Have you ever worked for a company? Have you ever bought a product? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, you have been either an employee, a customer, or both. As an employee or customer, chances are you have one pet peeve when it comes to interacting with a company: communication. While communication can be good, oftentimes it is not, resulting in misleading information, miscommunication, or misinterpretation. All three of these can be avoided if there is better communication with both your employees and your customers. Once you fix communication, you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to build a relationship with your employees and customers.
In this post, we share a few ways how you can build relationships with employees and customers through communication.
Don’t underestimate what information people find valuable
One of the biggest causes of miscommunication is not sharing information that other people might find valuable. While you as an executive might not find rumors of the company being sold as prevalent information doesn’t mean that your employees and customers don’t. As a business, do your best to stay on top of pending company news, especially rumors. Find a way to address them both internally and externally to give all stakeholders peace of mind. This goes along with any time of news—product launches, acquisitions, etc. If you think your stakeholders want to know about it, chances are that they do.
That being said, be respectful of your stakeholders and find a way to always consider them. This might not be by contacting them directly. Instead, treat them like you would want to be treated. They trust the information you share with them, as they view you as a credible source. Keeping and maintaining that trust is the first step in building a successful relationship with both your employees and customer. They are ultimately your company’s biggest fans, so treat them with respect and you are sure to win them over.
Engage, engage, engage
Take the time to know your employees and your customers by making an attempt to engage with them. Maybe it’s asking them to comment on a recent post on Facebook. Maybe it’s replying to their comment on an Instagram post or a tweet. Either way, use this as a method to engage with both your employees and customers. And it’s by far the easiest since most companies have some form of social media. They want to know that you as a business cares about them and their loyalty. What better way than to engage with them?
While this may sound like its mostly applicable for customers, it works the same for employees too. If you’re comfortable, follow your company on social media. Chances are, they will follow you back if you make it known that you are an employee of theirs. That being said, take the opportunity to follow fellow employees and thought leaders within the company. You’d be surprised just how much people will want to engage with you if you post something professional (and in some cases, personal too). This creates a community rooted in sharing story details, as you find out a little more about someone the more you engage with them. And you never know where that could pay off.
Perhaps the most crucial action you can take in building relationships with your customers and employees is to reward loyalty. For customers, it might be being a devout user for years, while for employees, it can be being a dedicated worker. Rewarding loyalty is a great way to keep everyone engaged, happy, and motivated. It also shows that you care about them, their service, and their business. Though it may apply to both sets of stakeholders, it is executed very differently.
When it comes to rewarding customers for their loyalty, work it into a promotion. Maybe you send them a birthday coupon or notify them of a friends-and-family discount. Other ways could be to send them samples of new products or provide a gift with purchase. These are great gestures to show that you care about the customer and want them to keep coming back. On the other hand, treat employees with branded gifts or do an employee appreciation event at the office. Even just a thoughtful thank you message from the CEO or other executive leadership can go a long way. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure it shows that the loyalty that employees and customers give your business really matters.
Building relationships with your employees and customers aren’t as hard as you may think it is. While the task may seem daunting at first, it really just comes down to one tool: communication. With proper communication put in place, you can open up doors you never knew existed and become closer than ever with your employees and stakeholders.