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When it Comes to Winning Consumers, Loyalty Starts at the Home Office

Lots of the news hits home when it comes to operating a business, but one recent stat all but reached off the page and slapped me on the cheek.

That stat, courtesy of Bain: While 34 percent of U.S. workers said they would recommend their employer to family or friends, an even larger group – 37 percent – would actually recommend against it. In other words, almost 40 percent of workers are employer detractors.

This 37 percent figure, from a 2010 survey, is the single, uncompromising reason why organizations must first win over their employees if they want to capture consumers. After all, if workers aren’t willing to recommend a company to someone who’d actually get compensated to do business with it, why would they recommend it to someone who had to pay for the experience?

And that is what happens every time consumers cross your threshold – they are paying for the experience. And that experience often begins, and ends, with your employees.

To this end, I offer these principles to employ by:

Liberate your employees to be spontaneous customer advocates: Just as you should release your customer data to be used by all departments of the organization, you should free your associates to use their teaching, talent and common sense to move the company forward. Loyalty programs are great empowerment instruments because they provide the necessary data to support employees in their quest to provide value add service.

Talk, and listen: Supply employees with the tools they’ll need to communicate what they see and hear through the ranks. Such “listening posts” help keep associates actively involved in the experience so they understand what to listen for and where to provide meaningful feedback to the organization.
In time, employees will also recognize and request the right productivity and service enhancement tools that will enable them to do their job better.

Don’t expect superior employee engagement for inferior compensation: If you want employee engagement, loyalty and reduced turnover, you need to recognize how their skills contribute to achieving your expectations. Recognition is as important for your best customers as it is internally to reinforce and reward great work by your staff.

It is easy to take the day-to-day mechanics of business for granted – if it runs, then why look for problems? But not appreciating the potential of your workers every day can lead to problems down the road. Capitalize on the opportunity to fully leverage these resources, because everyone wants to do work that matters.

Maybe if more companies adhered to these principles, then the Bain study would see higher levels of employee engagement. That’s been our experience at Air Miles!

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