As a leader, always remember that you are ultimately responsible for both the customer’s and your employee’s experience.
When leaving a late lunch with a good friend recently, here in Houston, Texas, we witnessed something that I personally had never seen before. The manager of the restaurant was loudly chewing out a waiter — right in front of customers!
My friend and I were both taken aback by this behavior. What level of service did the manager expect the waiter to deliver after receiving a public tongue lashing? This was a primary example of how “not” to create great customer experiences.
So, let’s identify a few ingredients for successfully managing others.
In the above mentioned example, the manager’s behavior was disrespectful to the waiter. If you lead a team, as most small business owners do (or will) you must be mindful to remember that employees are people and not machines. Heck, if you disrespect a machine by not recognizing its need for maintenance or adhering to proper operating procedures, it too will soon cause anguish via being less productive and eventually becoming non-productive! Humans are the same.
Strive to always preserve your team’s dignity as people. When it becomes necessary to issue a reprimand, do so in a manner which allows the employee to receive it. Stick to the facts of the situation. Never, ever reprimand an employee in front of peers or customers. Doing so is sure to result in a decreased level of service provided to customers.
Take Responsibility for Employee Success
It’s often been said that employees must be responsible for their success within an organization. In my opinion, managers are responsible for the success of those over whom they have authority. Being in this mindset is critical when those one is responsible for interacts directly with customers. Make sure that your management skills repertoire includes the ability to create skilled employees. Are they receiving adequate training? How much time are you spending with employees to insure they are able to successfully apply the training to their everyday tasks?
Now I can hear some small business owners say “I’m too busy to spend time with my employees.” My response is this: Take a look at what is keeping you busy. Are you busy putting out fires? Are you busy returning calls or visiting with upset or unhappy customers? Perhaps spending time with your employees might result in a decrease in your firefighting duties. These are opportunities to insure tasks are handled properly as well as to identify additional training needs. In addition, your employees will appreciate the personal attention!
Recognize and Reward Excellent Service
Make it a point to identify and celebrate the positive aspects of employee performance. Customers are the beneficiary when managers take the time to let employees know how they are positively contributing to the success of the company. When employees are recognized for their positive actions, high morale is usually not too far behind. An atmosphere of high morale results in customers receiving a high level of service.
Develop performance standards that encourage employees to provide great service to both external and internal customers. Make sure that speed is not the primary factor in your standards as this will surely encourage a lower quality of service received by customers. Take all of the factors that are important to customers into consideration when developing performance criteria. Doing so insures that you are rewarding employees for creating great customer experiences instead of meeting a speed goal. Make a big deal out of rewarding excellent customer service!
Always remember that you are ultimately responsible for both the customer’s and your employee’s experience. Think about communicating respectfully with employees, take responsibility for their success and recognize and reward excellent service. These three simple steps for employee management will certainly create great customer experiences.
Internationally known speaker, author and customer service expert Errol Allen provides practical advice and solutions garnered from over 25 years of hands – on experience. He possesses a multi-faceted perspective of organizations through the various positions held during his corporate tenure with companies such as ADT Security Systems, TCI Cablevision, The Houston Post, Excel Communications and GEICO Insurance. From the phone to the field, Errol has serviced customers himself and understands that a “systems” orientation is crucial to providing excellent customer service. Connect with @consult53 on Twitter.
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