Who in your organization has the most direct impact on how your customers perceive the company? This, of course, varies by industry, but it’s rarely ever your senior executives. No, it’s more likely the people on the lowest rungs of your career and compensation ladder.
I have the privilege and honour of contributing to the Compensation Café blog. Two of my fellow bloggers in the Café recently offered solid insight and advice, starting with Chuck Csizmar, founder and principal of CMC Compensation Group, on the importance of your front-line employees:
“Customers react first and foremost to the employee they’re dealing with, the one they’re facing, whether the transaction is financially significant or not. To the customer, that employee is your company, and these decision-makers will consider the treatment they receive a reflection on your company, for good or ill.
“It’s worth noting that the person who just caused you to take your business elsewhere is likely one of the lowest paid employees in that organization. Does that reward / impact relationship make sense to you? Perhaps the organization doesn’t recognize / reward (value) the impact that their employees can have on customer relations.”
Since these employees are critical to retention of valued customers, does that mean we should pay them more? Not necessarily. Pay scales and appropriate ranges for knowledge, skills, job functions, etc., exist for a reason.
But we do need to value employees more.
Another Café colleague, Dan Walter, president and CEO of Performensation, made the case quite well in a post discussing a recent man-hunt in the U.S. for a man who was pursuing and killing police officers and their families. Dan explained:
“First, it was announced that a $1,000,000 reward was being offered for information that would lead to his capture. You read that right, one million dollars. As compensation goes, this is not chump change. A day or two later, while I watched the evening news with non-compensation professional friends, it was announced that an additional $100,000 had been added to the reward. One of my friends said, ‘Why would an extra $100,000 convince someone to call when the first million didn’t?’”
Dan’s point is that more money, while an obvious solution, isn’t always the right answer. For many legitimate reasons, we often cannot or should not dramatically increase salaries or pay. But once we do have pay rates at appropriate levels, then we need to focus on how we value employees.
Valuing employees requires us to:
- Realize the critically important role those in customer-facing roles play.
- Look for ways to reinforce for these employees how and why their efforts are important.
- Value these contributions by recognizing and rewarding employees when they demonstrate excellent customer service and other key values of the organization
Of course, this “valuing” shouldn’t be limited to just those who interact with employees. Everyone, right down to the person who makes sure the offices or sales floor is clean and attractive, are critical to delivering a good customer experience.
Our focus should be on all employees to recognize and reward and, indeed, value¸ them for the difference they make for customers and, ultimately, the success of the company,
Do you feel valued in your organization?
About Derek Irvine
The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.