At the same time, Richard needs to learn a lesson from this episode. He bears some responsibility for letting himself and his company get into such a vulnerable position. It’s his job to make sure that customers receive the level of service they’ve been promised and feel loyal to the company, not just to the employees they interact with on a regular basis. If those employees are their exclusive contact with the company, the company’s hold on the customers will be tenuous at best. The owner needs to touch them at least once or twice a year and let them know the company is looking out for them. Had Richard done that, he would probably have figured out much sooner what his disloyal employees were up to, and he could have minimized the damage they caused. Granted, he can’t change the past. But at least he can avoid repeating it.
This letter/reply in INC Magazine (Street Smarts) was not something I would normally have read, but it caught my eye as I was sitting on the beach, under my umbrella, catching up on my reading!
The crux of the question was what to do when an employee steals not only our business idea but your staff AND your customers!
The answer is in the attached BUT the key to me was a simple one: If the business owner had been talking AND listening to his customers he would have had a heads up that something was going on under his nose! His staff were trashing his reputation in order to steal his clients!
So, if you regularly talk to your customers – really TALK – and listen, they can speak volumes. If you also watch your existing customer buying patterns and notice trends, you will see changes in the norm.
All of this is reason to reach out and touch and ask them what’s going up with their business and how can you help them.
This can speak volumes – and dollars!