Monthly Archives: February 2013

Five easy ways to reward your team

……..and bring a smile to their face, that won’t cost you a fortune in bonuses or incentives.

People are often referred to as a business’s most valued asset and in experience-based businesses more than any your team can make or break the customers’ experience.  They are certainly also one of your biggest overheads. Are you unwittingly de-motivating them by treating them as just another disposable asset?

Keeping your team inspired and engaged can be challenging. But a demotivated team can lead to poor performance, poor customer service, poor attendance and ultimately to losing not only your best people, but also losing your valued customers.

So how do you show your team members that they are valued and what incentives can you give that show that you appreciate them without costing the Earth.

 

Before you do anything…

 

Start by finding out what’s important to them. Not everyone is motivated by the same things. In fact I can recall with one clients recently when they’d wanted to reward someone for going the extra mile with their customers they nominated this employee as employee of the month. Now you and I might think that this person would be pleased to be nominated; but, oh no, he didn’t like it one bit. So much so he actually put in a grievance against his line manager! Now I know this might be a bit extreme, but we should never assume what our team would like and what’s important to them.

 

1. Say thank you

The simplest thing you can do is to say thank you. Recognise and reward good performance, achievements and a job well-done. For many, that is all they need to feel encouraged.

Yes, they work for pay, but it always helps to know that their work is recognised. Not just as a routine passing comment, go out of your way to thank individuals when you spot them doing something that will delight your customers. Bring the team together at the end of a hectic day or hectic shift when everybody has pulled their weight to make sure everything goes smoothly.

If you are genuine in your appreciation, and choose it for the right moment, it can work wonders. A simple but honest appreciative remark can go a very long way.

Give feedback; what have they done well and how it has contributed; and don’t be reluctant to demonstrate where they have fallen short and how this can be improved. It all adds up to being even better next time around (as long as you’re not nit picking, of course).

Celebrate and share successes. And if you are going to praise, don’t just leave it till you are on your own with the employee. Find an opportunity when they are with their colleagues, and your praise will create a buzz! Make sure it’s genuine and specific for the task carried out, or the person might be seen by their colleagues as ‘teacher’s pet’.

Become aware of what hobbies and interests your employees have. Then when you are out and about and see something that has to do with that particular interest, pick it up for them. Coming into the business and saying  “I really appreciate what you do, and I got this for you as a small token of my appreciation”,  will make them feel they are recognised for a great job. It doesn’t have to cost the earth; just a token. But the thought it evokes will make a real difference.

 

2. A treat

Give people the occasional treat. It doesn’t have to be a lavish incentive;  look at ways to reward that create a win-win: maybe a stay or a visit to a sister business or somewhere where they will be on the receiving end of outstanding service and are motivated to bring back more ideas that can be implemented in your business.

When your team have worked long or unsociable hours that had an impact on their personal life, extend the treat to be shared with their loved one. This not only makes your team member feel good but shows your appreciation of the support given by their friends and family and paves the way for future good deeds.

 

3. Time Off

For some people free time could be the most valuable gift you could give them.

Allowing flexibility to go home early, come in late, or take an additional day off to attend to a personal matter or just have a bit of fun can work wonders to their state of mind.

 

4. Prizes

For those with a competitive spirit: Awards, competitions, even a league table. This might mean focusing on a different theme each month so that everyone has the opportunity to recognise their particular skills and strengths.

External awards are a great way to give recognition for the whole team. Keep your eye out for awards which are relevant to your business or your market. Just being nominated for awards is a great booster. I remember when I worked in the corporate world and took over responsibility for sales training. Our new sales director was so impressed with what I had achieved he put me forward for the Institute of Marketing Sales Trainer of the year award. I didn’t win but I was one of the finalists, which gave me a great boost, and an opportunity to invite my colleagues along to the awards dinner which was great for my profile and for the business.

 

5. Development opportunities

We so often think of development as solely grooming somebody for promotion. This might be one intention or outcome but even when we know that a member of our team has probably reached their peak, that doesn’t mean to say that we just let them stagnate.

Development should have the intention of making people the best they can be at their jobs. Identify and utilise people’s strengths, providing further development when needed to bring out the best in these areas. Delegate and give some control and ownership, such as making people champions for specific areas. This gives them pride in what they do and they will appreciate that you’ve recognised where they do a good job, providing of course you’re careful not to overburden or just dump these tasks on them.

Grow from within where possible, and give people the opportunity for career progression as well as enhancing skills to do their existing job. Think also about life skills; for example offering English lessons for migrant workers.

You may not be able to accommodate everyone’s aspirations particularly if you’re a small business, but having some kind of succession plan in place that gives people something to work towards. However, take time to discuss people’s aspirations; don’t just assume that if someone shows potential that they want more responsibility or to be groomed into a specific position. And be careful not to make promises on career moves that you’re unable to keep.

 

So by doing a little bit of homework and a little bit of creativity there are plenty of ways you can recognise and reward your team to show them some love and bring a smile to my face which they’re sure to pass on to your customers.

