Client = Employee

The employee was first

In the beginning there was an initiator-enthusiast — the creator and employee in one person. The starting point. He or she crafted an idea into reality. Eventually, clients came.

One of the illnesses which affect big organizations is a lack of an “initiatior’s spark” — the courage to make mistakes, the ease in experimenting and improving.
‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ — Thomas Edison.
We “play safe” by managing all types of risk humanity was able to invent. Sooner or later employees become a synonym for operational cost rather than potential.

Remember, the employee made it happen first.

The employee is the ambassador of your brand

Is your employee an ambassador of your product or service? Does he or she buy it, recommend it? Did you ask?

In social media days, every good word about our brand is priceless. It always has been, but 1) we started noticing it and 2) information is transferred and stored much more efficiently/effectively than ever before. A negative opinion can be blocked from spreading, if a conscious employee takes preventive measures. Since it’s physically impossible to take part in all of the online discussions that might concern us — if we have committed employees, let them speak on our behalf. Obviously, we need passionate employees to make that happen in the first place.

Some inspiring cases were described in a recent Social Media Today article by Augie Ray — Passion: The Defining Success Factor in the 21st Century?

“Frank Eliason is a passionate guy. Eighteen months ago he had some free time during a weekend, and rather than watching football he instead checked his email and monitored Twitter for what was being said about his employer, Comcast. Eliason famously intercepted tweets from tech blogger Michael Arrington, and rather than wait until Monday or pass along the problem to someone working, Eliason instead picked up the phone, called Arrington, and resolved both an individual’s technical problem and a potentially damaging PR problem for Comcast.”

Employees and clients communicate freely

The border between the inside of the organization and its environment is thin. Relations thrive in spite of artificial restrictions. In a world of change, a former client frequently becomes an employee. On the other hand, any employee may use social media tools to spread his or her dissatisfaction with the employer. Transparency is thus no longer an option. It’s a must. We are free to write policies, introduce additional security measures or… leverage what Web 2.0 has provided us with.

Ultimately it’s about respect

I believe a traditional employee-client dichotomy hasn’t got much practical sense in modern economy. Where information flows freely (a fact), signs of consistency and respect towards the organization’s employees have even more impact on its clients. Respect, like kindness, is contagious.

Further reading