How can I get employees to work with me?
Most businesses understand the impact that employees have on customers. The challenge is how to ensure that impact is a positive one. To effectively serve customers, how do you get employees to work with you rather than against you?
An essential strategy to engage employees in customer care involves internal marketing – the application of marketing inside an organisation to instill customer-focused values for organisational success. Just as professional marketers use techniques to attract, motivate and retain customers, managers can use internal marketing to attract, motivate and retain employees.
Don’t be intimidated by the ‘marketing’ label here, since you don’t have to be a marketer to apply internal marketing. It is really more of a comprehensive approach that blends marketing and HR to make sure: employees buy into an organization’s customer-oriented values, and that the organization provides the information and tools that employees need to perform effectively.
Internal marketing addresses the following critical concerns.
- Customer understanding – How well do employees know the organization’s customers – who they are, what’s important to them, and why they choose to do business with your organisation? Is customer feedback (from satisfaction surveys, call centres, 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? Are employees given the necessary tools to deliver on the brand promise?
- Organizational strategy – Do employees know where the organisation is headed in the marketplace? Equally important, do they know what is expected of them in helping the organisation achieve its goals?
- Employee Appreciation – Are employees’ efforts to take care of customers (and co-workers) recognised? How do they know they are valued by the organization?
In response to these questions, internal marketing encompasses a range of organisational and management activities including (but not limited to) training, recognition, empowerment, management support, information sharing, reinforcement and team building.
A proactive internal marketing strategy collectively builds on these and any communications, educational and motivational efforts used to reinforce the value of customers and the employees who serve them.