How do your customers feel about your business?
No doubt you can recall some experiences as a consumer that left you with good, if not a great, feelings about a business. The value you received endeared you to the company, creating loyalty and repeat business. The money and time you spent was well worth it and you walked away with a positive, satisfied and happy feeling.
Conversely, you’ve probably also had experiences with businesses that left you wishing you’d never walked through their doors. This might have been due to the poor customer service you received or bad and uncaring attitudes. Even if your experience was a neutral one — not bad, but not great, either — the trust and loyalty so vital to endear in customers wasn’t nurtured in you.
With every transaction and interaction, a business evokes in its customers a good, neutral or bad feeling. The last two have no place in a thriving company, while the first is critical to achieving happiness and success.
As a business owner, you can’t afford the negative impact on your customers, and therefore your bottom line, from a bad experience, No matter the economic environment, every customer matters. And the unhappy customers tend to exert far greater effects on your success.
So where does the quality of the experience your customers receive start? If you answered at the top, with you the business owner, you’re correct. You’re the leader of your company. This means your team members take their cues for behavior and performance directly from you. Your attitude and behaviors set the standard in your organization.
When the owner of a business truly cares about people, they endeavor to provide team members and customers alike with the best experience possible. These leaders understand that when their teams feel good about the people and companies for which they work, they impart those same good feelings to patrons through positive attitudes and exceptional customer service. These leaders know their well-chosen and highly trained staffs will follow their lead and strive to give each and every customer a great experience.
The wisest business owners — those who “lead” rather than “boss” — hire people with good skill sets and, even more importantly, positive attitudes. In addition, these leaders create and maintain an uplifting and happy work environment that fosters the positive attitudes of their fellow team members. By doing so, engagement goes up and team members feel they’re part of a solid team that consistently delivers positive experiences to each and every customer.
In return for receiving a good feeling from your business, the customers you serve will be fiercely loyal to your brand. They’ll refer potential new customers and could even assist in negating any bad-mouthing you might experience. All of this affects the bottom line of your business. This will result in more sales and a feeling of accomplishment in providing a consistently high-quality experience.
No matter what you do, there will always be those team members who prove unable or unwilling to maintain a positive and caring attitude. In these cases, your best choice is to let these “bad apples” go. A negative team member is like a cancer within your organization, damaging the morale of your people, diminishing customer relations and ultimately hurting your business.
Undoubtedly, you’ll also encounter customers who are never satisfied no matter how well you serve them. They will always find something to complain about and some reason to bring negativity into your business. Toxic customers, just like negative and uncaring team members, must be let go. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the positive experience your company provides and subjecting team members to unjust treatment.
Give yourself and your business the gift of an honest self-appraisal. If you find your leadership style, work environment and customer service could benefit from the support of a qualified coaching professional, take that next step. The success of your company and happiness of everyone involved is on the line.
Most customers and team members have attitudes that contribute to positive two-way experiences. When you hire people with great attitudes and then supply them with training, support and a positive work environment, you’ve set the stage for exceptional customer service — the kind that leaves customers feeling great about your business.