Your staff is part of your public relations effort

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Mark G. Auerbach

When you operate a small business, you may outsource your public relations and marketing to an agency. You may have an in-house person, or maybe you do it yourself. No matter how good your marketing and public relations effort, your employees and staff are a major part of your ongoing public relations campaign.

We all know about good customer service. One bad experience makes a customer look elsewhere. It can be the person who answers the phone. It can be the receptionist at the front entrance. It can be the tech support person who helps someone with an online transaction. The hospitality industry knows this, and airlines, hotels, resorts, amusement parks and theatres constantly train their employees to better understand the company’s products and services. They train their customer service people to remain polite, cool-headed and cordial, even when they’re in a smoldering situation.


Employees with good public relations skills are your ambassadors to your public.

Make sure your employees know your company mission, your products and your services. Good restaurants make sure their servers have tasted every item on the menu, and that their wine stewards can help a diner pair a wine with a plate. When your people understand your product or service, they can be enthusiastic. Update them on new products and services. Solicit their feedback. Acknowledge their accomplishments. When they’re “invested” in your company’s culture, they’re better representatives.

Choose one person on staff who likes problem solving and customer interaction to be the person who questions and complaints are addressed to, although all employees should be able to assist customers and have the empowerment to solve basic problems. Likewise, have one staff person be the point person for media inquiries. It takes the pressure off the staff to have to figure out the right response, and the worry about wrong responses away from those in charge. And, people who really like dealing with people are the best ambassadors possible.

Encourage and reward

Encourage your team’s input, and when they make a positive contribution, acknowledge it. One area business, Dean’s Beans, a coffee roaster in Orange, Massachusetts, is very much committed to community service and involvement. On Giving Tuesday, each employee was given $100 to donate to a non-profit of their choosing. According to their Facebook post, most of the staff had been there for years, so it was an opportunity for management to learn more about their team and the organizations they chose as recipients of the company’s generosity.

Reward successful public relations work coming from your ambassadors. Little rewards make a big difference. I’ve used gift cards, a free lunch, an hour off here and there, and small tokens to thank my ambassadors. And, when one really goes above and beyond, I try to give them something memorable to show my appreciation.

Good first responders and caring and concerned listeners who enhance your company’s community network make your company stand out. Every employee or staff member is your opportunity to build that bridge.


Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn. Mark also produces ArtsBeat in print in The Westfield News, on radio for Pioneer Valley Radio and on TV and radio on WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. His new series, On The Mark, premiered in October.

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