By Guest Blogger Sybil F. Stershic
Most companies seem to understand the impact their employees have on customers. And while they may talk a good game (“employees are our most valuable asset”), some companies don’t quite know how to their put their words into action. Taking care of employees so they can take care of customers involves more than recognition plaques, platitudes, and picnics.
A key ingredient in engaging employees in customer care is internal marketing – a strategic blend of marketing, human resources, and management to ensure employees have the information and tools they need to deliver on the company’s brand promise. Internal marketing’s primary goal is to reinforce a clear “line of sight” from employee input to company output by focusing on the following concerns:
- Customer Understanding: How well do employees know who the company’s customers are, what is important to them, and why they choose to do business with the company? Are results of customer feedback (from satisfaction surveys, call centers, complaint tracking, etc.) shared with employees? How involved are employees in improving customer satisfaction?
- Employee Impact: Do employees understand how their actions impact on customers? (This includes working with other employees who are “internal” customers.) How do employees provide value to customers? Do employees have the right skills and tools needed to take care of customers?
- Organizational Strategy: Do where the organization is headed in the marketplace, along with its strategy and goals? Equally important, do they know what is expected of them in helping the firm achieve its goals?
- Employee Appreciation: Are employees’ efforts to take care of customers (and co-workers) recognized? Howdo they know they are valued by the organization?
Internal marketing encompasses a range of intentional and integrated organizational activities including (but not limited to) training, recognition, reinforcement, empowerment, information sharing, and team building. Collectively these activities reinforce the value of employees and the customers they serve.
Note: Despite its name, internal marketing falls within the domain of all managers, regardless of their functional responsibility. In other words, you don’t have to be in marketing or human resources to apply internal marketing.
Today’s low levels of employee engagement and loyalty are the result of employees “feeling overworked and underappreciated.” Someone needs to take the initiative to engage employees with internal marketing. Who will it be in your organization?