Welcome to the last in this series on the 3 Rs of gaining employee commitment as the foundation of internal marketing:
- Respect – give people the tools to do their jobs [see post 3-14-05]
- Recognition – catch them doing something right [see last post]
- Reinforcement – continually support a customer-focused culture.
3rd R: Reinforcement
This involves supporting the importance of customer-care in both word & deed. Consider the opportunities you have to share this message in verbal, print, and electronic communications — internal memos, staff meetings, intranet, special events, etc. For example, you can publish success stories of staff who go “above & beyond” when it comes to taking care of customers, recognizing employees as roles models or organizational heroes.
Financial services giant MBNA has the words “Think like the customer” printed above the doorways in its offices to reinforce customer empathy.
QVC, the shopping channel, has an expression of its values inlaid in the floor of its headquarters: “Customer focus: exceeding the expectations of every customer.”
And a growing number of companies now include their mission statements and/or corporate values on the back of employee ID badges.
You can also reinforce customer importance through customer appreciation-type events. Such activities aren’t limited to for-profits — the U.S. Census Bureau celebrates Customer Service Week each October. Census Bureau marketing staff & employee committees explore creative ways to honor the Customer Service Week event with special activities. For example, field offices participate by creating customer-focused displays that are peer-judged on the Bureau’s intranet. Customer Service Week program books are published & distributed featuring service success stories submitted by customers and staff.
It just keeps going & going …
Organizations that successfully cultivate a customer-focused culture know it takes continual effort beyond just using internal media or special events. It also means management’s actions need to be consistent with its customer-focused message, whether on a daily basis or during extraordinary times.
How does your organization reinforce a customer-focused culture? Let me know.
Gaining & maintaining employee commitment to serving customers involves an ongoing demonstration of respecting employees, recognizing their efforts, and continually reinforcement a customer-care orientation. This is the foundation of internal marketing.