3 Ways to Ensure You Don’t Lose Customers When a Valuable Employee Leaves

How Do You Keep Your Customers From Leaving. Image by Dan Foy. Above Promotions Company Digital Marketing Public Relations Agency Tampa FL
How Do You Keep Your Customers From Leaving. Image by Dan Foy. Above Promotions Company Digital Marketing Public Relations Agency Tampa FL
How Do You Keep Your Customers From Leaving When Employees Quit. Image by Dan Foy. Above Promotions Company Digital Marketing Public Relations Agency Tampa FL

 

When things happen in 3’s these days, I think, “this could be a good topic to speak on.” Not only because the topic probably needs to be addressed or shared, but because let’s face it, people like reading about lists and love articles with numbers in the title. So this post is the result of recent observations, experience in helping brands over the years and the desire to ensure this article gets read.

Recently three different companies I patronize had a shift in key customer facing employees. These companies did the right things. They hired quality people, gave those people a chance to make an impact in their jobs and reaped the benefits of their great employees. And just like any great employee, they eventually need to spread their wings once they have reached a plateau or desire more responsibilities (money).

Out of these three companies, only one of them managed to survive with little to no impact after one of their key customer facing employees left. One of the companies is a media company who hosted popular online social media discussions. Another is a hotel in an unpopular area of town and the final a busy smoothie business. By the end of the story, you may be surprised as to which company has not missed a beat since their employee left.

But before I share which one business is still doing “ok” without their recently departed employee, we need to discuss a key thing many employers seem to miss. Employees not only impact the brand, but they are the brand. What your employees do or fail to do is a direct reflection of your company. So when an employee leaves, it is a big deal if you do not take the following three things into consideration as a process of hiring new employees.

1.) Hire only for the type that fits your brand. We love two-week notices, but let’s face it, sometimes it takes much longer to find a quality replacement. So what do you do if the end of the two weeks is near and the resumes and interviews are not living up to your hopes? You keep looking. Never get desperate and settle for just anyone as a replacement.

Here is the other key thing, if you have this principle from the beginning, if you have to rely on other employees to help share some of the work while you continue your search, your brand should not miss a beat. Where relying on other existing employees can go wrong (besides them being stretched thin) is if you did not hire the other employees for your brand’s characteristics.

2.) Ensure all employees match the culture of the brand. It is funny how people joke that Disney brainwashes their employees. On 99.99% of your visits to a Disney park, store, hotel or restaurant, you will find that each employee matches Disney’s magical image. This uniformity in delivering a great experience to customers comes from training, training and training. Once you have hired the right type, you will find the training will positively affect your new employees and their performance on the job will match the culture of the brand.

3.) Talk up the old employee and the new one at the same time. This tip is very helpful for businesses with long-term or repeat customers. Whenever an existing client asks where a former employee is at, answering “they left to go to another company” is not a satisfactory response. This leaves the customer wondering, “why?”, “wonder what is going on here?” In their mind, they loved the valuable employee and could end up thinking your business just will not be the same without them. Instead take the approach of saying, “Oh we miss Jane too, but we are so happy to have John in her place. He is so knowledgeable and efficient. He already feels a part of our happy family.” Note the difference in the responses. The latter builds excitement for the new employee and sheds little light on the former one.

Hopefully, you will never have to lose your star employee to another company, but if you take these marketing approaches with hiring and introducing new hires, your star will not be missed, at least by your customers. This is really what you are trying to accomplish. If you do not handle this difficult part of business properly, you will end up seeing customers exit with the former employees.

Don’t get me wrong. Turnover of some customers can be good in some instances. However, you really want to minimize losing good ones.

Oh and to answer inquiring minds as to which company successfully survived losing a star employee, it was the smoothie business. They hire employees who match their brand. I was there as she said her goodbyes and left her management duties behind. Immediately after wishing her the best, I ordered a smoothie and several others since that day. Her team members confirmed all of the people who loved to chat with her on their visits still chat with the other employees on theirs.

So, what do you think? Are these things you currently consider when hiring employees?

Comment below. Your feedback may be used for a future article.

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Above Promotions is a digital marketing and public relations agency with B2C clients that promote brands in the food, fashion and family entertainment industries. We build and protect brands by creating and executing digital resources to sell products or build positive public sentiment. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.
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Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation” which is sold on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other stores and a contributor to various media outlets.

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There’s More to Business Than Marketing…

Business Can Keep You Busy. Photo Courtesy of Piotr Bizior.
Business Can Keep You Busy. Photo Courtesy of Piotr Bizior.

Ha! You’re probably surprised to see a marketing company tell you, there’s more to business than marketing. However, this statement has to be made to help keep a complete picture for new business owners who keep up with this blog.

With that said, here are a few reminders of the importance of the other aspects of business and a few online resources for the newbies and some veterans.

