Part three in the series, "What's wrong with Customer Service?"
Caring for Employees- There’s always a lot of talk in this area, and usually far less action. You hear it from HR managers and read a lot of mission statements referring to “the employer of choice”. But, in many cases, it’s the same companies who are doing the head scratching when it comes to lost market share and increasing customer complaints. If you have service problems, the underlying issue and root cause usually begins with how you hire and look after your people. Strategically, it’s relatively easy to solve. Partner with the best talent available (see the Robin Williams Effect), and then bend over backwards to take care of them. In practice, it’s very difficult to pull this off. But, the rewards of hard work are exponential when it comes to selecting and retaining the best people. The intricacies of this subject are well covered by people much smarter than me, like Dr. Gerald Bell and his Selecting Achievers Program.
It’s easy to tell if you have a problem. Look at three things: 1) How hard is it to attract people to work with you?; 2) How quickly do people leave?; and, 3) Are you losing or gaining customers? In essence, if you care about your staff, it will show where the “rubber meets the road”.
When there are service issues, start with some serious reflection on how employees are treated, not on what they are doing wrong. My guess is that companies who are recognized for superior service truly put their people first, even ahead of their guests. On the contrary, if sales are suffering, the employees are probably doing so as well. See my earlier post for an example of a company doing a great job.