How Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Management, and IT needs to change what they do and how to do it?
Empowered Employees are a continuous force for innovation in the service of customers. But it takes three groups working together to make this possible: IT, Managers and the employees themselves.
Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, authors of Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business conducted a survey of 4,000 information workers in US companies, (Source: Forrester’s North American Technographics Empowerment Online Survey, Q4 2009 (US).
They analyzed workers by company, industry and job description where they identified four states of mind:
1. 34% of employees don’t feel empowered to solve problems. They just try to do their jobs
2. 14% act resourcefully, but don’t feel empowered, and their company doesn’t support their creative efforts to solve problems.
3. 34% of workers feel empowered, but don’t act. They are moving along with their company to solve customer problems, but don’t have access to the right technology through their company.
4. 21% of workers feel empowered and resourceful. They are using new technologies and know the company wants them to help customers.
Nowadays, the same technologies that empower customers are available to employees. Companies use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs to spread the word about their products and services.
Let’s look at the story of Rob.
Rob is head of sales training at Black & Decker. The company has hundreds of complex products which should be explained and sold to retailers as huge as Home Depot and as small as a local store. To educate the sales teams, Rob was using an in-house learning tool that organized the PowerPoint slides.
Then one day, Rob took a closer look at YouTube. Where others saw cats on skateboards, he saw potential. He bought a video camera device (nowadays many used their cell phones) and worked with the sales teams to create videos to sell their products.
Videos on the Black & Decker server channel attracted thousands of viewers. The sales teams documented their challenges, their product features, and the solutions that worked best in sales.
Take a look at the Black and Decker YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BlackandDeckerTv/videos
To learn more about how to build a video marketing strategy, go deep into my favorite online video platform, Vidyard https://www.vidyard.com/
I was fortunate to meet Tyler Lessard, VP Marketing at Vidyard, and Andrew Davis, a bestselling author and internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, during the last Conex event, which was held, August 2019, in Toronto. Conex is an incredible annual event for content marketers with some of the biggest names in content marketing, including Ann Handley, Jay Baer, Marcus Sheridan and Mark Schaefer.
My first video Employee Experience – Intellio IT Recruitment Company, Montréal, Canada was a powerful experience! It marks the beginning of something fresh and exciting, yet more than a little scary! Both Tyler and Andrew were very kind to take a look at my video and gave me their feedback.
These are the people who have shaped and guided my thinking as I’ve traveled the road of content marketing wisdom.
Rob could succeed because his boss supported his efforts. He needed a video server and IT support to provide the video library that his sales training needed.
To quote Reid Hoffman, an entrepreneur best known for being the co-creator of LinkedIn and author of “ The Start-up of You”, ” Like a band of superheroes, your company has its own origin story. You won’t always be able to find the heroes you need. Your competitors may tie up all the star employees. You must mold your own superheroes and turn them into an unstoppable force. “. See my previous post: 6 new entrepreneurial strategies that will help you land better professional opportunities
People like Rob are doers. They want to help the organizations they work for to be successful and are often the most enthusiastic backers of the companies’ goals and missions. They are pushed by a desire to create improvements thought their initiative, rather live with the status quo.
The main reason marketers haven’t used these strategies to empower customers is simple. They know how to use concepts like reach, positioning, and key performance indicators (KPI) to design a marketing strategy and measure performance, but they lack a plan for word of mouth and have no vocabulary to talk about it. Empowered customers are people. We must think about individuals as influencers.
” We’ve become obsessed with technology, we use it too often as a crutch, we don’t go out and talk to customers–that’s where the insights and innovations are going to be. We need to get out from behind our dashboards and connect.” Mark Schaefer, a well-known top social media marketing expert and author of Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company WinsYour client is a marketing channel. In the new marketing channel, influence begins after the sale.
Marketing is about resonance. The best marketers seek ideas about what resonates with customers.
Nowadays, customers are making a lot of noise using the social media platform. They tweet and post on blogs, Facebook, and YouTube. Their voices, taken together, are more persuasive than any advertisement campaign.
