When connecting employees with customers, it's important to focus on ALL employees, not just those with customer contact who are usually the recipients of most customer-focused training.
So, how do you make this connection with non-contact employees?
A great example is Celestial Seasonings, the herbal tea company. They created a composite of their typical consumer and personified her -- she's known as "Tracy Jones." When staff consider product or packaging changes, they ask" What would Tracy Jones think? How will this affect her?"
Here are some other ways to link non-contact staff and customers:
- Visit customers -- send non-contact employees to accompany sales reps or business development staff when they call on customers. Let them see and hear "the voice of the customer" up close & personal.
- Ambassador program -- at one of the former Bell telecomm companies, non-sales employees volunteered to serve as "ambassadors." They visited customers on a quarterly basis to check in on how the customers were doing ... to let them know the company cared about them.
- Adopt-a-Customer -- a professional association with chapters across the country used a variation of this in their "adopt-a-member" program. Association headquarters staff (e.g., in accounting, membership, information services, the mail room, etc.) adopted chapters and were placed on their contact lists. Staff then received information on their adopted chapter's programs, membership changes, publicity, etc. ... to learn first-hand how the chapters served their association members. And the chapters benefited by having a direct contact at the headquarters office.
The key is to find ways to make a tangible connection to customers, so your employees (regardless of their level of contact) will see them as real people, not just faceless names or account numbers.
Your customers will also benefit by being able to put a face or voice on their contact with your organization.