Got Service? How Your Employees Impact the Customer Experience and Loyalty

Got Service? How Your Employees Impact the Customer Experience and Loyalty

Each and every person in your organization has an impact on your customer experience and therefore your bottom line. Even those employees who don’t work on the front lines directly with your customers are serving your employees internally and providing them with the means necessary to perform their job.

“Customers don’t interact with an organization. They interact with you and your co-workers. It is that experience whether they buy or not, whether they become loyal customers or a lost opportunity.” – Peter Psichogios

Your Customer Service if Only as Great as Your Internal Service

It takes great internal service cooperation to provide seamless, flexible, hassle-free customer service. Whatever is happening on the inside of a company can be felt on the outside by the customers. If your talent is not fast, flexible and hassle-free with each other, how can they behave differently for your customers?

There are many ways that your internal employees might help serve your front-line employees to improve the customer experience. Leaders can serve your customers by providing front-line employees with the training, skills and competencies needed to do their best work. They can also remove obstacles that get in the way of providing the best experience to your customers.

Other internal colleagues might be involved in supporting those front-line workers with administrative work, stocking products, accounting and many other tasks that all contribute to a smooth customer experience. Read more about why if Your Internal Sucks, Your External Experience is Doomed.

Earning Customer Loyalty

Earning your customers’ loyalty starts with creating exceptional customer experiences at every touch point. The first step is having great internal service cooperation, and providing your employees with learning and development to enable them to better serve your customers as discussed above.

Earning customer loyalty is simple, but it’s not always easy. It takes dedication from your leaders, continuous effort from employees, and a commitment from your organization to align your organization on all levels.

Here are a few simple things you can do to earn your customer’s loyalty:

  • · Personalize your interactions and treat each customer uniquely as they want to be treated.
  • · Be authentic with every customer.
  • · Be friendly!
  • · Communicate clearly and effectively to set realistic expectations.
  • · Exceed customer expectations every time. Always go the extra mile for your customers!
  • · Honor your commitments. Follow through and do what you say you will.
  • · Provide them with fast, hassle-free service.
  • · Reward them with incentives to return and recommend!

It takes commitment and focus to understand that each interaction with your customers is an opportunity to create delight. But when you create exceptional experiences at every touch point, you will earn decades of loyalty.

EGOless Leadership: Serve Your Way to Success

EGOless Leadership: Serve Your Way to Success

Gone are the days where leaders can rule with an iron fist and expect their employee to respond with their loyalty and productivity. Talent nowadays feel a lot less like they owe their organizations something, when they don’t get something in return. Talent want to feel empowered and enabled to do a good job to the best of their ability. They want to feel like they have the skills and competencies to help their colleagues and customers.

Leave Your Ego at the Door

What would it look like in your organization if your leaders were egoless? Think about it, if you’re a leader who leaves their ego at the door, you’re going to have a more pleasant, less confrontational work environment. You’re going to have better, more open communication because your talent won’t be afraid to tell you about problems that get in the way of their service. You’re going to have more employee engagement because they want to serve a leader who cares about them and not just him/herself.

There are many reason why being an egoless leader will have benefits for your organization and it’s bottom line including, increased productivity, better safety, improved morale, and improved word of mouth from both your employees and customers.

How to Serve Your Way to Success

If you are truly committed to leaving your ego at the door and serving your way to success in business, there are some helpful things that will help you to get there:

Focus on your employees needs and wants. Get to know your people beyond the job they do and find out what motivates them. Do they want opportunities to learn and grow in a certain position? Provide them with development and they will be more engaged, energized and committed to your company’s success.

Recognize your employees for a job well done. This is not a one size fits all approach, and you absolutely cannot pollute the winner’s circle with losers. But recognize each individual employee for their personal contribution to your company’s success. When you do so, others will see these behaviors being recognized and will follow suit. Plus, it reinforces a positive, reward driven work environment where your employees will be acknowledged for doing good work.

Provide one-on-one coaching to see employees excel. If you give your employees personalized feedback and direction, you will be able to play upon their strengths and improve their weaknesses. It’s important to communicate openly and effectively with them so that they know what your expectations are and how they can meet and exceed them.

Discussion

These are just a few ways that being an egoless leader will help you serve your way to success.

  • Do you have any examples of an egoless leader in your organization? How are their interactions with employees different than other leaders?
  • What are some ways that you have seen improvement in your employees by being an egoless leader?
  • Do you have any guidelines you follow for being an egoless leader? Please share in the comments below!
Hey Leaders, Have You Experienced Your Experiences?

Hey Leaders, Have You Experienced Your Experiences?

