If you’re like me you’ve probably already had half a dozen email declarations of love today from suppliers and those touting for your business. It happens every Valentine’s day, doesn’t it?
I wonder if these businesses put the same amount of time and attention into declaring their love for their team.
Unless your team feel valued and loved they’re not likely to share much love for your customers either.
But if you take care of and show some love for your team they’re far more likely to care for and show love to your customers.
A loved team is an engaged team.
So here are 10 ideas you can use to show your team some love so they in turn show your customers some love and give an all-round great customer experience.
Not just for today, but any day.
1. Know what’s important
Understand each of your team members and what’s important to them. Recognise there are things which may seem insignificant to you, but can mean a lot for others.
What are the things they enjoy? What are the things they’re proud of, be that in or out of work. Express an interest in what they do away from work.
Never under estimate the value sitting down in private with each of your team on a one-to-one basis. Schedule these in advance and stick to your schedule; nothing smacks more of I’m not valued than constantly cancelling these meetings.
2. Common courtesies
Treat your team with the same care, courtesy and respect as you’d like them to show your customers.
Keep your commitments; letting people down suggests a lack of respect, but if you can’t do what you say you’ll do at the very least say “I’m sorry”.
Give a simple please and thank you, a sunny smile and a cheerful “good morning”, and a “good night and have a good evening” at the end of their day or shift.
3. Pay attention
Listen to your team’s feedback, ideas and suggestions. Show them you value their opinion: ask for their advice or suggestions on matters that affect them or where they may be able to present a different perspective.
Be approachable, and listen and observe so you can act on any staff concerns before they become a problem. Provide support and be receptive to when this might be needed.
4. Keep your team informed
A well-informed team not only gives them confidence and enables them to make decisions, it also helps establish trust with your customers. Let everyone know what’s going on in your business through regular staff briefings, and use these to get feedback from your team on any customers’ comments, or discuss any questions or suggestions that arise about operational issues.
Keep your team up to date with the bigger picture: what’s happening in your business, in your industry, and with your competitors.
5. Invest in your team’s development
Provide development opportunities to tap into their strengths and keep them stretched. Not everyone wants to progress but it doesn’t mean to say they don’t want to be stretched given opportunities for new challenges. A bored employee is unlikely to wow your customers.
Give everyone an opportunity to learn something new; it’s a win-win as the business will benefit too. Add variety, set them a challenge and trust your team to make decisions to do what’s best.
6. Promote teamwork
Upskill and cross train your team to cover other’s responsibilities so everyone is confident the job still gets covered even when they’re sick, on holiday or have an extra heavy workload. This also promotes a greater appreciation at each other’s roles as well as making it easier to create a culture where everyone takes responsibility when necessary rather than passing the buck.
It doesn’t have to be all about work. It’s difficult to please everyone but if you can find something that appeals to everyone’s tastes, personal commitments and budget, social activities is a great way to bring the team together. Even if this is simply some after hours team activities in the workplace that taps into the interest, talents or expertise of your team.
7. Guide and support
Give your team the support, resources and guidance needed to do a good job. This starts with providing clear direction on your expectations and providing everyone with the resources they need (including sufficient time and manpower).
Observe your team in action and give supportive feedback, encouragement and coaching, so you build their confidence and their productivity.
Every business has its times when things go wrong, so equip your team to deal with the unexpected and empower them to handle these situations with confidence.
8. Two-way trust
Lead by example and be a role model so there are no mixed messages. Ensure or your management team used the same criteria for awarding and recognising the team’s contribution, so people don’t get confused of feel deflated when something worthy of recognition gets ignored.
Play to people’s strengths and demonstrate your trust by delegating some control and ownership. This gives a sense of pride and a desire to get things right.
9. Recognise and reward success
Recognise those who go beyond the call of duty. Give public recognition when you receive positive feedback from a customer.
Share your good news to give everyone a boost and recognise those who have contributed. Make any rewards meaningful; not everyone is motivated by the same things to consider what’s important to the individual.
Have some fun. You might be dealing with serious subjects but people are more productive when they’re happy and relaxed. Laughter is the best medicine and a good hearty laugh release tension and it’s contagious!
10. A simple thank you
The most obvious and easiest thing you can do to show your team you care about them is to make a point of thanking them. Whether that’s a heartfelt thank you at the end of a busy shift or hectic day, when they’ve made an extra effort or used their initiative, or gone out of their way to help a colleague or a customer. Send a handwritten letter or a thank you card when they’ve gone the extra mile; a physical letter or card will have 10 times more impact than an email.
These ideas can go a long way towards creating staff loyalty which in turn will contribute to customer loyalty.