29 Aug Why Engaging Employees Improves Your Customer’s Experience and Makes Your Business Successful
There is plenty of research to show engaging employees is good for business. With a plethora of online review sites and social media channels there are plenty of ways for customers to rant or rave about your business. Poor reviews are bad for business. But likewise, raving fans will make your business successful through repeat business and referrals.
I had a poor customer experience the other day. I thought it is worth sharing the circumstances and the business lessons to be learned.
My bad experience
One recent grey and wintery day, I found that two headlights on my car had blown. What are the chances? Requiring an immediate fix, I called the large dealership where I bought (and regularly service) the car.
The operator took my call, found my records and listened to my situation. She explained that their (large) workshop was fully booked and they would be unable to take my booking until the next day. I explained I was seeking a simple fix: a quick globe replacement and I would be on my way. If this did not solve the problem, I would book in the next day for a thorough investigation and service.
Following her process, she told me she would speak to the service manager and see what they could do. She came back and told me that it would be fine if I dropped in at 3 PM that afternoon. I was happy for about three seconds, until she said I may have to wait onsite for up to two hours until they could squeeze me in.
Faced with the prospect of wasting two unproductive hours in the dealership’s waiting room, I consulted Google. Google promptly recommended three local small businesses who could solve my problem.
So, I called a smaller auto electrical business in the city told them my situation. Their immediate response was “Sure, when can you bring it in?”.
I was on the doorstep in five minutes. The person who booked me in was a workshop employee. The business owner, Brett proceeded to change the globes, checked they worked, accepted my payment and I was on my way (after a quick chat about his small thriving business).
Small Business Leadership
Through their responsiveness and great customer service I have no hesitation in sharing my story – thanks to Brett and Daniel from Wright Street Mechanical and Auto-Electrical.
As I left the business, it was easy to understand why his workshop was busy and his staff were happy. I love to see small business owners being successful and I took away six key messages.
1. Fully engage your staff within your business
Employee engagement is built through meaningful work, a passion for the company, feeling good at work and attaching part of your identity to your work. When employees feel engaged, their bodies generate the happy hormones of oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. Happy and engaged employees give off the good vibes. They care more about your business and your customers, and that’s great for your business and your bottom line.
2. Lead the Way
Creating a great workplace culture always starts at the top. An employee’s relationship with their manager is one of the main influencers on whether they are happy at work. As the boss, you need to create opportunities for meaningful work, maintain good relationships with your employees and share your passion for the business. Like Brett at Wright Street Mechanical, work in partnership with your employees and never expect them to things you’re not prepared to do yourself.
3. Share your successes
How your business performs and how it is perceived makes a difference to engaged employees. They feel it reflects on them. Be sure to acknowledge your team’s contributions to your wins. A handwritten thank you card or a special mention at the staff meeting can go a long way to creating a sense of ownership and purpose for your employees.
4. Empower staff to make decisions
It is difficult for employees to deliver outstanding customer service if they aren’t empowered to make decisions. For example, the operator at the car dealership was not able to book in my job without approval from the service manager. She has the responsibility to manage customers but no authority over how or when they are serviced. No wonder this company failed to deliver! Imagine if she had found a 15 minute opening to quickly install the new globes in my car. I would be inclined to write a five star review and recommend them to a friend looking for a new car.
5.Build a can-do culture
Systems and processes are vital for the efficiency of your business. However, you don’t want your staff to have a ‘tick the box’ mentality where they behave like robots out of an obligation to ‘follow the rules’. There needs to be a balance between following rules and breaking the rules. A good rule of thumb to teach your staff is if it can be done and it’s good for the business, then it should be done.
6. Retain some flexibility
Running a business is a huge responsibility. As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure you have enough work to keep your staff busy. Many business owners fear gaps because they are concerned about lost revenue. But sometimes being too busy means you don’t have openings for new opportunities. It is a fine balance. It’s always a good idea to leave a small opening for new business opportunities.
Contact us on 1300 552 763 to discuss how Smart Advantage can help your business be more responsive.