Tag Archives: employee engagement

How am I doing? Conducting effective 1-1 meetings

How to conduct effective 1-1 meetingsConducting effective 1:1 meetings

Conducting effective 1-1 meetings is an essential skills for any manager. Never under estimate the impact of sitting down regularly with each member of staff on a one to one basis.

Whether you call them “one to one meetings”, “reviews” or simply “chats” really doesn’t matter; the important thing is that they happen.

And regularly.

But, why would you want to have these if you see your team members every day and give them feedback as you go?

Because conducting effective 1-1 meetings provides an opportunity for a private discussion, to raise points which you may not want others to hear, and for them to raise things they might not want everyone else to hear.

They also provide that window of time to focus on them:

  • not just you telling them how they’re doing,
  • but allowing them the opportunity to tell you how they think they are doing.
  • and to listen to their ideas, questions, concerns and suggestions

Your aim in conducting a 1-1 meeting should be:

  • To motivate your team members to either continue or sustain good performance
  • For team members to feel confident that they have the ability and support to fill any gaps where they need development.
  • It’s an opportunity for them to have their contribution recognised – not just performance, but have their ideas heard.
  • It devotes time to set direction and goals for the coming weeks.
  • The net result should be an enthused and motivated employee who knows what they should be focusing on, and how this will contribute to the business.

Two-way

I often hear of managers spending literally hours preparing for the meetings, then finding themselves having to work twice as hard to get the employee to contribute their ideas and views to the meeting. One to ones are as much for their benefit as yours, so ask them to take some responsibility for the preparation too.

There may be things they’ve done that are worthy of comment, which you are oblivious to; remember you don’t see them every minute of every day they are at work. So ask them to plan what they would like to discuss.

  • Ask open questions to get their ideas on performance and how to move forward.
  • Use the AID* model for feedback: They’ll still want your view on performance
  • Ask for their views
  • Offer support: If there are shortfalls you need to understand why, and then help bridge that gap.

3 core questions for conducting-effective-1-1-meetings

As a minimum you may like to consider these 3 questions:

  • Achievements
  • Shortfalls
  • Focus

1. Achievements

What successes or achievements have you had this month or what have you done this month that you’re proud of?

  • What have been your top 2/3 successes?
  • What have you accomplished towards this year’s goals?
  • What has gone particular well for you this week/month/period?
  • What have you been particularly pleased with?
  • What have they achieved towards pre-determined goals, targets, KPIs, etc.

Start on a positive and is an opportunity for the employee to blow their own trumpet.

Of course if these are things you’ve spotted too this is your opportunity to give praise where it’s due, and reinforce their success.

This is a time when you might discover other strengths or successes that you’ve been previously unaware of, so take note and ask for examples if you need to.

Ensure you build on their successes and discuss how they can do more of this or emulate this in future. (See the AID model)

Compliment them, tell them why you value their contribution, focus on strengths.

2. What’s not gone so well?

What disappointments or frustrations?

  • If you had a magic wand, what would you change or do differently?
  • Where have you fallen short against this month’s goals/KPIs?
  • What hasn’t gone to plan?
  • What have you been disappointed with?
  • What have you set out to do but it hasn’t yet happened?

Sometimes people will be very hard on themselves, and even if people have not done everything you’ve asked of them, when they are identifying this for themselves it’s a lot easier for both of you to have that conversation.

How have they gone about this? Something may have given a good result at first glance, but it’s all very well achieving all their targets but not so good if they’ve upset colleagues or customers along the way.

Look at this as an opportunity to learn, so discuss what got in the way and how to overcome this in future. This might need some more support or training from you or additional resources.

3. Where’s the next focus?

What do you feel needs to be your number 1 focus for the coming month?

Alternatives:

What needs to be the focus for the coming week/month/period?

This is your opportunity to look ahead and either set some goals for the forthcoming period or to summarise any development that has been identified as result of the previous 2 questions.

  • What needs to be focused on or addressed, and what support or development do they need to do this

At the end of the meeting ask if they have anything to add.

Summarise theirs and your actions, record and agree next review date.