Human Resources:

Happy employees = Happy customers. Despite what some employers think, their workers want to feel a part of something good. Treat them well and they will perform as though they had ownership in the business. Be concerned about their safety while at work. More than likely their safety concerns will be the ones you have for your customers as well. Train your team members as well. No one, whether on the clock or not, wants to look foolish for not being able to answer a question. When they do something great like remembering what you trained them to do or go above and beyond, recognizing them publicly can go a long way. Check out this free employee recognition software online by Sparcet at http://www.sparcet.com/.

Accounting:

Good financial record keeping can help with planning and executing day-to-day operations and spending money for investing in the future or to keep sales growing. Besides, how can you minimize expenses, set proper pricing and keep track of inventory if you don’t maintain good records. Knowing your cash flow is important to operating your business and will help you with planning and reducing waste. Do you have a good understanding of yours? Try out this Cash Flow Calculator thanks Entreprenuer.com and Palo Alto Software.  http://www.entrepreneur.com/calculators/cashflowcalculator.html.

Product Development:

Some of today’s great innovation takes place by attempting to evolve and improve on existing items. Items that are common to your industry or within your own business should be looked at on an annual/quarterly basis. From those reviews, you implement steps to improve them. However, do not simply wait until one magic day out of the year to begin to brainstorm. Create a vision board and add items to it throughout the year. Everything which hits the board may not get implemented right away or even by your company, but it is possible some of those you don’t use can prove to be handy to a customer. Consider using http://www.Evernote.com to bookmark websites or Google Docs to store other items for your brainstorming sessions.

Operations:

You need people to manage the daily tasks and ensure the things mentioned above can be carried out. People who work in operations become your problem solving go-to friends. Keep the avenue of communication open with them in order to help execute the vision and mission of the company. From shipping to internal technical support departments, the individuals within your operations business cannot be forgotten. They are the glue to keeping the ship running tight and the eyes to spot the holes in it.

As you know we love public relations and marketing, but they are not the only things you as a business owner can focus on. If you are wondering how can you do it all? Consider outsourcing some work so you can focus on growing a strong business. If we can be of help to you in this endeavor, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office.

 

Do you have any tips or resources you use to help run your business which are not marketing based? We would love to hear! Please share below.

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.

What Customers…Smell?

What Customers Smell From Your Employees Can Hurt Your Business. Above Promotions Company 2012.
What Customers Smell From Your Employees Can Hurt Your Business. Above Promotions Company 2012.
What Customers Smell From Your Employees Can Hurt Your Business. Above Promotions Company 2012.

 

Above Promotions Company provides Consumer Evaluations for clients who have brick and mortar or extensive online businesses.  This type of evaluation allows owners an opportunity to improve their brand’s image from the consumer’s view.  Whether you’re a retailer or restaurant owner, you can find out ways to improve your customers’ experience.

Having completed this evaluation in the past, we’ve found our customers were pleased with recommendations presented and found ways to quickly incorporate our detailed notes for improvement with ease.  Little did we know, until a recent trip to a large retailer, we failed to include an item on the evaluation.  Please note this checklist of areas and summary of observations is extensive.  However, our nose let us know we were on to a valuable area to evaluate.  This area could not only affect the nose, but also the bottom line.

What was this piece of missing data?  Employees who smell.  We have always included the personal appearance of the employees in the evaluation.  Surely, no customer wants to be greeted by someone who has on wrinkled and dirty clothes and hair.  And a clean, hydrated face goes a long way for a friendly face.  But in none of our past evaluations have we run across the “smelly employee”.

So as the recent trip to the retail giant proved as an area for them to improve in as well as update our evaluations, it sparked some great dialogue online between fellow business owners and shoppers.  To put it quite frankly, the conversation started as follows:

So what if you went into a store you frequent to make a purchase and the clerk had extreme body odor, to the point it made you hold your breath. 

As a person who appreciates the store/brand, would you:

 A.) take your items and breathe when you got outside

B.) tell the manager/store owner about the smell in the general area and let them investigate

C.) tell the clerk yourself?

Final question, would it matter to you if you did or did not know the store owner in determining your answer.

The responses varied between those who chimed in, but one thing rang true amongst all of them, a smelly worker at a business is a MAJOR turn off for a customer.  From not returning to avoiding the employee in future visits, participants gave many valid points to support their stance.

So what should the business owner or manager do?  We’re not human resource experts who can help to guide you through the fine line between law and managing not to humiliate the employee.  What we can say is, this smelly matter has to be addressed.  Just as you cannot ignore if your location smells, you cannot look pass an employee who does.  That uncomfortable conversation cannot be avoided as it directly affects customers and the brand’s image.  You must quickly, appropriately and professionally address the employee at the first occurrence to keep it from happening again.  You never know.  You may identify a personal issue beyond the smell you or your manager didn’t know previously.

In this economy, can you afford to lose a customer by not addressing the issue?

Would love to hear from you!  What would you do as an employer or a customer?

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace.  From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations.  Visit www.abovepromotions.com today.