The Secret to Long-Term Success is In-House Harmony
It’s easy to believe that everything in business is based on profit margins and marketing, and that if you can reach enough people and make enough money on each sale, your business will succeed. However, this isn’t the case; a company that makes less money on each sale will beat out a company that makes much more if its customers and employees prefer the service and experience it offers. In the long run, customers prefer a great experience to the rock-bottom prices even when the economy is in shambles. But how can your business offer such a great experience?
1. Utilize Internal Branding
One incredibly powerful tool that too many companies ignore is internal branding. This is the strategy of incorporating every member of your business into your brand image, from your janitors to your managers. If you go for a family-friendly image, all of your fantastic marketing can be undone in an instant if customers run into a group of your employees smoking and swapping dirty jokes on break. That sort of experience stays with a customer forever, and they’ll bring it up in every conversation about your business. The damage is nearly impossible to undo.
The key to preventing this sort of problem is to follow a single straightforward policy: every member of your business is the face of your business whenever they’re working, whether or not a customer can see them. That way, customers will always see your company the way it’s advertised, and they’ll know what they can expect when doing business with you. Better yet, it will make all your employees feel like an important part of your company – which will, in turn, make them much more enthusiastic about sticking to your brand image.
2. Reward Loyalty
One of the best things you can do with all of your business relationships – customers, clients, and employees alike – is find a concrete way to show your appreciation for loyalty. Setting up a rewards system for your customers is a great option: offer discounts to returning customers and free products or services to those who stick with you over time.
For employees, raises, bonuses, and promotions are the obvious choices. However, it’s often a good idea to add a few gifts in between in order to remind employees how much their contributions mean to the company. You can kill two birds with one stone and incorporate marketing into your loyalty program by offering promotional products as gifts; printed T-shirts, stubby holders, and water bottles are a few possible options. In addition, if you have a large amount of these products in stock, you can use them as part of your customer rewards system or send them out to valued clients.
If you continually reward your employees, they’ll be happier, work harder, and put forth a better image for your company. If your customers get more satisfying results from continuing to choose you over your competitors, they’ll keep coming back for more – even if it means paying a higher price.
3. Do Unto Others…
Just as crucial as the other steps is to treat your employees the way you want them to treat your customers: in a friendly, respectful and appreciative way. While the world would be a wonderful place if everyone did unto others as they wished others to do unto them, the hard reality as that people treat others the way they are treated. If employees feel disrespected and unvalued by their leaders, they will neither respect nor value their customers. They aren’t likely to put on a cheerful face and go the extra mile to sell your product or service; more likely, customers will have to prod them into action.
On the other hand, employees who love working for you will work harder so that they can continue to do so. The result of having such loyal employees will be more loyal customers – and there is nothing in the world of business that’s more important.
If you want your business to thrive in the long run, keep your customers close and your employees closer. The results will speak for themselves.