Beyond Customer Service
In my previous article, I talked about adding value by focusing on customer service.
As I told you before, I don’t claim to be a business expert, however, from experience, I have seen some techniques that have proven effective.
A large portion of you Heartrepreneurs probably has employees working for you. You, as the owner, will always be the face of your business. Yet, have you ever considered those employees and how you treat them can have a huge impact on your business and your continued success?
I have seen this firsthand in a number of employment situations. Before I get to that, have any of you stopped to consider how the “Great Educator” here treats her employees?
She doesn’t talk about her office personnel, but I can tell you how they are treated.
Three months each year she spends at her home in Mexico. But she doesn’t have employees there…you say.
Yes she does, but she doesn’t call them employees or treat them as lower class.
Part of the expenses of that home include maids, waiters, chefs, receptionists. They are all her employees, albeit indirectly. Do you see her treating them as beneath her?
Not hardly. She calls them her friends.
They love her and are very loyal to her.
She takes pics with them and she has her trademark smile always, even when she is in pain. Because of that, they treat her like a goddess, that she is.
Guess what…Terri will always receive superior service and management of the property must also be treating those employees well or she would not continue to return.
Now I’ll get to what I have seen and done. That was to show you, it can be done at all levels of business.
I told you I used to be a self-employed carpenter. I also worked for a general contractor for some years. I was a job super…I was in charge of getting everything on the site being completed on time, per specs..no shortcuts for us, ensuring all subcontractors did their part, ensuring materials were on site, harassing suppliers if they weren’t, some paperwork…was part of the job.
At times, I had to do some of the work to train the laborers. I even taught the laborers how to swing a hammer…yup there is a correct way. I pushed them to do some dirty, rough work, but they begged the owner to work on my job-site since I would work with them…not just order them what to do.
The owner didn’t really like dealing with many customers because they kept pushing him for more than was included in the contract. At some job meetings, he would get so upset that he would turn to me and say… Don’t you dare do that! When he wasn’t looking I would make a gesture to the customer to calm down..leave it be.
At the end of the job, a walk-thru was done by us..the contractor..and the customer and their agents. The owner, my boss, would turn and look at me with a surprised look and say…you did it anyhow. Then he’d laugh because now the customer was going to sign the check with a smile, and we still made money.
I’m not advocating disrespect of authority, yet if you hire the right people and treat them properly..as a co-worker..give them room to do their job with a bit of flexibility all will come out with a smile on their face.
And your business will prosper.
Another variation I saw, in a couple of retail, employers. The general manager was top dog in that location, he was the company face. He was always available to the customers. However, he didn’t have to do much with the customers.
His focus was on keeping his staff happy and busy. The customers loved it. Wait, something’s missing. Not really.
He showed the staff he cared about them and was willing to work alongside them at times to get the job done. Everybody always got a second chance.
I could see that reflected in customers coming into the store. When he and his assistant managers ran that store, always concerned for the staff…customers came into the store with smiles on their faces. Staff was going to willingly help them and get to know a bit about them and their needs.
Customer satisfaction was approaching 90%.
When he transferred out and a new general manager came in…it all changed…quickly. The new manager let all staff know he was the boss and things were going to change. Staff was no longer happy to come to work.
Customers felt the change immediately.
From almost 90% customer satisfaction, the next month that number dropped to 35%.
The difference was the attitude of management/ownership.
Take time to think about your staff. Are they there only to collect a paycheck or do they enjoy their job and transfer that joy to your customers?
What?? Don’t you know how to change that?
How about calling one who seems to be struggling into your office and talk with them. Find out what’s happening. Maybe it’s home problems. You shouldn’t pry into things they don’t want to share, but let them know you care and are available to help.
Maybe you order in coffee, tea, juice, and some light foods and have a nonbusiness “business” meeting…just to talk with the focus on personal things..family, vacation, new house, etc.
I do believe you will be awesomely surprised at the moral change. And who really benefits?
Your employees feel great who carry that attitude to your customers who bring that to you in continued business, besides you and the staff feeling like you are one unit….not you and them.
Remember, without the dirt (soil) you won’t eat. Show that soil some respect.
Have a great day.
Love to All
Tim James is a friend to all. He enjoys learning and helping others.
Tim has had a life of experiences, providing a broad base of knowledge.
He enjoys learning and helping others.