What can you learn from the Number 8 company on Fortune magazine’s 2012 “Best Companies to Work For” list?
A lot. We all can.
Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has placed on this top 100 list every year since the listing started in 1998. This is not by accident. REI is a role model for how a consistent, unwavering commitment to doing the right things can make a difference in the business results achieved.
So how does REI do it? Where do they begin?
Well, it starts by wanting customers to be so impressed by REI that they are compelled to tell their colleagues, friends, and family. The second step is to create that “perfect” experience for the external customers by beginning with the experience of their “internal customers” – their employees.
REI has discovered what all other world-class companies have learned: Financial success is a result of loyalty – which is the result of a superior service experience – which is only driven by a superior internal culture of service.
Engaging customers in an immersive, multi-sensory experience adds value that translates to loyalty and free word-of-mouth marketing by repeat customers. As an external customer, when you walk into an REI shop, you immediately notice that you are in a different world – a world that REI wants to immerse you in: the sounds and smells of the outdoors, hands-on rock climbing, trail mix samples – all intended to engage you better than their competition can.
To accomplish this, the employees (the internal customers) must be part of that experience as well. How does REI achieve this? The “on-stage” environment is supported by the “backstage” employee environment – full of helpful tools, innovative low/no cost benefits, and encouraging reminders about the difference they are making.
REI is just one example of how focusing on the entire customer experience can make all the difference for your customers…and your bottom line!