With every transaction and interaction, a business gives its customers and the team members who serve them a good, neutral or bad feeling. The last two have no place in a thriving company, while the first constitutes a necessary component to happiness and success.
Surely you can recall experiences as a consumer that left you with a good, if not a great, feeling. The value you received at these times endeared you to these companies, fostering loyalty and repeat business. The money and time you spent was well worth it, and you walked away with a positive feeling.
Conversely, you’ve also engaged businesses that left you wishing you’d never walked through their doors. In most cases, 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 that’s so vital for customers to have was not nurtured in you.
As a business owner, you can’t afford the negative effects on your customers, and therefore your bottom line, from a lack of positive experiences. Whether in a strong or a challenging economic environment, every customer matters. The unhappy ones tend to have a far greater impact on your business success.
So where does the quality of the experience your customers receive start? That’s right, at the top, with you — the business owner. 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 pace.
When business owners truly care about people, they endeavor to provide customers and team members alike with the best experiences possible. These leaders understand that when their team feels good about the people and company they work for, they’ll impart those same good feelings to customers through a positive attitude and exceptional service. They know their staff will follow their lead and strive to give each and every customer a great experience.
The wise business owner — the one who’s a “leader” and not a “boss” — hires people with good skill sets and, even more importantly, positive attitudes. In addition, these leaders create and work to maintain an uplifting and happy work environment that fosters the positive attitudes of their fellow team members. By doing so, each person is engaged in their work as part of an uplifting team that, together, 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 new customers and could even help in negating any bad word of mouth you might experience. All of this leads back to and affects the bottom line of your business. The end result is more sales and a feeling of accomplishment in providing a consistently high-quality experience.
Without a doubt, and no matter what you do, there’ll always be team members who prove unable or unwilling to maintain a positive and caring attitude. In these cases, your best choice is to let them go. A negative team member is like a cancer within your organization, damaging the moral of your people, diminishing customer relations and ultimately hurting your business.
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. Toxic customers, just like negative and uncaring team members, must be dismissed. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the positive experience your company provides.
Give yourself and your business the gift of an honest self-appraisal. If you find your leadership style, current team, 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 quite literally on the line.
In the end, most customers and team members have attitudes that contribute to a positive two-way experience. 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.