According to Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, a groundswell customer service is a discipline where the employees connect with their clients wherever they are making noise, e.g., post and comments on LinkedIn, helping them and turning them into broadcasters of positive messages.
Here below is what you need to create a new customer service system:
1. Listen: use a tool like Salesforce Social Studio. I use another great tool, Mention, to identify people talking about a brand, company or industry. Until you know what people are saying, you don’t know where to start. And until you have a tool like this in place, you can’t be efficient in addressing online service issues.
These popular social media tools can help you gain deeper insights into your social media metrics:
2. Staff: build up a social engagement team. One of the best ways to prove to consumers that your brand has real humans behind it is to reveal the humans that work behind the brand. The key is to create a powerful system that not only addresses service issues, but helps them into word-of-mouth marketing opportunities.
3. Concentrate on the experience: When customer service is a cost, the primary aim is to deal with them. All customer service should have the goal of improving the experience for customers, to get them to spread positive word-of-mouth. It makes sense to treat every customer as a potential influence, and every online post as the source of that influence.
4. Plan to evolve: Twitter remains the best tool to deal with customers, for those working in the eCommerce sector, because it’s so immediate and easy to reach. But as social technology evolves, the employee who implements these systems need to review them every six months with an eye focusing on new techniques and tools that customers are adopting.
The key is to put the client at the center so that you can solve their immediate problem, which creates word-of-mouth. And you can solve their ultimate problem, by empowering the employees to serve them better.
True customer service is achieved when service is not just a corporate function, but a corporate value.
Many companies speak up for this ideal; few attain it like the online retailer Zappos. If you had never heard of this company before, I recommend you Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose written by their CEO, Tony Hsieh.
At Zappos, customer service isn’t marketing, it’s everything.
Here are the company’s core values, developed by the employees and used in evaluating hires:
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More with Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
The company was brought by Amazon at a valuation of over $1 billion. Amazon had the Zappos brand because their service reputation was such a big part of what Amazon coveted.
Every employee has ideas. Some of them evolve into innovations, products, methods, or businesses. Others just stay ideas.
1. Speed: driven innovation needs to move forward, otherwise the employee cannot make progress, will give up and go back to their regular jobs. Fast is better than slow; better a fast “no” than an indeterminate “we’ll get back to you.”
2. Feedback from the organization: the best ideas cross-organization silos. Managers use the intranet or tools, like Slack, to forward ideas to experts in the company.
3. Software that supports innovation: no matter what software you use, make sure it fits with your company’s internal system.
Most companies are at the start of the journey towards empowering their employees. Don’t wait for your company to change. Create the change yourself. Don’t be afraid to try, fail fast (small) and fail often. Give yourself permission to try something new.
” No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress is, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying,”, Tony Robbins., a business strategist and Motivational guru.
Empowering employees means giving your team members permission to take action and decide within your organization. It attracts smart people, and it makes your company a more enjoyable and creative place to be.
Companies need to create open environments where new ideas are encouraged, and team members feel empowered to take risks to uncover solutions. When a workplace atmosphere is created where employees feel valued and are encouraged to take pride in their work, employers can promote peak performance.
“To be successful as a leader, you have to be willing to empower your teams and encourage them to think outside the box. You have to relinquish control in some areas and be open to innovation and improvements.” Michael Schneider, Human capital specialist, Welltower, source: Being a Successful Leader Doesn’t Mean You Always Get Your Way — It’s Actually the Exact Opposite
The more you empower your employees, the more they will grow and thrive.
Remember, big projects start small. Then get bigger. They spread and become strategic. As Malcolm Kar, Intel’s chief information security officer, says, “Make people the new perimeter”.
With this kind of transparency, employees feel highly involved in the business, allowing them to think and act like the company owners in daily decision-making.
Better engagement means better productivity.
Today, customers insist on innovation. Technology may be at the core of digital transformation, but it’s influenced and driven by people first… or, at least it should be.
Do you see your current work as a job, a career, or a calling?
How can you craft your work to have more meaningful?
What changes can you introduce?
Let us know in the comments.