Picture your average customer. Think of the way they look, from the shoes and clothes they wear to the crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles (or lack thereof), and how they sigh with boredom or frustration before they find the solution that you offer. Take all of those marketing metrics you’ve drilled down into viable personas and give them a shape, a form.
Odds are, you’re picturing a person.
It’s true whether you work in the smallest corner grocery and can see everyone from the neighborhood stop by or you’re the manufacturer of the most massive industrial ball bearings in the world, or you build software to keep warehouses running so ecommerce orders are shipped out on time. No matter your business, there’s a person at the other end of every transaction.
We can’t frame this any other way: your business is people-centric. The faster you grasp that concept and the more central you make it to your operations, the better you’ll be able to serve your customer. Those efforts are about building a people-centric culture, which is being used by everyone from the latest startups to American Express because you are always going to be defined by human customers.
We all like to think we make the best products and services, but at the end of the day, it’s the people who make the difference. People who are running your organization and selling your offering. People who are buying it and using or implementing it. And, perhaps most importantly to our thoughts, people stepping up and owning each of these processes to ensure that business is done smoothly.
People = your staff
You already know that the most important people in your company all work there. It’s one of those big-brain things that it’s easy to “know” but hard to “get.” So, we’ll start by putting this in terms that are a little easier to grasp.
Today’s labor market is tight. Positions are harder to fill, and job-seekers are more willing to negotiate up and ask for that bigger raise or benefits package. We’re also seeing some of the highest numbers of people quitting voluntarily since the early 2000s tech boom. People leaving their jobs cost American companies an estimated $160 billion per year.
When staff is put on the back burner and get frustrated enough to leave, it:
- impacts a company’s ability to grow
- damages the morale of other employees and makes it harder to keep them engaged
- forces you to hire new, less productive people
- puts a more significant burden on existing staff and managers
- shifts the focus of your HR to hiring someone new instead of retaining who is already here
That last item is especially damaging. It is a gut-punch to the people who are picking up the slack and ensuring your business still keeps going. Think of it like getting a coupon in the mail saying your $200 cable package is now just $99 per month, but when you call, they say it’s for new subscribers only.
It’s why people numb out, and you’ve got to avoid that.
How you benefit from focusing on your people?
So, to avoid all that, you’ve got to create a culture where people want to be. It helps your employees and ultimately your sales.
Emphasizing your people will help you develop a stronger community where people want to come in to work. Taking the time to define them, their roles, and responsibilities can make the process easier. Think of it like taking those marketing personas and building one out for each of the professionals you’d like to have around.
The persona approach allows you to create rewards, recognition, and even training tailored to your team. It’s empathetic. They’ll appreciate it and bring that focus to their efforts with your customers.
Creating an empathetic team translates into people more willing to give your customers the time and service they deserve. Plus, your team will focus more on cross functional collaboration, boosting their efficiency, which results in 26% fewer mistakes and up to 41% lower absenteeism.
Ask your people what matters to them and incorporate that into your brand.
People = your customers
When you create a company that uses its people and customers as its base, you have a strong foundation that naturally allows profits to build on top of it. The positive employee experience translates into a high-quality customer experience. When your team is engaged and happy, that moves right to your customers.
The wins here generate that all-important recurring revenue. You’re able to deliver a valuable and useful product or service, and customers enjoy interacting with your team. When they need the same support again, you’re the natural call.
It helps your customers want to buy your products or use your services. It even helps those secondary customers (like vendors, suppliers, amazing apps you integrate with, etc.) want to partner with you and succeed alongside you. Retention rates among the outside groups you depend on are solidified, making you worry less. Each positive experience has a ripple effect, moving through your entire business and hopefully turning a few customers into advocates along the way.
This is one of those strange, difficult places in running a business. We’re taught to always put the customer first and everything will follow. But, putting people first — and even more narrowly, putting our people first — has a compounding impact on our success.
We’ve talked about your employees more than twice as much as your customers, because they’re your required business element to get everything else right. When your staff wins, customers do too, and it all comes back to treating everyone like people first.
Ending the “it’s not my job” illness
Let’s wrap up with one of the most frustrating expressions you can hear at any business, whether you’re an employee, owner, or customer: “that’s not my job.”
Adopting a people-centric approach helps everyone feel responsible and take responsibility, delivering the best service and support you can. It removes this dreaded phrase from your team’s vocabulary by making them want to help your business and your customers.
Shifting the focus from worrying about a task (process-focus) to worrying about helping customers (people-focus) also safeguards you against the tendency of B2B and B2C customers stopping doing business when they have a poor customer service experience.
It’s just one of the many small changes you can make in order to deliver better customer service and drive repeat business and greater profits, all thanks to happier employees.
Ready to provide that great level of service?
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