The fifth in a series.
We all know about the power of influencer marketing, but too many people miss the inherent opportunity of having their employees be their company’s influencers. Engaging your employees as ambassadors goes beyond simply providing good customer service. An ambassador promotes the company, the owner and the product in authentic ways to engage the customer and create relationships that lead to sales. By informing and by inspiring the customer through storytelling and personal anecdotes, employees add personality and a face to a business. To activate this transformation, you first must change the way your employees feel about your company and their opportunity to work on behalf of it. The goal is to ignite passion and loyalty that leads to enthusiasm in the way your employees do their jobs, most importantly in the way they interface with customers. Enthusiasm is contagious and powerful as a key ingredient in generating sales. Your employees are the first line beyond you in representing your company to your customers, so you want them to be at the top of their game.
Let’s get to work!
Here’s how to put this week’s growth hack into action now.
First, it all starts with hiring the right people. As part of the hiring process, choose employees, especially those who will interface directly with customers, who are not just simply capable and eager to work hard, but who have a sincere interest in and passion for what your company sells. That authenticity pays off big time during customer-employee interaction.
Make sure that both new hires and existing employees feel a sense of ownership in your company. While some companies offer true ownership in the sense of stock options or related incentives, you can achieve a sense of ownership by simply making it clear that your employees are part of a team. Everybody wants to be part of something exciting and dynamic. As a company owner, you need to be sure your employees are engaged in ways that go beyond just fulfilling a job description. Examples of ways to achieve this include:
- Seeking employee input on all matters relating to your company’s performance and making sure everyone feels heard;
- Giving staffers a title and, if appropriate, a name tag with their name, title and even a statement from that employee about how they view their job and its importance;
- Conducting regular employee recognition awards that are fun in nature yet recognize achievement;
- Making sure your team knows your story, your values, and what your business means to you and your family;
- and Prioritizing genuine interest and concern in your employees’ lives.
The point is to ensure that your employees feel like they are important, valued, heard and part of a team. This sense of ownership and real pride in your business will lead to an employee experience that goes way beyond what holding a job typically means.
Create a company culture of accountability. To ensure that each employee feels important and valued, make it clear that each team member represents a critical link in the chain of success. Everyone has to be accountable for giving it their all and executing to their fullest and highest ability.
Make coming to work a positive in their lives. We spend much of our lives working, so make it clear to employees that you recognize that and, moreover, want them to enjoy themselves. We tend to think of work as a negative, but you can transform that into a positive. Set the tone that while conducting our work is serious business, it can be something to feel proud about, especially in moments of achievement, and can even be fun. Surprise and delight go a long way to having your employees whistling while they work rather than lamenting their experience and watching the clock. Company outings, engaging in light conversation beyond simply the job at hand, and/or even playing background music are all examples of how to lighten things up and make your employees’ experience more enjoyable.
Lastly, conduct role-playing training that demonstrates how you want them to represent your company in their respective roles and what it means to be true ambassadors for your business in all of their interactions with customers.
Making this subtle but important shift will pay huge dividends for your business in driving sales, achieving customer loyalty and repeat business, and retaining employees. It will even benefit your experience as a business owner leading a dedicated and passionate team toward the common goal of your business’ success.