There are a number of ways you can differentiate your business from your competitors – price, location, etc. But, there are only a couple that are very difficult, if not impossible, for your competitors to emulate – your company’s personality and processes. Processes are extremely important for professional service businesses, and they can make a huge difference in costs for retail businesses. But, your processes are yours, and we can’t necessarily help you perfect those.
Your corporate personality is also yours – but we can tell you a little bit about how your personality, or corporate culture, can affect your acquisition of new customers. Most business owners and managers think of their culture as something internal, that only affects their employees and themselves. But, corporate culture can’t be divorced from how it affects the public image of companies – it’s hard to be one thing on the inside and another on the outside. And, with the burgeoning Millennial generation of consumers, creating relationships with customers is of ever-increasing importance. Many consumers believe where they shop, or who they do business with, is a reflection upon themselves. So, they want to do business with companies and people that they like.
Here’s how having a good company culture leads to achieving more business.
Company Culture -> Happier Employees -> Employee Retention -> Loyal Customers -> New Leads
Company culture is so important to retaining employees, that some employees will forgo a higher salary at a new company to stay for the quality of life and camaraderie at their current job. That kind of scenario basically guarantees that the majority of your employees are going to be happy. And, happy employees tend to give better customer service and think of creative ways to deliver a quality product or service to customers. That intentional thinking and dedication to customer service can drive higher revenue from existing customers.
Customer service can’t overcome a poor product experience, but it can make a competitive difference. And, if you customers like your employees, they will tend to stay as your customers, all things being equal otherwise. Conversely, if the employee they like leaves the company, there is a decreased opportunity for customer loyalty. Loyal customers will speak positively about you within their personal networks, and that positive word of mouth will drive new leads.
So, if your company is perceived by employees as a good place to work, they’re more interested in keeping their jobs and they know taking care of customers is the way to do that. In addition to “real life” word-of-mouth generating leads for you, consumers increasingly rely on online reviews when making purchasing decisions. A recent study showed that 90% of those surveyed said that positive online reviews influenced their buying decision. That is an impressive number, and those reviews include social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as sites devoted specifically to customer reviews.
Business owners and marketers often look at vehicles outside of the company to drive new leads and sales – traditional and online advertising, promotions, discounts, trade shows, etc. But, now that we can see a path to more leads and sales from inside the company, how do we influence that positively? There are hundreds of books available about building a positive corporate culture. That’s a topic way too big for a blog post. On the other hand, we can tackle incentivizing, motivating, and rewarding your employees.
For non-commissioned employees who bring in a new lead that closes, a one-time cash incentive or “spiff” is a great reward. However, many employers are also using promotions to keep employees engaged. These games and contests can incorporate performance-based goals or be used to celebrate company-wide milestones.
Within the concept of open-book management – involving all of your employees in your operations and financial performance – is “The Great Game of Business.” When employees can clearly see financial performance and objectives, and when part of their compensation relies on them influencing financial performance positively, they quickly become motivated to increase sales and generate new clients. Yes, even when it’s not their main job. You’re better off rewarding an employee who will be with you for years, than rewarding a customer who might just patronize you once for the incentive!
See how these companies did it with our promotion case studies.