21 July 2009

Lessons from other industries, 3

“If we treated our customers the way we treat our employees, pretty soon we wouldn’t have any customers.”
A hotelier told me that back when I was writing about the hotel industry. It’s a pretty good test of any business’s approach to customer service.
Think about it. How do you treat your employees?
  • Are you suspicious of them?
  • Do you act like they are stealing from you?
  • Do you act as if they can’t think for themselves?
  • Do you have a dictatorial streak?
Would you act this way towards your customers? Of course not.

Are you a boss or a colleague? Do you treat your staff as adults or as children? Do you allow your employees to make their own decisions about special orders or refunds, for example? Have you “empowered” them (as HR managers like to say) or must they always ask you first?
With their words and actions, some employers treat their employees like feeble-minded children, con artists, or goof-offs who don’t want to work. If your staff does behave like children, then examine your interviewing and hiring practices. Maybe you are hiring individuals who can only perform at the level of a slow-witted child. Why are you doing that?
Hire smart people with a good work ethic. Educate them about your standards for greeting customers, for selling, and for follow-up. Allow your employees to make decisions on the spot without them having to track you down to ask permission.
Treat your employees with fairness and respect. Just as you do your customers.

Lessons from other industries, 2
Lessons from other industries, 1

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