Everyone, at some point, has experienced bad customer service. The culprit is often the same — an unhappy employee. A disgruntled employee can quickly give your customer service experience a turn for the worse. While everyone has a bad day — employees included — businesses can take several steps to help build a healthy work culture. In turn, a healthy work culture can improve customer satisfaction.
Here are four ideas for small businesses to improve both employee culture — and customer satisfaction.
Ensure employees feel valued.
An employee that feels valued is in a much better position to deliver positive customer experience. And employees that feel like they are making a difference in the workplace are less likely to leave the company, saving time and training costs.
So how do small business owners help employees feel valued? Start by asking yourself what makes you feel valued and work to deliver those same things to your staff. Share your business’ success stories with even the entry level employees to show that what your company, and your employees, are doing matters. Encourage employees to communicate issues and respond to any problems as soon as possible.
Track staff performance — and offer incentives.
Do you know offhand which of your employees are among the most productive? Tracking what each employee accomplishes can allow you to offer incentives for the top performing employees every month. Building fun contests can help keep morale up and increase productivity. Brainstorm different ways to offer incentives outside of simply meeting a quota. Create an photo contest where the employee that snaps a promotional workplace photo that gains the most Instagram likes gets a prize. Have a custom contest on Halloween. Something that simple can help break up the monotony of the workweek.
Take care, however, because using quotas can quickly make employees feel like just a number. Remember to look at more than production, but employees who put an extra effort into customer service or otherwise go above and beyond the usual duties.
Build connection among employees.
Having a friend at work makes going to work more enjoyable — which in turn can help create both happier employees and happier customers. Brainstorm ways to build your staff as a whole, not just as individual employees. Schedule team building activities. Encourage conversation in the break room with an occasional treat. Host a simple event to bring employees together. Turn those contests into team contests rather than individual ones.
Don’t forget the employee benefits.
Ultimately, no matter how positive the work environment is, employees come to work to, well, work. Ensure the benefits that you offer are competitive and employee focused. Benefits aren’t exclusively tied to finances, either. Employees also value flexibility, such as the ability to take time off, a telecommute option, and flexible scheduling.
Happy employees are much more likely to deliver that positive customer experience. Studies show that employees who enjoy their work tend to stay longer, reducing costs for the company. Don’t focus so much on the customer that you forget the people who are actually working directly with those customers.