In my company, and probably most companies, there has been a huge drive to target the customer. “The customer at the centre of everything” was the last CEO’s moto, and the livery and bunting still pervades. It’s a world dominated by service industries. The Customer is King. The Customer is always right. If we do this, what will be the customer impact? We are entirely enveloped in a society obsessed with the customer. The customer wants this, they’ll get it. If they don’t get it from us, they’ll get it from someone else. It’s a customer centric universe. We live and die by THE CUSTOMER! That’s one important customer, but we get the gist.
The Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score, the global industry standard for measuring customer satisfaction, is a company obsession. It is updated daily on the company home pages and spruiked at every event. KPIs are rest upon it, bonuses are paid on it, livelihoods depend on it. And yet, it doesn’t mean it’s right.
But the engagement of the employee is seemingly less important than the customer feedback, which sets a precedent that the customer has priority simply because they have the cash. The customer, which you may have never met or even heard of, their happiness, outranks that of your employees. Can you have happy customers and miserable employees? Yup, Amazon. Happy employees and miserable customers? Possible but unlikely. If people are happy and engaged in their role, customer satisfaction will also follow.
How many people buy a new computer or a new drone or a new phone and ridiculously happy with it? Oh my god this thing has amazing voice recognition, it has the best battery life, the colours are incredible! With products like that, you barely need marketing because people do it for you. Free advertising purely by word of mouth. That’s power. What could be more influential than the recommendation of a trusted friend, spouse or family member? If your husband comes to you and says “try this, it’ll change your life!” are you going to listen? Damn right you’re going to listen!
How about if that was a company? A mother comes home to her husband who is cooking dinner – it’s the 21st century people, time to change our story templates – and she is raving. Not about how bad her boss is or how awful the project is, but how amazing the people are, how their products will change the marketplace, how inspiring her leadership is, how she feels empowered to do her job to the best of her abilities because she has the trust of her management. Makes my eyes tear up just thinking about it.
In turn, those employees will be advocates themselves, promoting the business because they love it. They will go on to attract other like-minded brilliant individuals that want to work for a company that has happy employees, that lead and inspire. The true wealth of a company then isn’t about Net Promoter Score or even Employee Engagement, it’s about Employee Promoters. Of course customers are important, but if you have no one to do the work, what’s the point of having them? They won’t be customers very long. Conversely, if you have a great team that love what they do, customers will be knocking down the door to work with you because you have a workforce that are energised, empowered and inspired to create great products, and will naturally find ways for that product to be used in the marketplace to impact and benefit the customer. Focus on employees, the rest will follow.