 

Is customer service training one of those things that keeps getting shunted down your priority list?

If it’s a struggle for you to find the time to prepare your content or write your programme….. Good news, as I’ve done all the hard work for you. To find out more click here


What do you want to be famous for?

What would you think of a menu that only had one dish on it ? Or a venue that only offered one option.   Well that’s exactly what happens at Bubbledogs who serve the unlikely combination of grower champagne and gourmet hotdogs.

So why would anyone in their right mind provide such a limited offering. Well lots of reasons……   

Firstly you’re only going to attract customers who like and want champagne and/or hot dogs!

But from a marketing perspective it makes it so much easier to stand out. You get known for one thing, and one thing that you do really well. And suddenly you’ve cut down on all that competition. Now you’re no longer competing with any restaurant or wine bar, only being compared to other champagne bars. And how many of them serve hot dogs? None. So your USP is obvious.

And by only focusing on one offering you have a chance to get it right…. Source the finest ingredients; practice it day in day out to perfection.  You become the go to place for whatever it is you specialise in.

Look at it this way: If you had a problem with your heart your doctor would refer you to a heart specialist. If you wanted a top of the range mountain bike you’d go to a specialist mountain bike shop rather than Amazon or Halfords.  If you need some advice on employment law you wouldn’t just go to any solicitor, you’d go to one who specialises in employment law.

I know this idea makes some people nervous.  “Well, what about all the people who don’t want champagne or hotdogs? That means I’ll lose all their business!”  Yes, that’s right, you will. But do you want these people anyway? We all know how draining it is to have customers who don’t appreciate what you offer. Keep them away and focus on those who do want what you offer.

Being all things to all men doesn’t work. It dilutes what you do. And it means you end up with such a diverse range of customers that it becomes impossible to appeal to every one of them. If your customers are incompatible with one another you run the risk of losing them all.

In the example of Bubbledogs what they’re famous for is the product. And there are any number of products you may become famous for: your cream teas, your extensive wine list, a specific tour, ride, exhibit or activity, an unusual treatment, the best golf course in the county, the place to go to see giraffes, learn how to grow grasses or buy gorgeous gifts.

The list is endless.

But it doesn’t have to be the product itself. It could be centred on yours (and your customers’) interests: local history, gardening (which for anyone who knows me, gets my attention every time!), classic cars, fashion, or photography. All these provide an opportunity to share your interest and passions, as well as providing a theme, which can be built on.

What you become famous for might be the emotions you create: the fun factor, amazing memories, adrenaline and excitement, calm and relaxation.

It might be centred on what else people do when they visit you. Are you used as a base for wild and windy coastal walks, sailing or surfing, motor racing, quad biking, horse racing.

And once you’re famous for one thing you’ll not only attract the attention of your perfect customers, it becomes considerably easier to attract the attention of potential joint venture partners who already have access to the customers you’d love to get known to (and vice versa)  and choose where to promote yourself.

Once you have identified what it is that you have that others don’t, make sure you share this at every opportunity. Tell and show your customers how you incorporate these into your business. Show your customers in as much detail as possible what you do that is different, so they can see all this before they choose you. It could be why they choose you.

Oh, I’ve heard of them. Isn’t that the place that does …….”

It’s very easy to be enthusiastic and passionate about something that interests you, and this enthusiasm will translate into business if managed smartly. It means you are more likely to attract the type of customers with whom you can build up a good rapport and a better prospect of repeat business.

Unless you have a USP or some point of differentiation, you’re in danger of ending up with price being the only point of differentiation. And hands up, who wants to be competing on price alone?


Show your team some love

Like me, you know excellent customer service doesn’t happen by accident.

And that no one wants to spend their hard earned cash on poor or mediocre service.

But the simple truth is that those who have the most contact and can make the biggest impression on your customers are those who are usually the lowest paid and the least experienced. Does this feel right to you? Well, whether it does or doesn’t let’s at least give them the best chance they have of getting it right and getting it right first time, every time.

You can’t sustain a great customer experience unless each of your team wants into what you’re doing and is aligned with yours and your customers’ expectations.

So on Monday 11th February at 4 p.m. I’ll be sharing what I see as some of the most important lessons I’ve learnt from my 20+ years in management and team development.

On this 60 minute webinar you’ll discover my six simple strategies for inspiring and engaging your team to deliver outstanding customer experiences including:

  • The one thing you must have in place if you want your team to be meeting yours (and of course your customers’) service expectations
  • The 3 key principles to get your team taking responsibility and using their initiative, taking the pressure off you
  • How to ensure consistency so your customers receive the same level of service on each and every visit, leaving you confident that your team can cope without you, (so you can focus on working on your business rather than being perpetually sucked into the day-to-day operation and enable you to take a well-earned break when you need to).
  • Five easy ways to reward your team and bring a smile to their face that won’t cost you a fortune in bonuses or incentives

 

To register to join you live on the call click here and enter your details here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5888563513643078400

I’d love to ‘see’ you there, so hope you can make it.