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Employee Relationships a Key to CRM

Strong customer relationships come in part from close attention to the employees who make a difference for the company, helping the customer relationship to endure and deepen. Companies focused on relationship marketing need to consider their human resources in a new light. Employees, like customers, should be singled out for the value they want and the value they can and will create. Those employees who matter most merit special treatment and individualized care, just as the company's best customers do. The incentive most companies have offered to date are reward and recognition, with the occasional promotion as part of both. But the relationship marketing oriented company does more:

  1. Employee-centric development plans, with each employee having a personal plan to help them along their own unique journey in a way that matters to them while creating shareholder value.
  2. Employee-centric databases, which go beyond traditional HRIS systems to describe the person, track their progress and quantify the value each creates for the firm.
  3. Processes, customers and roles matched to specific people, with the databases playing an important role in the matching and identification of skills upgrading potential.
  4. Employees with a broader scope of knowledge, able to function effectively in many areas.
  5. Technology used to make the employee more effective, not just more efficient, such as prompting questions for the bank teller in real time conversation with the customer.
  6. A culture and leadership geared to fostering trust and cohesiveness.
  7. Identification of the personality profile the company should ideally recruit. Hire for attitude, train people for skill. Attitudes cannot be learned. Yahoo! has a four point basis for hiring the talent that make opportunities happen: people skills, spheres of influence (sort of like talent magnets, each with an ability to attract good people), zoom in, zoom out (having relentless focus, with perspective), and passion (having the drive and will to do something, anything they consider valuable).

The most important link in creating customer value is the employee relationship, so measure the state of the relationship today (think more broadly than simply measuring employee satisfaction), set relationship quality targets and manage and measure progress. Have a plan to help the employee according to the perspectives and needs of each individual.

Now, deeper and more profitable customer relationships are at hand.