If you look at lists of the best companies to work for, along with lists of companies that are top-rated for customer experience, you’ll find a lot of the same names across both lists.
Why? Because what employees feel inside the organization is felt by customers outside the organization. Personnel who enjoy their work, workplace, and work culture — their internal customer experience — try harder, achieve more, and stay with the company longer. Employees who are true believers make some of the best brand ambassadors, transmitting that belief, born of genuine, convincing inside knowledge, to customers and potential customers.
‘CRAVE’ is a mnemonic for five key concepts to keep in mind toward nurturing a positive internal customer experience:
Communication: People need to know what’s happening and what’s being done to keep them secure and happy. Even if the news is less than stellar, being informed will give people a sense of ownership and stability, negating poor morale from rumors and speculation.
Recognition: It’s easy to point out what employees do wrong, but we must remember to tell them what they get right. This is crucial, not just to reinforce the behavior and performance we want to see, but to give people the confidence to keep striving, learning, and growing.
Access: Employees need to be able to talk to their leaders when they have to. If an open-door policy isn’t always possible, clear, simple guidelines should be available to set up a conversation quickly. People need to feel that their opinions and feelings are heard and valued.
Vocabulary: Consider how you refer to your people, whether in corporate or casual communication. ‘Colleagues’ or ‘team members, for example, sound warm and friendly, while ‘workers’ or ‘rank-and-file’ can connote disrespect. Your terminology can make a difference.
Empowerment: This sounds simple but maybe the hardest to implement — give your people the skills, authority, and assurance to do their jobs well. It’s essentially a matter of training but also extends throughout your corporate culture, from HR to CSR and all the letters in between.
These concepts are now simple to remember, though possibly complicated to enact. But making them top-of-mind can help you build an organization that people crave working for — concretizing a brand that customers can believe in.