If you’re a leader and you want to improve your employee and customer experience drastically, you should you experience your experience. What I mean by this is, you should experience working on the front lines with your employees. When you do this you not only talk the talk, but you walk the walk. When you lead from the front lines and are on the ground walking around with your employees you will be able to see first-hand what the experience is like for your front-line employees. This will allow you to then address problems and obstacles in the way of your internal service cooperation, which will in turn improve your external experience for your customers! This is a great example of what it is to be a servant leader (Read more about how to be a Servant Leader here).

Lead from the Front Lines

If you experience working on the front lines with your employees, you will build rapport, earn their trust, and receive their discretionary energy and engagement. Being a servant leader and getting in the trenches with them shows that you are dedicated to making their workplace the best environment possible, which will make them want to stay longer, work harder, and have positive things to say about your organization.

What Would Elon Do?

You may have recently read the statement issued by Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, whereby he addresses safety concerns for the Tesla front line after reports came out that injuries were about 30% higher than the industry average.

“No words can express how much I care about your safety and wellbeing. It breaks my heart when someone is injured building cars and trying their best to make Tesla successful.

Going forward, I’ve asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform.

This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we lead from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team’s safety above their own.” (Electrek June 2 2017)

This email is a great example of a servant leader who is dedicated to making the workplace a safe and positive environment for his employees. It is not enough for your product to be exceptional, your experience needs to be exceptional as well. The customer experience starts from the inside out with your employees.

Discussion

What do you think about Elon’s email above?
Do you have any examples of problems you have solved by experiencing your experience and working the front lines?

Share your experiences of servant leadership in the comments below!

A Guide to Being a Servant Leader

A Guide to Being a Servant Leader

The most successful leaders focus on developing their team and enabling their people to be great. This means giving your employees learning and development opportunities and removing obstacles that get in the way of them providing great service for their colleagues and customers.

When you become a servant leader and focus on removing obstacles and developing your team to be extraordinary, your employees will give you their discretionary energy, motivation and engagement, which translates into better service both internally and externally.

Servant leaders believe that their talent would rather be awesome than ordinary. They understand that their primary role is to help their team excel with their customers, and that they won’t get there by micromanaging or being a bosshole. Read more about How to Identify a Bosshole here.

Here are a few guidelines you can follow to become a Servant Leader:

1.Focus on developing your employees.  Give your employees opportunities to learn and grow within your organization.  This will give them skills and competencies to excel with their colleagues and customers.  It will also show them that you believe in them and their future at the organization, which will motivate them to give you their energy in return.

2.Recognize and reward your employees. When you recognize your employees for a job well done, it reinforces a culture of appreciation.  Other employees will see their peers being recognized and will strive to do better to meet and exceed the expectations of their leaders and colleagues.

3.Provide direction and guidance.  It is important that you provide clear guidelines, expectations and direction for your employees so they know what is expected of them.  When they struggle with a project, be sure to give them opportunities to learn and improve by offering a helping hand, advice and guidance in how to best execute the task.

4.Get to know employees beyond the job.  When you get to know your beyond just their role in your organization, you will know what motivates them to excel, and you will be able to better personalize their experience and the recognition you give them for a job well done.

5.Be flexible with policies. Give employees the opportunity to make good decisions within the scope of your company values. It’s good to examine policies and procedures that are outdated and unnecessary.  For example, is a strict dress code holding your organization back from having a more casual culture? Could you offer flex time or work from home accommodations for employees who care for children or aging parents?

6.Communicate openly and effectively with your employees. When you make communication a priority in your organization your employees will feel valued and feel like their voice is being heard.  When you let them know what is going on in the organization they will be more dedicated to its future growth.

Servant leaders experience much higher levels of engagement and energy from their employees.  Plus, they are twice as likely to stay with an organization when they feel their leaders develop and recognize them.

When it comes to Growth, the Coach can’t want it more than the Player

When it comes to Growth, the Coach can’t want it more than the Player

You know the old adage, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?  Well the same goes for your employees and their growth and development.

As a senior leader, it is your job to provide opportunities for your employees to learn and grow, and to make their learning accessible, actionable and accountable.  However, if your employee is not engaged by your company and culture, then you can’t force them to learn and grow. Read more about how to engage your employees with Servant Leadership.

