Want to know the least understood secret to giving great service to your customers? Want to ensure that your customers are ecstatic and remain loyal to you? Want to have a competitive edge that no one can take away?
SECRET: Treat your employees better than you treat your customers.
Customer service STARTS with happy people. And the tone (possibility) for that is set by creating the right work environment (and the right boss environment). Hint, hint.
Answer these two questions:
- Whats wrong with your service?
- Whats wrong with your people?
Those answers could fill pages, and in some companies volumes. But there is always one ingredient that serves as a catalyst. The word is HAPPY.
Happy environment + happy boss + happy employees = happy customers. And viceversa.
The question is NOT what can we do to improve our service. No, no.
The BIG question is: What can we do to make a better workplace so that we set the stage for excellent service to take place? Now theres a question that hurts.
Here are the inside answers and HINTS to make their implementation “obvious, gotta do this now” based, rather than “budget” based. Budget cuts have done more to ruin morale in companies than any other single element in business.
So, here are the 8.5 ANSWERS to what it takes to deliver excellent service on the inside, so that your customers will receive excellent service when they call or visit one of your people:
- Hire happy people. HINT: You can teach mechanical, and you can teach systems but you aint got enough time to teach happy.
- Provide a supportive work atmosphere. HINT: Remove all threatening signs. Turn “NO” into a more gentle reminder. Let your policy book tell people an equal amount of what they CAN do. Post positive quotes around the office everyday. Got lots of cubicle aisles? Name them, put up street signs and banners.
- Evaluate rather than reprimand or criticize. HINT: tell me how to get better. Tell me what to do better. Dont tell me (or harp on) what I did wrong. Instead of concentrating on “writing someone up,” why not take the same energy and help them be more successful the next time.
- Let them tell you, too. HINT: Ask for regular feedback and reward the best idea of the month.
- Give bonuses for screwups. HINT: If you reward failure and mistakes, you encourage risk, and eliminate fear of failure at the same time.
- Provide lowcost “living,” “I care benefits.” HINT: Dental insurance, event tickets, AAA membership, SAMs Club (discount house) membership, Educational courses, a prepaid legal service. Things for the safety and “now enjoyment” of your team members.
- Make people feel valuable. HINT: Have an employee of the DAY.
- Give people a sense of self worth. HINT: Invest in business cards for EVERY person in the company. Make their titles fun. Create impressive name plaques for employment anniversaries and significant contributions.
- PARTY! HINT: Make the work environment more fun. Celebrate everything you can. Give others a chance to display and develop pride. Celebrate events, not just birthdays.
and the big secret
9.5 Encourage the success of each individual. HINT: Not just for a day. Every day. Encourage your employees the same way you encouraged your baby at 11 months to take her first step. (HINT: at work, you may want to drop the babytalk)
BIG HINT: Encourage you people all the way up to the day you fire them.
BIGGER HINT: Word of mouth is just as powerful from your employees as it is from your customers. If youre an employer, and you treat your customers great and your employees lousy, that mixed message is devastating at the cash register.
BIGGEST HINT: Employees go home and talk about their day with you, just like customers go home and talk about their purchases and experiences with you. And the internal customer is just as powerful as the external one.
And to make things run smoother on the inside, benchmark important (everyday) practices customer greetings, simple statements of fact (were closed, your item is backordered), transferring a caller, and handling an angry customer. These benchmarks create employee empowerment AND a consistent response to customers.
And for those of you saying, “We already tried that and it didnt workEdison tried the lightbulb 6,000 times and it didnt work think about that the next time you turn on the lights. Think about that the next time an employee brings an idea to your door that you are certain “wont work.”
Want to know what the internal customer really wants? I have developed a short list with a selfevaluation box, for you to measure where you are on the scale of happy (stay on the job longer) people. Go to www.gitomer.com, register if youre a first time user and enter CUSTOMER WANTS in the GitBit box.