It’s not rocket science - what’s important to your staff, your ‘internal’ customer, is pretty much the same as what’s important to your ‘external’ customer. How both groups feel about you, how they behave and how you value them, makes the biggest difference for your business success.
So what is it?
Honesty, responsiveness, being cared for, listened to, flexibility, application of common sense, being treated as individuals, consistency, being kept informed, being appreciated, admitting you’ve made a mistake – all feature. Here’s a few things to start with:
· Be clear with both your customer and your employee proposition. How do you want them to feel; what do you want them to know and to do?
· Understand your employees/customers. What they do and what they need. Listen to them, observe their working day. What makes their jobs/lives more difficult than they have to be?
· The customer experience needs to be consistent – and at the heart of every department. Both the front line and the back office need to understand and value the role they play in supporting your ‘customer’.
· Make it easy for them. For employees - if their job is to deliver a great customer experience, to be productive – it’s in your interest to make their job easier. Remove things that add no value or no-one ever uses. For your customers – how easy do you make it for them to do business with you? Make process simplification your mission. And don’t get process and purpose confused….
· Involve employees/customers in finding solutions.Listen to their feedback and ideas – and do something good with what you learn. Trust them, they know what they’re doing.
· Make it personal. What works for one person may not work for another. You can’t tailor everything – but you can treat people as individuals.
As a customer, don’t you want to know that who you do business with is also a great place to work? Who doesn’t get a buzz from reading stories of companies that respect and value their staff enough to give them time to spend with their families, to pursue personal ambitions, to develop themselves.
Valuing your employees as customers doesn’t mean they’re always right. It still might mean that at some point it’s better for you to part company. But on so many levels, you can use the same philosophy and values that you use to create loyal customers, to create loyal employees. You can create advocates amongst your employees in the same way you have ‘fans’ of your product and service. Your employees and your customers become part of your sales force. Same philosophy (same coin), twice the value.