Here are a couple things you can ask yourself and examine to have better engagement in your organization:

  1. Did it start with your hiring practices?  I think today, more than ever, it is critical to hire employees for their interpersonal skills over their technical ones.  As long as they have basic abilities, many technical skills can be trained.  However, many interpersonal skills such as friendliness, fun, and authenticity cannot be trained, they are often ingrained in the person from an early age and they’ve either got it or they don’t.  Perhaps this person is just not a good cultural fit for your organization.
  2. Are they not engaged by your organization’s culture? This is where you can step in and re-examine your culture and how you can enhance it to make a better overall experience for your employees.  This might include offering better benefits, examining outdated policies and procedures (e.g. strict dress codes, flex time, and vacation policies) and whether they feel recognized and valued in your organization.
  3. Are you recognizing and rewarding them for their exceptional performance? If your employees were consistently providing exceptional performance but you did not recognize them for it, why would they even try to grow and give you their discretionary energy and motivation.  You can enhance this experience for your employees with both formal and informal rewards and recognition.  The best organizations recognize their employees at every touch point.  Non-monetary recognition is also a big motivator for employees, and can include acknowledging an employee at a team meeting in front of their peers, sending them a personalized thank you email or sending them a formal award certificate for going above and beyond their duties.  You can also recognize them with monetary rewards such as spot cards, bonuses, incentives, and points in their employee performance portal that they can redeem for merchandise and gift cards.

There is a critical overlap between employee engagement and learning development.  When your talent are engaged with recognition and enabled with skills and competencies from learning, they will be able to provide better service internally with their colleagues and externally with your customers, which will result in customers (and employees) who stay longer, buy more and positively refer others. Watch this quick video below for more information on the Intersection of Employee Engagement and Learning.

Why our Society Sucks at Engagement

Why our Society Sucks at Engagement

Companies are continuously offering surface level forms of employee engagement to attract and motivate their employees.  The problem is, that their effort is half assed.   Organizations feel the obligation to do something for their employees, but their intentions are not heartfelt.

In order to not suck at engagement your intentions must align with your actions. Leaders who have the mentality of service and being a servant to their employees are the ones who will often find the most success with employee engagement (and also profitability).  Read more about the benefits of Servant Leadership here.

When it comes to engagement, intention is so important.  Your senior leaders must have good intentions and care about their employees in order to have engagement that is effective and creates significant change.  They must care about the betterment of their employees and creating an environment that they can continuously learn and grow in. Plus when you invest in your employee’s development with learning and growth opportunities this shows them that your care about their future at the company and are willing to invest in their future.

Part of this positive engagement isn’t using and abusing employees and pushing them to the brink of exhaustion. It’s checking in and making sure that your employees have a good work/life balance and manageable workload. 

Unfortunately many organizations and our society in general often focuses on measuring success by putting in long hours, working to the bone and making tons of profit.  But I can assure you that if profits are what you’re after, a lack of positive intention and engagement in your organization will tank your potential profits.

When you have good intentions with your engagement program it creates a trickle down effect.  The senior leaders role is to motivate and support their talent, their engaged employees will be happier, more productive and provide better service internally with colleagues and externally with customers, and your customers will stay longer, buy more and positively refer others based on their exceptional experiences with your organization.  Makes sense, right?

For more information about how to create this kind of meaningful engagement in your organization, get in touch for a complimentary consultation.

The Ego Based Leader vs. The Servant Leader

The Ego Based Leader vs. The Servant Leader

Employees are drawn to your company because of the perks, culture and reputation, but they will stay because of the leadership.

The most successful leaders understand that their primary role is to enable their people to be great. This means developing your people and removing obstacles for them to serve customers in a fast, friendly, hassle-free way. Watch this quick video about how to become a Chief Obstacle Remover.

I have worked with leaders to help them become more effective for the past 30 years in over 70 countries and 16 languages. What I have learned through these experiences is that the world is filled with two types of leaders.

The first type of leader is the Servant Leader. Servant Leaders, remove obstacles that get in the way of their employees doing their best work. They develop their team so they give more because they want to, and that discretionary energy is focused on delighting their customers.

These leaders assume and operate under the principle that the individuals on their work team would rather be awesome than ordinary. These leaders have figured out they cannot do everybody’s job on their team and understand that their job is to help their team excel with the customer.

The second type of leader is the Ego Based Leader. Ego Based leaders have limiting beliefs about the individuals on their team, and are constantly trying to protect and prevent those individuals from “messing up” their career.

These leaders often try to do everyone’s job, micro-manage and do not develop their team because they assume they will not be with them long anyways, or they don’t trust them to do the job the “right way.”

Check out the table below for some more characteristics of Ego Based Leaders versus Servant Leaders. This list can be useful for both job seekers and leaders to recognize the characteristics they want to associate/be associated with.

Ego Based Leaders

Servant Leaders

Focus on themselves and their career growth

Focus on developing their employees

Intimidate and threaten their employees

Recognize and reward employees

Micro-manage projects and roles

Provide direction and guidance

Are closed off and reserved with employees – business only

Get to know employees beyond the job so they can personalize their experience

Rigidly follow policies and procedures

Are flexible with policies – allow employees to make good decisions within their scope of values

Keep their employees in the dark and on a ‘need to know’ basis

Communicate openly and effectively with their employees

Are constantly dealing with customer retention

Have more satisfied customers

Have high turnover rates and are continuously losing money on re-training and hiring replacements

Have employees that stay longer and refer other top performers to the organization

Leaders must remember that if they don’t focus on serving their talent with development opportunities and ongoing recognition, they are missing the opportunity to tap into their discretionary energy. If a leader needs a bottom line reason, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are more than twice as likely to quit within the next year.

