Loyalty. A loaded word for any leader, creating a culture of loyalty from both the customer AND the employee should be a priority. In my personal experience, this concept is especially important in the office technology industry.
Building a team in the office technology space hinges on a balance of tenure and go-getters. Retaining customers depends on a mix of service, product, and relationship, which is difficult to build with a lot of turnover within your own staff.
A tool we use within our own company to encourage company loyalty is a vibrant social responsibility program. What is social responsibility? It is simply when an organization supports a cause, either financially or through physical service.
We decided to be much more intentional in 2017 with our giving. Instead of supporting organizations here and there, we focused on what impacts our team, our customers, and our community. Here’s how we did it:
- We picked an organization to support for the year. In 2017, every equipment order warranted a donation in honor of the customer to a charity. We picked a charity that was headquartered locally, served a cause that was important to us, and was relatable to many. Our goal was to make 100 donations and we are on track to make well over that this year. The organization we chose to highlight provides resources for our armed forces, so in addition to the order donations, we wear red T-shirts every Friday to “Remember Everyone Deployed.” It’s a great feeling of camaraderie when you walk into a sea of red on Friday.
- We picked a few organizations to support regularly. There are a few diseases that have personally impacted our team. We regularly participate in activities — whether it is a 5K or a social media challenge, we are a part of that conversation. We even decided to include those causes as part of our brand. This has been where we get to show our team that we support them outside of our organizational goals the most. We’ve honored siblings, parents, children, and employees themselves as they’ve struggled through various diseases. Beyond any financial contribution, we are emotionally supporting them. When done genuinely and purposefully, it manifests a more powerful relationship between employer and employee that goes deeper than 9-5.
- We celebrated victories that positively impacted those drives with our staff and our customers. Social media has been a huge part of celebrating our customers’ donations. We not only notify our customers in private, but we acknowledge them in public. Our staff is also made very aware of the impact each sale is having. Part of our 2017 campaign includes donated teddy bears and our team spent a few hours together hand stuffing 100 bears. Our team bonded during the event and can also speak about our goal with firsthand experience.
- Be on the lookout for how others are involved. I am a huge proponent of social media. I connect with our customers regularly and watch what they post so I can stay involved with their lives. When I can support the causes they believe in, I am able to build a bond that goes beyond a piece of office technology and a loyalty for each other’s goals. For example, a customer of ours who handles much of the day-to-day copier logistics posted on LinkedIn that she was running the NY Marathon in honor of her ill father and the American Heart Association. We took the opportunity to donate to her team and is rooting her along the process. We now have something to connect over, even after the race is over.
One of the mottos that drives our daily actions is “giving is living.” We use it as a tool to bring a greater sense of purpose to our team and to our customers. In a world where our products can be viewed as a nuisance or something you have to have, isn’t it refreshing to build loyalty for a cause you all believe in?