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From Loyal Employees, Loyal Clients

MONDAY, AUGUST 18, 2014

By FMI


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Today’s business environment is very different from six years ago, when the pace of economic progress seemed unstoppable.

With fewer prospects for growth and expansion, today’s design and construction companies are forced to gather facts and research their markets—existing and potential customers, as well as competitors—more carefully than ever.

Failure to pay attention to changes in old markets or new opportunities could cost them their existence.

Understanding clients' behavior—what makes them tick, how they make decisions, how they buy work and so forth—has become a critical element in today’s business dealings.

Paving
© iStock / digi_guru

Motivated, trained employees can help your company pave the way for more satisfied, loyal clients.

That's particularly true in the design and construction industry, where people and relationships are key.

Going the Extra Mile

So what kind of employee will go the extra mile to find an answer for a client?

What kind of employee will take the trouble to walk a client through an issue, rather than pass him or her along the bureaucratic chain?

What kind of employee demonstrates intricate knowledge of the company’s strengths, expertise and history?

The answer is any employee, provided he or she is motivated about his or her role in the company.

Here are four ways to engage your employees, which will eventually result in a solid foundation for a successful customer loyalty program.

1. Equip your team with tools and training.

Creating learning opportunities for staff members at all stages of their careers will not only keep them flush with leading practices and occupational guidelines, but will encourage them to view their job as evolving—as a role that gives them something in return for their efforts.

Boredom or insecurity, rather than malice, is often the cause of dissatisfactory interactions with clients. By investing time in training your staff so that they are equipped to deal with client queries, you are creating an opportunity for them to contribute meaningfully to the success of the organization.

Skyscrapers
© iStock / JacobH

Failure to see changes in old markets or new opportunities could cost your company its existence.

This, in turn, can motivate them to perform in the future.

2. Enlist frontline leaders and mentors.

Giving employees a sense of ownership over their work at all levels can extend positive cultural behaviors out to the front lines.

While some employees will be motivated by their progress through the pipeline, others will be satisfied with their current position but seize on greater responsibility. Appointing shift leaders or rotating team organizers can bring into the fold employees who might have felt indifferent about their efforts.

Creating front-line leadership positions also opens the door to increased transparency and demonstrates the company's trust in them.

3. Break down the barriers between silos.

As sales employees and operations employees focus on doing their jobs well, they will likely not even think about the work that other departments perform.

But the face time an operations manager has with clients out in the field is invaluable for developing rapport and getting leads on other jobs.

Likewise, sales staffers may not understand the work their operations counterparts perform, when doing so could help them leverage greater knowledge in sales discussions.

Waterproofing
© iStock / Banks Photos

Make sure your employees are learning and growing, with new training and responsibilities.

Breaking down the barriers between siloed departments can facilitate the sharing of ideas and encourage cohesiveness among employees. Occasionally, it may even garner a business opportunity.

4. Incentivize positive behavior.

A touching speech by the CEO at a company meeting may go a long way toward hitting the reset button on employees long disengaged.

Likewise, when senior management acknowledges the good work of an employee, it may spark a desire by other employees to do well for the company. But creating an environment in which these cues are constantly encouraging employees to connect with their work will produce more consistent performance.

Building financial and non-financial incentives into an employee’s work and recognizing solid performances either on annual reviews or in more informal monthly shout-outs is crucial to getting employees to switch on.

Learn More

To read more on how to engage your employees to build loyal clients, download FMI's white paper, "Loyal Employees, Loyal Clients: Building Your Business The Old-Fashioned Way In The New Cut-Throat Market."

About the Authors

 

Randy Giggard is the managing director of FMI’s Market Information Group. Contact him at  919.785.9268 or via email.

Randi Giggard Sabine Hoover
FMI

Both monetary and non-monetary recognition are critical to employee motivation, say Randy Giggard and Sabine Hoover of FMI.

Sabine Hoover is a senior research consultant with FMI Corp. and has more than 10 years of applied research experience. Contact her at 303.398.7238 or via email. 

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

FMI

“Building Success” is written by professionals at FMI, the world’s largest provider of management consulting, investment banking, and research for the engineering and construction industry. FMI serves contractors, building materials and equipment producers,architects and engineers,owners and developers,and others across the industry. Author information is available at the bottom of each blog entry.

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Tagged categories: Business matters; Construction; FMI; Worker training; Workers

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