If you work in a company that has customers, you understand how important it is to treat them well. Not every position interfaces directly with customers, but we all depend on them regardless of our job title. Many of the lessons learned from the people who do interact with customers regularly, carry an important message for people managers.
At On Target Talent we travel a significant amount to see our clients. Sometimes that travel involves getting in the car and spending a couple of hours watching farmland role by. Other times we board a plane, passport in hand and visit a client or business partner in another country. Something happened the other day in advance of a trip I’m making to Colombia that caused me to stop and think about today’s topic. I received this tweet:
@tsieck we are getting ready for your visit, the only one missing is you!
— Hotel 101 Park House (@101ParkHouse) May 6, 2014
Such a simple thing, and yet it cemented in my mind what I already knew. I will be a customer of 101 Park House hotel for as long as I continue to visit this country.
Here are a few of the lessons managers should learn and apply to the people who report to them.
1. It’s not about the things you give, it’s about the things you do – A chocolate on a hotel pillow is no different from an ice cream bar handed out in the office. It’s nice for exactly the amount of time it takes you to eat it. It is far more important to get to know your employees as people, treat them with respect, and recognize their good work.
2. Understand and measure satisfaction – Often when you have a customer interaction over the phone or online, you are asked to take a short survey to let the service provider know how you did. Managers need to constantly check in with their people to understand what needs to change to keep their good employees. A recent Forbes article, talks about the importance of using “Stay” interviews as a way to keep people engaged.
3. Help people discover solutions – Most of us would not like a store clerk who told us exactly what to buy. We also don’t like the clerk who ignores us and leaves us to just figure everything out on our own. We like the clerk that helps guide us to making our own best decision which item to buy. Managers need to involve their employees in problem solving and decision making. If you solve the problem for them, they don’t learn. If you make them figure it out on their own before they are ready, you risk having them fail and become frustrated or disengaged.
I know there are more, but those three were the ones that became immediately apparent. Managers can learn a great deal from good customer service when it comes to keeping their employees engaged. After all, just like customers, if your employees go away, there’s not much of a business left.