If there needs to be more commitment or input on their part ask them to do the summarising. This way you know there is at least an understanding of what’s expected over the coming period, and an opportunity to set this straight if their interpretation is different from yours.

If you simply ask the 3 questions on a regular basis over time your team will get used to you asking these and as time goes on hopefully they’ll be more prepared for each question giving it some thought prior to your meeting.

Their preparation obviously doesn’t let you off the hook altogether, but if they are well prepared it will certainly reduce the amount of time needed for conducting effective 1-1 meetings.

See a short video on Conducting effective 1-1 meetings here: https://naturallyloyal.wistia.com/medias/4unqvbced5

If you only do one thing: Find some time in the coming week to schedule a one to one with each of your team.



How to engage and motivate your team

engage and motivate your team Engaging and motivating your team on their return from their Christmas break

When you get home from work can you normally sense what sort of mood everyone else is in? Even when no words are spoken it’s usually pretty easy to tell. Our moods and emotions are usually evident to others from our expressions, behaviours and tone.

I know how difficult it can be to get motivated again after a break. And of course, it can be no different for your team getting back into the swing of things after Christmas.

All of which of course can have an impact on your customers’ experience …and ultimately your bottom line.

So, what can you do to engage and motivate your team?

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy; if you, or any of your management team, think it’s going to be tough getting back into the swing of things the chances are it will be.

Not just for you, but for your team as well.

We are all familiar with the “Mood Hoovers”; you know – those people who, when you come into work full of the joys of spring, they comment “What are you so flipping happy about?”, sucking all that energy and enthusiasm from you like a Hoover.

Your physiology certainly influences your own feelings, but can also influence the feelings of people around you too. Which means if people mooch around all day fed up about coming back to work after Christmas it will be difficult to engage and motivate your team, as you’re far more likely to elicit negative emotions than if you’re smiling, happy and generally being positive about being back at work.

Like it or not, your mood – and the mood of your managers – has a profound impact on the mood of all those around you. It influences your team’s attitude, their enthusiasm, their willingness to take responsibility, their confidence in you and the business and their loyalty towards you.

And in turn this certainly influences your customers’ perception of you and your team, their level of engagement and ultimately their loyalty to your business.

Being confident, enthusiastic and energetic might not always rub off on everyone else, but it’s a better bet to engage and motivate your team than if you or any of your managers are down and resenting being back.

Take action

If you only do one thing to engage and motivate your team on their return from their Christmas break, find something positive to share with your team and share it with enthusiasm! (…and deal with any Mood Hoovers)

If you’d like more ideas here are 38 Activities to Engage, Energise and Excite your Team in Customer Service



Keeping your team engaged over Christmas

Keeping your team engaged over Christmas

Keeping your team engaged over Christmas, and keeping your customers happy too!

If you run a business that depends heavily on Christmas trade (or have peaks of activity at any time of year) a lot will hang on how good your customers’ experience during this time.

And if your team are feeling the pressure, if they’re rushed, tired from long days, or just fed up with demanding customers, all of this will be picked up by customers.

So it’s important you focus on keeping your team engaged over Christmas if you want them to impress your customers.

First impressions count.  Remember, when you’re busy, many of these customers may be coming to your business for the very first time, so don’t let the volume of customers be an excuse to let customer service standards drop. Create a memorable first impression and a reason for them to return.

Whether you’re a hospitality, leisure or retail or business already in the thick of Christmas activity, a health and wellness business anticipating a surge of activity as a result of New Year’s resolutions, or a tourism business who may see big spikes in visitors as festivals or shows attract the masses, your customers don’t really care how busy you are; they still want to be loved and cared for.

And this starts with your team!

So, here are 11 tips to keeping your team engaged over Christmas, to keep them smiling,  and continue to meet your customers’ expectations.

1. 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. When you’re busy it’s easy to let these slip, but it’s on your busiest days that things are most likely to go wrong, so these are the days when your team briefings are most important.

2. What’s available

Ensure everyone in the team knows what’s available and what’s not as part of your Christmas offerings. People can’t sell something they don’t know exists, and they don’t’ want to look stupid if a customer orders a regular item then discover it’s not available over Christmas.

