• Bill Leinweber

  • About Bill Leinweber

    Bill Leinweber's mission is to help businesses and organizations grow by combining efficient processes with great customer and employee experience.

    Bill is the Chief Experience Officer & Owner of Landmark Experience LLC, a consultancy, where he loves to help business leaders walk in their customers' shoes and devise memorable and meaningful experiences for both customers, guests, visitors, employees and business partners. After all, have you ever heard of customer loyalty and business growth without GREAT customer experience?

    Bill's 30 year career spans retail and office products distribution operations in both small, family-owned and global mega-businesses. He has managed customer service operations, sales support, customer on-boarding and business intelligence teams while also serving as an internal consultant and subject matter expert. Bill has helped his past employers improve their customer engagement processes and achieve their goals of customer experience excellence and loyalty.

    Bill loves to talk and speak about customer experience as well, so don't be afraid to ask!

    Bill Leinweber
    Landmark Experience

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Your Employees Are Your Customers

Here is a suggestion for you business owners and leaders:

  • Treat your employees as you do your customers.

Now, I suppose I should qualify that and say, if you don’t treat your customers very well then ignore the previous statement. Here’s another thought:

  • Your Employees Are Your Customers

Does this sound like some radical thinking to you? If so, read on.

Open any corporate annual report (and I’m serious, nearly any single one) and you’ll read somewhere in the CEO’s opening comments, “Our employees are our most important asset…” or some variation of that sentiment. And while the statement is probably true, it is a bit of a tired phrase. That said, if your employees are in fact your most important asset, why wouldn’t their experience be at least as great as your external customers receive?

To truly be “customer centric” (and from what I hear, everyone wants to be so), an organization needs to see the customer in all groups and the word “customer” must apply to all groups and everyone in your organization needs to feel it and believe in it. That, to me, is customer centric.

According to Deloitte LLP’s fourth annual Ethics & Workplace Survey, one-third of employed Americans plan to look for a new job when the economy gets better. Within the group who plans on looking for greener pastures, 48 percent cite a loss of trust in their employer and 46 percent say that a lack of transparent communication from their company’s leadership are their reasons for looking.

These statistics indicate you could be on the verge of losing essential talent in your organization. So how do you put your employees in a “customer channel?” Quite simply, apply the same rules of customer service, process improvement, Voice of the Customer and customer experience management to your employees’ experience. Sure, easier said than done but well worth the effort if you want to be and remain an employer of choice.

Take a hard look (literally) around your company and ask yourself, how easy IS it to be your employee? Look at your employee experience through the same lens you use to evaluate your external customer experience. When was the last time you conducted an employee climate survey – and took solid actions on the results? Are your employees enjoying memorable, meaningful experiences and feeling valued? Or do you see these types of examples:

Do you expect your sales reps to spend every waking hour in front of clients, scheduling appointments, making the sales pitch, honing their sales skills and “managing their time wisely” so they can exceed your sales targets? Then when the sales rep sits down to complete their monthly expense report, your clunky, ill-conceived expense reporting system is so cumbersome, bureaucratic and user unfriendly that the rep wastes two or three hours of their own time trying to get reimbursed for legitimate expenses?

Are communications in your company unfocused, unclear and fraught with hurried ambiguity only to leave employees feeling confused and suspicious?

On the surface, is your culture a happy, “team environment” with “mutual respect and accountability” but the obvious chief motivating undertone when employees engage with one another is, “This isn’t going to make me look bad in front of the boss, is it??”

Do you expect your customer service team members to sacrifice lunch or break time for your external customers’ behalf but when a team member needs a little break or time off, they get grief from their boss?

One company that is at least trying to drive the same external customer mission to their employee customers is office products giant, Staples. Who hasn’t heard of the “Easy Button?” Press the button and a voice says, “That was easy!” Well, when I sat across the table from their head of employee benefits during their vision benefits implementation meeting, she pointed to a poster on the wall in the conference room. “Do you see what that says,” she asked. “We want our vision benefits conversion and implementation to be ‘Easy’ for our employees.” Clearly that simple mantra has made it out of the marketing and public relations silos and across boundaries into employee engagement. Not always perfect, I’m sure, but the effort and awareness is there.

Focus on making your organization REALLY “customer centric” by recognizing all your customer groups, including your employees. Weave that message through your company culture and belief system. Your external customers will likely be treated even better by employees who feel they are within the customer circle.

2 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bill Leinweber, Beverly Kaye. Beverly Kaye said: Is it too far fetched to treat employees with the same care and respect that you treat your customers? I think not…. http://t.co/DhsqncF […]

  2. Beverly,

    Thank you for your comment! I’m delighted to hear you say that this concept is not far fetched. Yet I doubt many organizations see it from this perspective.

    Here’s to great customer AND associate experience!

    Kind regards,
    Bill Leinweber

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