No matter what business you’re in, your employees will be seen as the face of your brand. Your staff is made up of people who are essentially real-life representations of the products and services you sell. This is why it’s important that all employees uphold the principles and standards you’ve set for your brand and business. The following are some of the ways your employees can make or break your business’ reputation.
First (And Second) Impressions
Marketers assume that buyers perform initial research before purchasing from specific companies. This means potential buyers are exposed to your brand and form opinions about it before interacting with representatives. Once a buyer reaches the point where they’re ready to interact with one of your employees, it’s up to that employee to validate their positive impression of your business.
If potential buyers have mostly positive impressions of your brand, then your employees should confirm this by behaving pleasantly and providing the best service possible. To encourage this behavior, educate your employees about your brand’s message and meaning. This way, your staff will be equipped to provide consistent evidence of the customer promise.
Brands are much more than a collection of products and a flashy logo—they portray your company’s attitude and philosophy. Your employees have the ability to give your brand a voice and a face. Don’t be afraid to encourage this. Set reasonable standards for how your employees dress, present themselves, and represent your brand while on the job. A staff of friendly, positive people directly translates to a friendly, positive brand. On the other hand, poorly-behaved employees can quickly besmirch your brand’s good name if enough customers come in contact with them.
Interactions with the Public
Employees who respond to customers in person, online, or via phone are on the front lines of your business. If you employ drivers, your brand’s reputation is on the line every time they hit the road. Most of the public will only ever interact with your customer-facing employees and drivers, which is why it’s important to encourage these employees to be on their best behavior at all times. A tech support representative who belittles callers or a driver who cuts off other motorists and speeds down freeways in a branded company vehicle are PR disasters waiting to happen. Try to keep all employee interactions with the public positive and respectful—while you can’t control what your employees do at all times, you can encourage them to put on a good face for customers. Use regular performance reviews and driver behavior monitoring to keep your finger on the pulse of public-facing employee behavior.
Employees enable a brand to interact with customers, potential customers, fans, and the public in general. They’re capable of building a narrative about products and services. This makes your brand memorable and worth talking about. You can train your team to capture customer stories and use customer photos (with permission) to show how ‘down-to-earth’ and relatable your brand is to the people.
Embody the Core Principles of Your Brand
Your employees should look like they enjoy their jobs and are ready to assist at any moment. They should look and act engaged at all times and present a helpful and friendly outward appearance. This means not ignoring your customers, discussing personal matters at work, and appearing angry or unapproachable. To ensure your employees uphold your principles and values, find ways to incorporate them into your onboarding processes and employee screening.
Truthfully, your employees are the bread and butter of your business. They interact with prospects and customers and deliver the impressions that will stick with them. Employees that are non-committal, misinformed, or unwilling to provide great service can cost you money and your brand’s reputation. Make sure you’re focusing on employee training and morale as an aspect of your brand. Failing to do so could result in a compromised reputation and lost profits.