Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the importance of treating newly hired employees like potential customers. We’ve talked about the benefits of viewing onboarding as good customer service and of using upselling to drive employee performance improvement.
We’ve demonstrated how treating employees like customers helps attract, retain, and develop better-performing employees. Now there’s one last thing to discuss: just as satisfied customers bring other customers to a business, satisfied employees also bring other employees. The customer service-type strategies outlined in our previous blog posts help turn employees into brand ambassadors.
Customer brand ambassadors
Good customer service impresses customers. Without being paid or even prompted, satisfied customers will spend significant time and energy recommending their favorite products and services to others. Why? People recommend what they love. When customers love products so much that they promote them when they receive no benefits, they’re what’s known as brand ambassadors.
On the other hand, if customers don’t love your products or services—if they haven’t had a good experience—they won’t promote them. In fact, they may go out of their way to dissuade others from using what you’re selling.
When marketing, designing customer service experiences, and providing targeted upselling, remember that these strategies don’t just affect the customer your company directly serves today. They also affect the many potential customers with whom that customer interacts.
Employee brand ambassadors
As it is with customers, so it is with employees. The Agency Marketing Group notes that dissatisfied or disgruntled employees can prevent new customers from buying: “An employee who dissuades people from frequenting the company where he or she works is more detrimental than lots of word of mouth non-recommendations!” But just as (or more) concerning, such employees also prevent new employees from signing on.
Think of it this way: if employees have good experiences and are able to effectively do their work, those employees will feel positively about their jobs. They will share that satisfaction and enthusiasm with everyone who asks them about their work, including other professionals in their same field. However, if they feel negatively about their job, they’ll share that negativity.
So, what produces satisfaction and enthusiasm? Well, in our earlier blog posts, we discussed three customer service strategies that should be adapted for employees: sell job positions to potential new hires like you’d sell products to customers; make onboarding and initial training more customized and just-in-time like customer service and product support; and upsell training and development to improve performance. Employees who are treated more like valued customers will become brand ambassadors—like valued customers.
In short, when hiring, onboarding, and training and development are handled using customer service strategies, the result is cyclical employee happiness. An employee is attracted or referred to your company. Once hired, the employee receives good onboarding and training and becomes invested in the company. The employee then becomes a brand ambassador who attracts or refers other employees, and the cycle repeats itself.
Treating new hires more like employees by making onboarding more like customer service and training and development more like upselling is a long-term investment. Just as investments in customer service and upselling attract customers, similar, employee-facing strategies attract employees. Solid investment in such strategies not only results in loyal employees and customers but also results in employees and customers who will be ambassadors for your service or product.