To inspire, you must first be inspired
Most of us have had experiences with uninspired salespeople. Often they seem as if they’d rather be doing just about anything other than what they’re doing at that very moment. It negatively impacts the purchase experience, making customers feel as if they, too, would rather be anywhere other than interacting with that brand or product. The bottom line is if you’re not excited, don’t expect your customers to be excited.
So how do you inspire employees so they in turn will provide great customer experiences? There are many different ways…one of them being training. Do employees have the knowledge they need to get excited about the product or service they’re representing? Do they know the brand’s mission and their role in carrying it out? Immersive training opportunities for employees help drive knowledge and engagement.
Today, immersive learning can be achieved with technologies like Augmented Reality (AR). AR supports one of the key adult learning principles, which states that adults prefer self-directed, autonomous learning. Learners can use AR in real-world situations to reveal hidden features and essential information, at their own pace.
Other immersive learning techniques include gamification and microlearning. Applying game mechanics in training gives added incentive for employees to learn. Leaderboards, for example, are a powerful way to encourage learning by inspiring a spirit of competition among learners. Answering the challenge of ever-decreasing attention spans, microlearning provides training in short bursts, so learners can take training as they have available time. The training is more apt to stick when it’s bite-sized.
You can also inspire employees through internal engagement programs and events. Have a new product? New branding? It’s important to first engage employees, a company’s most important brand ambassadors. If employees aren’t passionate about or understand a product or brand, it’s difficult to get the external audience, customers, excited about it. Internal engagement can be achieved with an internal celebration before a product is released to the public or an ongoing campaign that builds awareness and excitement among employees.
If someone works in a manufacturing facility, they may never have an opportunity to interact with customers. How much more inspired would they be if they knew who is using the products they work so hard to make? Internal engagement events can include customers so employees can gain inspiration from learning more about the end user.
Differentiation is another way to inspire employees. Is there something special about a product or service that sets it apart from competitors? If so, those representing that product or delivering that service should know about it. Differentiators help build confidence among employees. It’s easier to get excited about something that has a unique selling benefit and then share that enthusiasm with others.
To be inspired, employees must also feel what they’re doing has value. Some companies have an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), a different version of the more well-known Customer Value Proposition (CVP). Rather than put the onus on the employee to be engaged on the job, it is the responsibility of the company when you have an EVP. While employee surveys are used to gauge needs and satisfaction, taking an EVP approach also means asking key questions at the leadership level that can reveal how to build value among employees—such as, “Are we transparent enough?” or “Is this a good company to work for?” Considering the EVP within a company can help build employee value and inspiration, as well as improve retention.
As customers, we’d all rather do business with people who are excited about what they’re doing. When a salesperson or company representative is inspired, then customers feel a greater motivation to purchase. On the flip side, it’s a hundred times more difficult to sell something if you don’t believe in what you’re selling. That’s why it’s so essential to first be inspired in order to inspire others.