Everyone You Employ Must Be a Marketer
by Marcia Yudkin
Whether it's the grumpy receptionist, the clerk who wouldn't
give you the discount because you forgot your coupon or the
representative who blames the problem on your stupidity,
you've undoubtedly experienced incidents where an employee
makes a bad impression - so bad you think about switching
to their competitor. You wouldn't want that to happen to
your customers, now would you?
When you harness the creativity and commitment of everyone
in your employ, so that they feel at least partly
responsible for attracting and keeping customers, you'll see
a spike in revenues and profits. Here are some specific
measures that help accomplish that.
1. Educate employees. Figure out the annual or lifetime
value of a customer, and convey that figure to all who
interact with customers. If staff understand the concept of
"everyone a marketer" intellectually but don't change their
behavior, you probably have a serious morale problem that is
causing big-time leakage from your bottom line. It may be
time to bring in consultants for diagnosis and remedies.
2. Instill pride and reward professionalism.
Praise people who reflect well on the company when they do their job, by
driving company vans courteously, by shoveling snow and ice
off the store's sidewalk before being asked, by performing
extra callbacks to customers who'd had a problem, to be sure
it was resolved to their satisfaction. During employee
evaluations, ask people to tell you how they have
contributed to the organization's positive image.
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3. Create an opportunity alert system. Implement a system
that enables front-line employees to pass along ideas for
better satisfying customers or capitalizing on new needs.
Many companies reward every such suggestion with a twenty-dollar bill. Others
bestow Employee-of-the-Month recognition on those taking such initiative.
4. Enable employees to become walking billboards.
Since it could be taken to show lack of confidence in American-made
cars, one U.S. car manufacturer discouraged employees from
parking foreign cars visibily in its plant parking lot. A
more positive step in this direction is making it possible
for staff to wear clothing imprinted with the company logo,
to tote stuff to the beach in company-imprinted bags and to
sip coffee from insulated company mugs on fishing trips.
5. Empower employees to solve problems. Often a "Marketing
isn't my job" attitude stems from employees lacking the
latitude to take creative actions that solve problems
quickly enough to secure high customer satisfaction.
Employee focus groups will let you know what changes, if
any, are needed to foster a climate where people go beyond
the call of duty to smooth the way for customer delight.
6. Implement a system for suggestions and feedback from
customers. When I was a kid, most businesses had a
suggestion box. It's the exception now, but I believe every
business needs a highly visible method of soliciting
feedback. It remains an important vehicle for correcting
problems, making adjustments and preventing dissatisfaction
from creating lost customers and negative word of mouth.
Copyright 2001 Marcia Yudkin.
All rights reserved.
well-paid marketing consultant.
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