Remember, if service is beneath you, then leadership is above you!

Take your Engagement Program from Meh to Hell Yah!

Take your Engagement Program from Meh to Hell Yah!

Are your employees bored, unengaged and unmotivated? Are you an HR leader tasked with the important goal of engaging your employees? It’s a tricky task to try and engage your employees in meaningful ways that will unlock their discretionary energy and motivation.

A large majority of organizations that are providing employee engagement incentives to their employees are not getting a return on their investment. Part of the reason is that employee engagement has become too focused on generating ‘buzz’ and using superficial ways of engaging employees like stocking the company fridge or having a fuseball table in the break room. Now it’s not to say that these types of engagement strategy can’t work, but in addition to these fun perks it is critical that you provide your employees with deeper, meaningful forms of engagement that will enable your employees to grow and do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons with their colleagues and customers. For more info on how to engage your employees more meaningfully, watch this quick video on The Importance of Employee Engagement in Your Organization.

Now the key to taking your employee engagement program from meh to hell yah, is by uniquely personalizing the incentive and recognition process to each individual employee and giving them choice. Those participating in the recognition program must be motivated by the incentives.

Beyond being personalized and individualized, incentives and recognition need to be tied directly to superior performance, learning and development, and key customer and operational metrics.

An effective way to take your recognition program from meh to hell yah is to use situation recognition. Situational recognition means diagnosing each individual and each desired outcome.

If you provide the same recognition for everyone in your organization, I guarantee you that your program will be ineffective and disappointing. When you focus on situational recognition, you are focusing on the individual’s ability, competence, willingness and commitment to create positive results.

Additionally, situational recognition means getting to know the person beyond the job they do. And when you get to know people and care about them beyond the job, they will feel more connected to you and your organization, and thus be more motivated to give you their discretionary energy.

Our global research has shown that employees want to feel supported by their direct supervisor and be involved in business decisions. When it comes to providing recognition, it is essential to know individual personality types and preferences, as recognition should be a one size fits one mentality.

For more information on how to create a personalized recognition program for your employees, get in touch for a 15-minute demonstration of GES’s recognition solutions.

How To Identify a Bosshole

How To Identify a Bosshole

Gone are the days of people merely being thankful for having a job.  Employees now feel more empowered to find an organization that has a good work-life balance and the cultural fit that they’re looking for.  That being said, it is critical for leaders and managers to spend the time to create an exceptional internal experience for their employees, otherwise they will never have an exceptional customer experience.

Does this all sound familiar to you?  Are you currently working for a bosshole who doesn’t care about anything but the bottom line?  Or perhaps you recognize some of these characteristics in yourself!?

Here are a few things a Bosshole might do and some tips on how to fix them!

Bosshole: Forgets to say thank you and recognize their employees for exceptional work.

The fix: There’s nothing more important than recognizing people at every touch point. Recognition sets the foundation of respect and appreciation. Recognition can range from monetary rewards to non-monetary recognition such as a simple thank you or recognizing an employee in front of their peers. Whatever you do, don’t wait for the once a year review to recognize your people, or else those great people to recognize will find somewhere else to be appreciated.  For more information on how to recognize your employees at every touch point check out If You’re a Leader You Better Not Suck at Recognition.

Bosshole: Doesn’t provide feedback to employees on an ongoing basis.

The fix: If you want your employees to provide exceptional internal service with their colleagues and external service with your customers, you must be sure to set up your expectations for performance and provide them with ongoing feedback at every touch point.  If you surprise your employees with negative feedback at an annual review, you have already missed out on many opportunities to improve your service experience.

Bosshole: Takes credit for their employee’s hard work.

The fix: If you want to be the kind of leader and manager employees will stay for and positively refer others, you should develop a mentality of service. You are there to serve your employees and remove obstacles that get in the way of their service. When you have a servant attitude you will be happy to recognize and celebrate the hard work of your employees because it is a direct reflection of your awesome leadership!

Bosshole: Micro-manages tasks and projects.

The fix: Focus on giving your employees the skills and competencies they need to excel in their role.  You should also be sure to hire employees who interpersonal skills that you can trust to give them autonomy and authority to make good decisions that fit within the values of your organization.

To read more about how to harness the discretionary energy of your employees read Do You Really Know Your Team?

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