Employees are Customers Too!
Frequently, we hear from the CEO that ensuring a positive Customer Experience is one of their most important goals. We read about it on their websites, in letters to their shareholders, and in their policies. Roger Shaeshaft, the CEO of Dairy Queen, wrote to his employees and started the letter with, “As team members, we’re all aware of the importance of superior customer service.” On his company’s website, Charlie Lathrop, the CEO of CompuPay, wrote a Letter from the CEO. I would say half of the letter was devoted to the positive impact superior customer service has had on his business, and how it allowed CompuPay to differentiate themselves against others. Charlie said, “In addition to our superior customer service, we provide flexible payroll solutions for employees.”
On many levels this is smart business. It is well documented that the cost of keeping a customer is much lower than securing a new customer. Companies go to great extremes to calculate the profitability of current customers and the cost to acquire new ones. Dr. Bob Blattberg coined the term, “Retention Customer Equity” and wrote how to calculate the profit impact of a retained customer. People are well aware of mobile phone churn and the cost of defection. Here’s just one study on mobile phone churn. In the beginning it highlights “the ability to retain an existing customer has become critical to recapturing some of the revenue and margin sacrificed by customeracquisition programs and price promotions.”
My point? There is an endless stream of articles and data highlighting the importance of superior customer service. No disagreement here. Missing in all the conversation regarding the importance of the Customer Experience and providing Superior Customer Service is the other customer companies serve, their “Internal Customers”, their own Employees. For many companies, especially those who aren’t in either consumer goods or manufacturing, it’s all about people. Whoever has the most talented people and creates the best environment for them to thrive in have been winning.
Matt Zemon, founder and CEO of Element Customer Care, was Named as one of the Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader Magazine. In the press release announcing this achievement, Matt said,
“At Element Customer Care and AmericanCSR we trust our employees to consistently deliver superior customer service and we ask them to commit to a social contract based on personal integrity and a commitment to excellence. In return for their pledge, we commit to creating a work atmosphere that is a meritocracy where our employees are given respect, autonomy and flexibility.”
How powerful! You think taking care of his own employees had something to do with his company receiving this award? Take care of your employees and they in turn will take care of your company.
HR can be the next function to have a seat at the table. First it was Finance. They moved from being the bean counters to being the strategic partner with the CEO. Next it was IT and the CIO. It used to be the CIO’s job was just to keep the computers up; now it is, “How do we leverage technology to our competitive advantage?” Now, it HR’s turn. Listen to what your head of HR has to say. It isn’t just about paying your people and giving them benefits. Release the power of your employees. You will be glad you did!
OK CEOs, add a seat to the table and get with the Program!
Until Next Time,