Cultivating Consumer Advocacy Through Employees

An employee’s positive attitude and behavior are key in cultivating consumer advocacy. When employees of an organization conduct themselves in a positive manner, consumers are more receptive to becoming an advocate of that brand (Azzarello, Debruyne, & Mottura, 2012). A survey conducted by top management consulting firm Bain & Company proves that the overall experience of dealing with a company (i.e. interactions with employees) often matters more to customers than a price or brand. As if often seen, happiness is contagious and the same is true for the enthusiasm of engaged employees onto other employees and customers.

But what is so great about engaged employees and why is this important? In a study that encompassed 7 years, Bain & Company found that companies with highly engaged workers grew revenues two and a half times as much as those with low engagement levels (Assarello et al., 2012). Engaged employees direct their energy toward the right tasks and outcomes, convey a strong sense of purpose, and create a sense of affiliation (Azzarello et al., 2012). When dealing with customers, engaged employees convey a sense of job satisfaction: they are happy working for the organization, they are treated well, and it’s a brand they trust. In turn, happier employees provide a more enriching customer experience.

Companies that succeed at engaging employees do a good job of communicating and explaining the “why.” This “why” helps promote a sense of purpose to employees in any organization. Positive feedback goes a long way. One common thread is that people think feedback should always be negative. However, positive feedback is a “powerful reinforcement of desired behaviors and reminder of the employee’s purpose” (Azzarello et al., 2012, p. 5). This report by Bain & Company highlights that performance metrics need to be tailored to each company to promote customer advocacy. In addition, gaining feedback from call centers, for example, for departments that typically don’t directly interact with customers, such as marketing or engineering, can have a direct impact on the customer experience and create cross-functional collaboration.

 

References:

Azzarello, D., Debruyne, F., and Mottura, L. (2012).  The chemistry of enthusiasm. Bain & Company. Retrieved from http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/the-chemistry-of-enthusiasm.aspx

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3 Responses to Cultivating Consumer Advocacy Through Employees

  1. Meradyth says:

    Great post B! Your examples and discussion remind me of a conversation I had a couple of years ago. I was working with a community association and we had a new restaurant opening within our organization boundaries. The restaurant was owned by a chef on the Food Network and was certain to receive a high volume of business. I was speaking with the Director of Marketing about what makes their restaurant great and she said, “that’s simple, it’s customer service.” I was a bit surprised by her response because I thought it would have something to do with food and when I followed up with that statement she explained that they had learned a basic lesson, which was — People won’t be for amazing/delicious food if their is poor service, but they will pay for “ok” food with great service. You post is right on (#nailedit) about customer service. It can truly make or break a company.

  2. Graham says:

    You’re so right here Bernadette! When I got out of college I got into marketing from a client facing role: sales. I learned so much about what the client wanted, what they needed to hear and frighteningly I even learned a lot about what they wanted to hear. In one instance I worked for a hugely successful startup in local online marketing for SMBs. I noticed that when I discovered a flaw in our software I lost some confidence in the organization and my sales numbers dropped. When I was excited about my job I not only sold more but I also was able to get more people to want to speak with me. I think people generally just want to be around positivity and any kind of interaction with the client (service) is more readily accepted when it comes with a smile. Conversely, someone who lacks confidence – well, you’ve probably noticed it’s a lot harder to buy what they’re selling if they don’t even believe it. To your point on “the why” of it all, check out JDs post a week or two ago on Simon Sinek. It has a great video that discusses the importance of knowing as an organization what you believe so that “the why” can be communicated en masse. Terrific work!!

  3. Avril says:

    Hi Bernadette,

    Yes! Positive reinforcement, a clear mission and ensuring everyone understands how their roles help drive the organization toward that mission sounds like the perfect recipe for employee engagement. I find it challenging sometimes to engage my colleagues in telling the MLT brand story and activating their networks to further recruitment goals. Particularly as I explore using LinkedIn for staff recruitment, I’ll need everyone to ensure their profiles are updated. We’d also like to generate more positive comments on Glass Door. I think at the heart of this will be to persuade staff through reinforcement of our passion for the mission and reinforcement of their roles in getting us there. Thanks for the inspiration!