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Who is Your Most Important Customer

By Michael Randall

Who is your most important customer? The one who buys the most? How about the one who’s been the most loyal? Or perhaps the one who refers the most new customers to your business? How about the one who produces what you market?

Yeah, I’m talking about all those customers who can also be recognized as employees, staff, partners, or whatever term your company may choose. Those you instinctively rely on to deliver on daily basis. Here, let me show you an example of what I’m talking about…

There is example after example of successful companies who tip the scale toward the internal side with regards to the amount of attention, focus, and resources paid to staff — Zappos, Google, Amazon, etc. Companies like these are the employees. Everything about them celebrates employees. It’s not that they don’t care about the external customer, but they recognize and celebrate the fact that employees are more important than the customer.

Let me put this another way, if the customer suddenly stopped coming in, how would your business fare? My guess is not very well.

Here are some tips for developing a focused employee brand strategy for treating your internal customers the same as your paying customers:

  • Have a plan. Your marketing plan recognizes different audiences/customers types, so should your internal plan — leadership, managers, and staff.
  • Treat them like they’re your best customer…because, they are. You do not thank your best paying, most loyal customers with a cheap trinket, so why do that with your employees?
  • Communicate with a purpose. The reason for communicating to employees is not to keep people in the loop, it’s to inspire, engage, motivate, and reinforce why employees should work here.
  • Recognize key contributors. Good employees, those worth keeping around, don’t like to tout themselves, so do it for them.
  • Make it worth their time. The communication should be worth skipping something else for and sharing with those who don’t have regular access to it. Otherwise, it’s not worth their time.