We’ve all experienced bad customer service, usually from an employee who doesn’t care about the company they work for or the message they should convey. A Gallup study found that when 3000 workers were asked whether they agree with the statement, “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand different”, only 41% of employees strongly agreed and 24% disagreed. This indicates that too many companies are failing to illustrate to their employees why their brand is different and worth working for, directly impacting the way employees convey the brand to customers and clients, not to mention the desire new potential candidates have for working with you.
Inspiring talent to become true brand ambassadors is the solution to this as we learnt at our recent Round Table Dinner Debate with Matt Elliot, HR Director of Virgin Money. His experience in implementing brand value ‘EBO’, (Everybody is Better Off), when Virgin Money bought Northern Rock, helped transform the situation. By uniting staff with values outlining the core brand and what it gives back to the employee, Elliot was able to reignite brand loyalty from a seemingly irreparable situation.
We recommend you try these steps in your business to better the connection between your staff and your brand values:
1) Consistency, not conformity
Encouraging staff to conform to model employee characteristics can undermine the potential of the individual. Make like Apple’s Genius Bar and find the key strengths of each member of staff, then assign goals based on these. This way your strength pool is rounded and multi-faceted. RSG’s Academy take this approach and employ based on skill rather than experience. Via skill set discovery, these employees can be placed in an area of the business which suits them best resulting in roles which are tailored to the individual as opposed to one role fits all. The result? Staff can consistently deliver their best work using their unique skills for well-rounded overall business results.
2) Aligning actions and values
It is one thing to stick up brand value posters on the walls and another to actually action them. Businesses notoriously fail to gain staff compassion when the values they preach aren’t synonymous with internal business behaviour. For staff to embrace their role as brand ambassadors they must love the brand! Ensure every aspect of your business, the recruitment, training, rewards and culture, all deliver what they promise to.
3) Measuring brand awareness
How well do your staff know what you are trying to achieve? Do they know what makes the business different to its competitors? Are they in-the-know about the successes they’ve played a part in? Your marketing team should communicate the brand as efficiently internally as they do externally. Gallup note that ‘new employees should be able to articulate what your company stands for and what makes you different within their first 30 days of employment, and your managers should reinforce this message every day.’
According to Forbes, “employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder. 41% of us believe that employees are the most credible source of information regarding their business.” This means that regardless of the industry you’re in, connecting your employees with the brand is essential if your customer service is to achieve great things. So ensure you’re investing enough time into those whom your customers trust most and remember too that the way your brand appears now, will reflect in the talent you attract for the future.
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