I am going to discuss how employees affect consumer behavior and what I believe are the best ways to improve their effectiveness. I will be drawing upon my experiences as a consumer and working in a retail environment.
No one fulfills your corporate philosophy or promotes your products and services more than your employees. They are like ambassadors representing the United States when the president can not be there in person. You need them to act on your behalf when dealing with customers. If the customers aren’t treated well once in your store or business, what good does it do to use marketing to get them into your store or business. You also have the problem of each customer who was treated poorly, telling other people about their bad experience with your company. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is and it’s even worse when people are telling others how great your competitor treated them.
I’ve had a few experiences where I have felt that I haven’t been treated properly or fairly by store employees. Most of the time I’ve been able to find another person to help solve my problem and I was able to walk away a satisfied customer. There are some instances when I have consciously went to a competing business, because of the way I was treated. I know I am not the only person who does this, so I feel it is very important to have a work force that helps market your products, by being friendly and knowledgeable.
This will prevent customers from turning away from your products and services. Ask your workers if they would recommend your product or service to their family and friends. If your people lack confidence in your company, you need to find out why and fix it. You want them to be proud to use your product or service so they can convey this feeling to the customers.
Some of the things that turn off consumers are long lines and employees who don’t pay attention or just go through the motions. Rudeness, impatience, and judgmental remarks are very damaging to your company image. Workers who are poorly trained or don’t know about your product or service serve no purpose and let down customers. Lies, dishonesty, and promises that are broken cost companies a lot of business when you look at the long run. Ask your workers if they would recommend your product or service to their family and friends. If your people lack confidence in your company, you need to find out why and fix it.
The first thing you need to do is let your employees know what you expect of them, how much individual judgement they can use, and what the rewards will be. Giving employees some flexibility in handling problems lets them know that you trust them. Employees should know your companies products or services, the company philosophy, and your industry. Make it clear to your employees how important customer service is to everyone’s future.
Make sure that your employees have been trained properly and have all the resources they need to do their jobs. Include them in decision making and explain company policies. Assure them that the will be backed, when a quick response was needed to satisfy a customer. Explain to them the basics of social interaction, like smiling and eye contact. Most importantly be a good example.
Have your best worker train the others in your organization and offer additional training and development. Seek out opinions and ideas and let them feel needed. You need to reward employees for their great service. If their behavior isn’t supported and rewarded they will never change. Give them handwritten thank-yous and acknowledge them publicly when possible. When all else fails offer monetary bonuses. The concept of employees as marketers is a rather new one, but it is very import if you want to have a successful business.