To describe the impact that employees have on customers, I often use a mirror metaphor. This “employee-customer mirror” reflects the reality that customers are affected by what employees experience on the job. If employees are frustrated by company policy or internal politics, their attitudes can be projected onto dealings with customers. And who wants to be served by disgruntled employees? It takes only one or two such encounters (depending on the customer’s tolerance threshold) before a customer takes his/her business elsewhere. And who knows how many other customers will hear of the experience?
It’s an easy principle to remember: the way employees feel is the way customers will feel – and if our employees don’t feel valued, neither will our customers. Unfortunately, too many organizations take this relationship for granted. (Don’t even think about using current economic conditions as an excuse.)
How do you manage employee-customer care? I’m talking the basics here:
- open the lines of organizational communications (top-down, bottom-up, and laterally)
- involve employees in improving the business operations – whatever is needed to survive and thrive
- provide opportunities for continued learning and professional development
- recognize employees who continue to rally the energy and enthusiasm to serve customers and co-workers despite limited resources.
What do you see when looking into your organization’s Employee-Customer Mirror?
- a shiny reflection of employee- and customer-satisfaction?
- a blurred image that needs polishing to be more employee- and customer-focused? or
- a cracked image opening up opportunities for your competitors?