With every interaction and transaction, a business gives its customers a good, neutral or bad feeling. The last two have no place in a thriving company. The first is the key to happiness and success.
You probably recall some experiences as a consumer that left you with a good, if not a great, feeling. The money and time you spent was well worth it, and you walked away with a positive, satisfied and happy feeling. The value you received during these interactions with companies engendered loyalty and repeat business.
You’ve also likely engaged businesses that left you wishing you’d never walked through their doors. You received poor customer service, purchased an inferior product or encountered uncaring or bad attitudes. Even if your experience was a neutral one — not bad, but not great either — the trust and loyalty so vital to nurture in customers wasn’t nurtured in you.
What business can afford the negative effects on its customers, and therefore bottom line, from bad experiences? No matter the economic environment, customers matter. And the unhappy ones tend to exert far greater negative effects on your reputation and business success.
Where does the quality of the experiences 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 from you. Your attitude and behaviors set the standard for your organization.
When the owners of a business truly care about people, they endeavor to provide team members and customers alike the best experiences possible. These leaders understand that when their teams feel good about the companies they work for, they impart those good feelings to customers 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 skills and, even more importantly, caring and positive attitudes. In addition, these leaders create and maintain uplifting and supportive work environments that foster the positive attitudes of their fellow team members. By doing so, engagement goes up and team members feel they’re part of a team that consistently delivers a positive experience to each customer.
Along the road of business, you’ll encounter team members who prove unable or unwilling maintain positive and caring attitudes. In these cases, your best choice is to let these bad apples go. Negative team members are like a cancer within any organization, damaging the moral of the teams, diminishing customer relations and ultimately hurting businesses.
You’ll also encounter customers who are never satisfied no matter how well you serve them. They’ll always find something to complain about and some reason to bring negativity into your business. Just like negative and uncaring team members, toxic customers must be let go. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the positive experience your company provides and subjecting your team members to unjust treatment.
Give yourself and your business the gift of an honest self-appraisal. If you find your leadership style, team, work environment or customer service could benefit from the support of a qualified coaching professional, take the next step and invest in your excellence. The success of your company and happiness of everyone involved is on the line.
Most team members and customers 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.
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 might even help in countering any aspersions you’re experiencing.
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.