Your Employees Will Treat Your Customers The Way They Themselves Are Treated
Recently, I had the opportunity to fly with an airline that had once been my very favorite, but because of my different itineraries and their routes, I hadn't flown them in more than a year. I was taken aback by nearly surly service at the gate, apathetic flight attendants and an overall feeling of "who cares?" I then realized that the airline in question had had a series of cutbacks as part of a proposed merger and what I was seeing was probably a reflection of the way these employees were feeling about how they felt the airline treated them.
"I was taken aback by nearly surly service"Did you ever stop and think about that? That how you treat your people (and how they feel they are being treated) reflects how they interact with your customers.
Employee satisfactionThink about places where you shop, retailers known for their unbelievable customer service - maybe it's a local store, or maybe it's a national chain like Lowe's or an online store like Zappo's. All of them will have one thing in common. Their employees provided you with an unforgettable experience, usually with a smile.
They were happy while doing their job. My guess is if you asked them, they would tell you that it was one of the best places they ever worked. They reflect how their company treated them.
And how about bad experiences? I would bet you that in a majority of them, it wasn't the first time with that merchant and, if it was a national retailer, they are probably operating under the cloud of potential bankruptcy. These employees are potentially feeling the angst of potentially losing their job, to say nothing of possibly being asked to work more hours with less support.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you and your employees all have to hold hands and sing Kumbaya around the campfire, but that you understand that all employees want to be valued and respected. That doesn't mean no reprimands when they fall short of 100% effort or violate a company rule or policy.
But it does mean providing them the training and the tools to do their job, showing them an appreciation for their daily effort and recognizing when they go "above and beyond."
I'm a small business owner, how do I create employee satisfaction?In a small business, where resources are limited and employees, often, have to wear multiple hats, and compensation is, just as often, less than the market, this can be a real challenge. But so long as they feel valued and respected, both as people and employees, they impart on to your customers a sense of pride and service.
Keep them posted on the company's progress with frequent company-wide meetings (even there are only five of you) and make sure that communication lines are wide open inside the business. Help them understand the importance of their role in the company's success. Listen to their ideas and encourage them to find new ways to improve processes for their particular function and the business.
In essence, you want to operate under the premise that says "we treat our employees the way we want our customers treated," because it will inevitably translate...directly!
"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!