A small business owner may not realize it, but their employees are constantly influencing customers even when they go home from work. Their behavior in this Internet connected world always reflects their company’s brand, image and reputation everywhere they go.
Have you every experienced any of these?
- A car with a branded logo on it cuts you off while you are driving. Alternately, you notice that a branded truck is parked in a designated handicap spot.
- A person wearing a shirt with their company logo on it (or in a business uniform) cuts in front of a long line at the grocery store or gets in an express lane with 25 items.
- A person on Twitter or Facebook posts something that is distasteful and you notice they work for a company that you patronize frequently.
Similarly, when a video surfaced one Christmas of a FedEx employee throwing a fragile computer package over a customer’s fence, how did that reflect on FedEx? Sure, the employee lost their job, but what was the effect on the company’s brand?
When consumers experience the acts of employees outside of work, they make them think more negatively about the company the person is associated with. Unfortunately, there is no separation for the consumer here. Companies often hire people who match their own corporate values, so it is easy for the consumer to make the leap from bad personal behavior to distrusting their employer. If a consumer sees a person being lazy, arrogant, or inconsiderate outside of work, they reason that they are probably this way when they are on the job. It reinforces a negative brand for the company the next time they think about buying from them.
What advice can you give employees? Remind them that their actions outside of work always reflect the company. This includes in person, by telephone or on social media. They always need to think of how their actions will match company values in almost everything they do. While this may seem uncomfortable or unfair to the employee, it is a stark reality.
They should ask themselves, what would my CEO or manager do? Does their behavior outside of work reflect the values of the company?
Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He is a small business motivational speaker, writer, and radio host. Barry can be found at www.barrymoltz.com