have a primarily internal impact. Yet, many customers make purchasing decisions that are tied to good company culture. One recent study found that 40% of customers are directly influenced by a company’s social factors, such as diversity in the workforce and positive community activities. It’s vital to recognize that your company’s strong culture should be evident in the everyday actions of employees. Employees have a key role in representing and communicating the company culture, resulting in better customer engagement.
Consider involving employees more meaningfully in developing the cultural standards of the business. You may find that there is greater buy-in if workers have a more intimate understanding of your culture and how standards are applied. Arrange annual meetings between departments to discuss what’s positive about the company culture, how well the company is applying its ethical standards, and what can be done to make improvements.
It’s also wise to encourage employees to seek charitable organizations and community initiatives to work with that reflect the culture of the company. Offer tangible resources or the ability to volunteer during work hours. This shows employees that the company is committed to issues they care about. In turn, they may show a greater commitment to the company culture. This can also boost your reputation in the community and encourage more customer interactions.
Employees are among the most direct influencers in attracting and retaining customers. It’s important to encourage healthy productivity and the development of positive customer service skills that boost consumer engagement.
Work with your employees to ensure the company has innovative working practices and strong culture that many customers value. By investing in your employees as your most valuable resource, you’ll find more positive outcomes for customer retention.