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 is a necessary component to success.
Surely you can recall those experiences as a consumer that left you with a good, if not great, feeling. The value you received at these times endeared you to the companies involved, creating loyalty and repeat business. The money and time you spent was well worth it, and you walked away with a positive feeling.
Conversely — and likely more often — you’ve also engaged businesses that left you wishing you’d never walked through their doors. In most cases, this was 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 for customers to have was not nurtured in you.
As a business owner, can you really afford the negative effects on your customers, and therefore your bottom line, from the lack of a positive experience? The answer is a resounding no! Whether in strong or challenging economic environments, every customer counts, and 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 sets the pace.
When the owner of a business truly cares about people, they will endeavor to provide them — both team members and customers alike — with the best experience possible. These leaders understand that when their teams have good feelings about the companies for which they work, they impart those same good feelings to customers through positive attitudes and exceptional service. Leaders know their staffs will follow their leads and strive to give each and every customer a great experience.
The wise business owner — the one who’s a “leader,” not a “boss” — hires people with not only good skill sets, but also 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, each person is engaged in their work and part of an uplifting team that, together, consistently delivers positive experiences to 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 leads back to and affects the bottom line of your business. The end result will be 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 those team members who’re unable 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’re 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 let go. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the positive experience your company provides.
In the end, most team members and customers 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.
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, then take that next step. The success of your company and the happiness of everyone involved is, quite literally, on the line.