Leaders Need to Show They Care About Customers

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Jan 30, 2019

A good job. Good pay. Good benefits.

Twenty, maybe even 10 years ago, that’s what the majority of employees expected from employers. The value of a career was measured in the work itself, compensation, and a quality benefits package.

Today’s modern employees aren’t focused on these three simple details. In fact, in my team’s latest report, MedReps 2019 Best Places to Work, medical sales employees noted various qualities of impressive employers and companies. The majority of their responses had one critical factor in common — people. Whether it’s focusing internally or giving customers the best products possible, reps believe people should be the focus of every organization.

The two most cited reasons respondents chose companies as the best place to work were “a positive corporate culture” and “the strength of a company’s product.”

Top companies prioritize their employees’ experiences and customers’ satisfaction with their products above all else. They focus on proving this people-centric mindset on a regular basis. Of course, while business leaders agree people are the key to success at their organization, the act of cluing employees in and ensuring they’re fully aware of this priority is often missing.

Here’s how you can prove to employees that the focus on people is at the top of your list:

Put a spotlight on leaders

At first glance, this is backward. Employees want to know their goals and achievements, as well as their customers’ needs, are most important. They don’t need leaders boasting about what they’re doing well. The goal, however, isn’t for business leaders to brag about their accomplishments. Instead, the focus is on improving employees’ perceptions about how leaders support their teams, customers, and community.

This goal is harder to hit today than ever before. In fact, millennials in the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey say their opinions about business’ motivations and ethics have taken a sharp decline. Unfortunately, there’s a mismatch between what millennials believe businesses should achieve and what they perceive businesses’ are actually doing.

It’s the time to close that gap at your company.

Show the reality of how leaders are improving the world around them. Send email and social media updates about new policies leaders are implementing to improve corporate responsibility practices. Or give them a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how they worked with HR to increase flexibility for employees to improve the quality of work-life balance.

Use personalized video interviews to help leaders share their stories and passions for improving the lives of those around them. This will increase meaningful connections with employees and show they’re not simply out to increase profit.

Show the results and benefits of teamwork

Creating truly collaborative and successful teams is no easy task. The good news for both leaders and HR pros is that employees are interested in developing tight-knit relationships with co-workers. They’re dedicated to finding the ultimate partnerships that will produce positive results for customers.

To do this, your employees need to know their leaders are nurturing teams to encourage and support one another. They must feel part of a safe and comfortable environment — one where they’re able to go out on a limb, share a new idea, and see it come to fruition as a result of effective teamwork.

Rather than forcing employees to participate in mandatory team building activities, take a more natural, low-pressure route. Give a glimpse into how business leaders facilitate teamwork by showing off what your teams are already accomplishing.

Ask leaders to call out teams on the company’s social media pages. They can post pictures or videos of co-workers collaborating, publicly express their gratitude and, most importantly, share the end result.

Spread the customer-centric word

A-C-T-I-O-N. Action, action, we want action! To employees, being customer-centric is all about constant action. They believe the proof is in the pudding — or their output. However, employees’ abilities to please customers are limited by their knowledge.

Business leaders who aren’t transparent on a daily basis about how well the company is meeting customers’ expectations are limiting their team’s successes. As a result, employees will feel they, and the company as a whole, are failing customers.

Give employees daily updates on customers’ needs, praises, and critiques. Take it a step further and have leaders host daily stand-up meetings. These are specifically designed for employees to freely discuss their opinions without fear of judgment or repercussions. In each meeting, leaders need to ask employees what will help them meet customers’ needs, keep those same praises coming, and resolve negative issues.

As employees see their suggestions coming to life, they’ll see the direct correlation between leaders and their care for customers.

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