With every interaction and transaction, a business gives customers a good, neutral or bad feeling. The last two have no place in a thriving operation. The first is a requisite of happiness and success.
Undoubtedly you’ve engaged businesses that left you wishing you’d never walked through their doors. It might have been the poor customer service you received, an inferior product or bad and uncaring attitudes. Even if your experience was a neutral one — neither bad nor great — the trust and loyalty so important to develop in customers wasn’t nurtured in you. What business can afford the consequences of bad experiences for its customers and, in turn, profitability? No matter the economic environment, customers matter. The unhappy ones tend to exert far greater effects on your reputation and success.
In all likelihood, you also can recall experiences as a customer that left you with a good, if not a great, feeling. The value you received during these interactions endeared you to these companies, fostering loyalty and repeat business. The time and money you spent was well worth it, and you walked away with a happy and satisfied feeling.
Where does the quality of the experiences your customers receive start? If you answered, at the top, with you, the owner, you’re right. You’re the leader of your company. That means your team members take their cues from you. Your attitudes and behaviors set the standard for your operation.
When business owners 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 people and companies for which they work, they’ll convey those same good feelings to customers through positive attitudes and exceptional customer service.
The wisest business owners of all — those who lead rather than boss — hire people with good skills and, even more important, good attitudes. These leaders create and maintain an uplifting and supportive work environment that fosters the positive attitudes of their team members. Engagement goes up and team members feel they’re part of efforts to deliver a positive experience to each customer.
You likely encounter team members who prove unable or unwilling to maintain positive and caring attitudes. In these instances, your best choice is to let these bad apples go. Negative team members are like a cancer within any organization, damaging the morale of the team, diminishing customer relations and ultimately harming the business.
You’ll also experience 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. 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 realize your leadership style, team, work environment or customer service could benefit from the assistance of a qualified coaching professional, take that next step and invest in your excellence. The stakes are no less important than the success of your company and happiness of everyone involved.
Most team members and customers have attitudes that contribute to positive, two-way experiences. When you hire people with great attitudes and provide them with training, support and an enjoyable work environment, you’ve set the stage for exceptional customer service — the kind that leaves customers feeling great about your business.
In return for the good feelings they receive from your business, the customers you serve will become fiercely loyal to your brand. They’ll refer new customers and could even help refute any negative comments about your operations. This will result in more sales and a feeling of accomplishment in providing a consistently high-quality experience.