Engaged Employees Build Engaged Customers – Technorati Feature

Engaged Employees Build Engaged Customers

Engaged employees are one of an organization’s biggest assets. So what is an engaged employee?
  • Engaged employees produce twice as much work product in the same time as unengaged employees.
  • 40%-80% of customer satisfaction is directly affected by employee attitudes, according to the National Business Research Institute.
Great brands such as Southwest Airlines, Apple and IBM have achieved their success in part by focusing on employees first, and customers second. They put great effort into building employee engagement. They empower their teams to be proactive and solution oriented. When employees are engaged they tend to also be happy and they do what all people do: they actively tell other people about what they are interested in. Engaged employees become brand advocates and reach out to and build engaged customers, and they are using social media tools to do this in ever increasing numbers. And customers are listening.
With the ubiquity of social media an organization’s brand is being affected and influenced more than ever by what customers are saying about the brand. (not what the brand is saying about itself) And those customers are increasingly saying it using social media. Customers of all types (B2B and B2C) trust individual recommendations up to 5 times more than that which comes from the brand itself.
In other words, people trust other people, not brands.
Jay Baer who wrote the book Youtility summed it up perfectly when he said
“With ‘friend-of-mine awareness’, you seek to have the prospective customer allow you inside their circle of trust, where you become more than just a purveyor, but rather a valuable resource.
Employees are a natural and more easily trusted bridge between your company and your customers. Who knows more about your brand than the people who work for it?
When you help your employees become engaged they can then turn into positive and effective brand advocates. This is where the magic lies.
Think about all of the employees in your organization? Assume that most, if not all of them are on some sort of social network at least daily. Assume that each of them has an average of 300 connections or influence points (Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Interest fans etc). Even a mid sized company with around 100 employees quickly has a team reach of 30,000 influence points. How does that compare to your actual brand’s fans or followers base? Typically the total reach of a brand’s employees is at least 10x the brand’s own reach and there is often very little overlap. And if you have more employees or more active and connected ones this number grows exponentially.
Engaged employees are twice as productive and they are responsible for up to 80% of of your customers overall brand satisfaction.

So why aren’t more organizations actively engaging their employees to be brand advocates?

The typical reasons stated by organizations for not engaging employees:
  • Believe it has little to no effect
  • Takes too much time
  • Lack of effective tools and processes
  • Lack of measurement and ROI
  • Unsure how to go effectively manage process
Often, it boils down to a foundation of disbelief and misunderstanding about the power of employee advocacy and the social media networks themselves. But after that, the main roadblocks are the concern that it takes too much time and there is no way to effectively manage this engagement. And for  many years this was true. There were no comprehensive tools built to allow a brand to efficiently and effectively grow social engagement amongst its employees.

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