With every interaction and transaction, a business gives customers a good, neutral or bad feeling. The last two have no place in a thriving company. The first is a prerequisite to happiness and success.
You’ve likely engaged businesses that left you wishing you’d never walked through their doors. Perhaps you encountered poor customer service, inferior products or bad and uncaring attitudes. Even if your experience was neutral — neither bad nor good — the trust and loyalty so vital to inspire in customers wasn’t nurtured in you.
What business can afford to affect customers, and therefore the bottom line, through bad experiences? No matter the economic environment, customers matter. Unhappy ones tend to exert a far greater influence on your reputation and business success.
In all likelihood, you also can recall some experiences as a consumer that left you with a good, if not a great, feeling. The value you received during these interactions endeared you to these companies, creating loyalty and repeat business. The money and time you spent was well worth it, and you walked away with a positive, satisfied and happy feeling.
Where does quality customer service start? If you answered at the top with you, the business owner, you’re correct. You lead your company. This means your team members take their cues for behavior and performance directly from you. Your attitude and behaviors set the standard in your organization.
When the owner of a business truly cares about people, they endeavor to provide team members and customers alike with the best experiences possible. These leaders understand that when their teams feel good about the people and companies they work for, they’ll impart those same feelings to customers through positive attitudes and exceptional service. Leaders know their well-chosen and highly trained staff will follow their lead and strive to give each and every customer a great experience.
The wisest business owners — those who lead rather than boss — hire people with good skills and even better attitudes. These leaders create and maintain uplifting and supportive work environments that foster the positive attitudes of their team members. By doing so, engagement goes up and team members feel they’re part of a collective effort to consistently deliver a positive experience to each customer.
Along the road of business, you’ll encounter team members who prove unable or unwilling to maintain a positive and caring attitude. In these cases, 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 hurting business.
You’ll also experience 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. Just 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.
In return for the good feelings they receive from your business, most customers you serve will be fiercely loyal to your brand. They’ll refer new customers and could even help to counter any complaints you’ve received. All of this leads back to and affects the bottom line of your business. This will result in more sales and a sense of accomplishment in providing a consistently high-quality experience.
Most team members and customers have attitudes that contribute to a positive two-way experience. When you hire people with great attitudes and provide training, support and a positive work environment, you set the stage for exceptional service that leaves customers feeling great about your business.
Give yourself and your business the gift of an honest self-appraisal. If you discover your leadership style, team, work environment or customer service could benefit from the support of a qualified coaching professional, take the next step and invest in excellence. The success of your company and happiness of everyone involved could depend on it.