When it comes to increasing sales and winning new customers, the focus is typically on sales and marketing to generate leads, nurture prospects and ultimately make the close. But within your organization lies a powerful yet often overlooked ally in your mission to win new customers — your employee’s feedback.
Although employee feedback is traditionally confined to the context of HR and performance appraisals, the fact is every single day outside of performance conversations; your employees are gathering mission-critical insight and intelligence. Identifying ways to effectively collect and action that feedback so it improves your organization’s communication, your products, your systems, and every single area that touches prospects can create a major competitive advantage in a tight marketplace.
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#1: Identify Problems Before They Trickle Down to Customers
No one is more aware of potential problems in the sales or onboarding process than your employees that handle these tasks. Instead of simply focusing on getting people in the door, look at how feedback can be used to stop systems failures and other issues before they can start. Employees in these roles should be given regular, ongoing opportunities to talk about what’s working and what’s not working so issues can be handled before they become a sticking point with a prospect or brand new customer.
For example, you may have a sales rep who’s really good at listening to customer needs who has heard from three customers that they aren’t sure about your company because while they’d prefer to work with your company, your biggest competitor is more flexible on pricing. Creating an open dialogue where that feedback is assessed and considered can make the difference between closing those deals with a creative solution or losing revenue.
#2: Employee Feedback Helps Improve Product or Services
If you want to build a better mousetrap, start with employee feedback. Employees in key areas of your organization build strong working relationships with your current clients so they’re able to gather knowledge that your C-suite may never get to hear. This type of employee feedback can be a gold-mine when it comes to improving products or services.
With a product-based company, collecting feedback from your services and support team can help establish trends in terms of customer issues, requests and more. This information in turn can inform minor or major upgrades so your product is continuously improving. For services, soliciting feedback from account managers or other frontline employees can also identify opportunities to improve current services or introduce new ones.
#3 Consistent Core Values Help Create Customer Trust
Creating a culture where employee feedback is the norm helps set the bar in terms of expectations of employee performance, including how customers are treated and managed on a day-to-day basis. There’s a reason there’s such a strong link between employee engagement and corporate performance — it’s because things simply work better when the core values of the company are lived by employees every single day.
Prospective customers are likely to pay careful attention to how employees behave in each interaction with them. When that experience is consistent with everyone they deal with in the sales process, it helps to create customer trust and encourages them to believe that what they see is what they get, making your product or service a safe investment.
#4 Customer Service is Everyone’s Job
Gathering employee feedback should not be limited to specific areas of the company. All employees should be included in these programs, and the programs should include performance assessments, 360 reviews and even surveys to provide input into corporate performance. Creating a disciplined approach to employee feedback helps to reinforce the fact that every employee, no matter what their title or role, is part of the customer-service team. This approach provides a solid foundation for employees to share ideas for improvements or innovation, no matter where they may work in the company. That feedback could be the very thing that helps you land your company’s biggest client ever in the future.
#5 Frontline Employees See Areas of Customer Risk First
If you really want to know what’s going on with your customers, ask the person who has the most contact with them. It’s easy sometimes to skip over the person that spends the most time with the client and assume we know how things are going.
For key roles, a regular customer feedback meeting should be a priority so that areas of customer risk can be identified. Without creating a consistent practice of gathering this feedback, the feedback can get lost. This may result in deals falling through, long-term clients suddenly terminating and more. Making a point of reading the warning signs helps ensure new customers are signing and happy at all stages of their client lifecycle.
#6 Employee Feedback Breeds Employee Buy-In
If you want to win more clients, you need to make sure that whoever is selling to that customer is 100% behind what they are selling. Your customers are savvy enough to know when someone doesn’t believe what they are saying or their body language just doesn’t line up. The best way to ensure that employees believe in the offering is to ensure they have a clear picture of how the work they do matters to the organization and that they have the opportunity to provide feedback on a continuing basis.
#7 Engaged Employees are Magnetic
Have you ever walked into a store where the employees are engaged, excited and even having fun? It instantly changes how you feel and how much time you want to spend. People prefer to do business with people they actually like, so if you’re employees are engaged and happy, that will make a noticeable difference to possible customers. Happy, engaged employees are magnetic, and employee feedback offers a powerful way to drive your organization’s employee engagement.
If you want to win more customers, look beyond the obvious outbound marketing and sales strategies and look at how you can improve your employee feedback. Success leaves clues and your employees are the best ones to tell you what you need to do to bring more happy customers in the door.
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