Do Your Customers Enjoy A Quality Experience? - Column #156
With every transaction and interaction, a business gives its customers a good, neutral or bad feeling. The last two have no place in a thriving company. The first is a necessary component to happiness and success.
In all likelihood, you can recall some experiences as a consumer that left you with good, if not a great, feelings. The value you received during these interactions endeared you to these companies, creating loyalty and repeat business. You felt your money and time was well spent, and you walked away with a satisfied and happy feeling.
Chances are you’ve also endured experiences with businesses that left you wishing you’d never walked through their doors. This might have been provoked by the poor customer service you received, an inferior product or bad and uncaring attitudes. Even if your experience was a neutral one — not bad, but not great either — the trust and loyalty that’s so vital to instill in customers wasn’t nurtured in you.
What business can afford the results of bad experiences for its customers and, therefore, its bottom line? No matter the economic environment, every customer matters. And the unhappy ones tend to have far greater effects on your reputation and business success.
So where does the quality of the experience your customers receive start? If you answered at the top, with you, the business owner, you’re correct. You’re the leader of your company. This means your team members take their cues for behavior and performance directly from you. Your attitude and behaviors set the standard.
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 when their teams feel good about the people and companies they work for, they impart those same good feelings to customers through positive attitudes and exceptional service. These leaders know their well-chosen and highly trained staffs 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, more importantly, positive attitudes. In addition, these leaders create and maintain an uplifting and supportive work environment that fosters the positive attitudes of their fellow team members. In doing so, engagement goes up and team members feel they’re part of a team that consistently delivers a positive experience to customers.
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 an organization, damaging the morale of the team, diminishing customer relations and ultimately hurting the business.
You’ll also encounter 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.
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 that next step and invest in your excellence. The success of your company and happiness of everyone involved are on the line.
In return for receiving a good feeling from your business, the customers you serve will be fiercely loyal to your brand. They’ll refer new customers and could even counter any criticism you might receive. All this leads back to and affects the bottom line of your business. This will result in more sales and a feeling of accomplishment in providing a consistently high-quality experience.
Most customers and team members 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 set the stage for exceptional customer service — the kind that leaves customers feeling great about your business.