Let your staff sample products and/or services as far as possible, explain what products are normally sold together (e.g. in a restaurant what accompanies each dish) what the price includes and what’s extra. If they have a role in up-selling what are the products you want them to promote, including any future events?  If your core team are incentivised, make sure you include seasonal staff in the scheme.

3. Promote teamwork

Play to the strengths of your permanent team, and use them to support your seasonal team. Introduce temporary team members to everyone else in the whole team and define everyone’s areas of responsibility so there are no gaps and no duplication of effort. Avoid any friction that can occur when someone hasn’t pulled their weight or others are seen to ‘interfere’ with your way of doing things.

4. 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.

5. Pay attention

Listen and observe. Keep your ears and eyes open to recognise when things aren’t as they should be, and spot concerns quickly. When everyone is focused on the customers having a good time, it’s easy to miss the tell-tale signs things are not as they should be. Left to fester these can snowball into bigger problems.

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.

6. Debrief

Get feedback from your team at the end of each day or after each major event, so can you make things go smoother every day.

What went well? What was challenging and where did they struggle to meet customers’ expectations? What can be improved on for next time, or done differently to ensure the customer experience is still a great one even when you’re busy.

Listen to their ideas and suggestions, and show them you value their opinion.

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.

When busy it’s easier for things to go wrong. 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 all your management team use the same criteria for rewarding 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. Time Off

If your team have to work unsociable hours, long nights or sacrifice personal social lives, be open to some flexibility. Recognise that people may be missing out on family and friends’ events, so help make up for this in some way.

And even when busy it’s important for everyone in the team to have a chance to recharge the batteries; it’s when people are tired and frazzled that accidents happen, or mistakes get made.

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.

11. Have some fun

It’s the festive season and your team want to have some fun too! 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, so will certainly rub  off on customers too. This doesn’t mean being unprofessional, but looking for opportunities that create a relaxed and enjoyable place to work.

Give them a treat to look forward to after Christmas.

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

Finally, take the time to celebrate your successes and give yourself and your team a well-earned pat on the back for a job well done.

This all helps in keeping your team engaged over Christmas, and into the New Year.

Take Action

If you only do one thing – Take a few moments today to review how things are going. Ask for some feedback from the team and thank them for their contribution so far.

Related article: Improving Productivity:  https://www.naturallyloyal.com/improving-employee-productivity-of-seasonal-team/


How to attract, recruit and retain great staff

attracting recruiting retaining staff

How to attract, recruit and retain great staff

And it’s not just about pay and hours…

You and I both know the quality of your team have a direct impact on your customers’ experience. But there’s also no getting away from the fact that many businesses are struggling with attracting and/or retaining good quality people.

This was certainly a common theme in the seminars at last week’s Restaurant Show. I can’t say I get very excited about heavy duty kitchen equipment or the latest design in tableware. But I always make a B line for the seminars as I love to listen and learn from others.

Here are some of my takeaways from the seminars, plus a few of my own.

And it’s not just about pay and hours…

1. Bolting the Stable Door

Identify the real cause of people leaving. Sit down with leavers to find out as much as possible about their motives for leaving.

Prevention is better than cure. Although it might be too late to change the mind of this employee, it might allow you time to address any problems to prevent the same thing happening again and again.

They say that people don’t quit jobs they quit bosses, so if this is the case the interview is best conducted by someone other than the employee’s line manager; it is unlikely that you’re going to learn the truth if the line manager is asking the question.

Look for the tell-tale signs that could lead to future employee turnover: lack of job satisfaction, poor team dynamics, inflexibility to meet personal needs (e.g. flexibility on working hours), cultural mismatch.

Ask for regular feedback from your team (see www.naturallyloyal.com/em).

2. The Grass is Greener

Keep your talent in-house. Promote from within wherever possible. A perceived lack of career progression or obvious career path can be a key contributor to staff turnover.

Look for internal opportunities – either in your own establishment, or if you’re part of a group in other sites.

Always let your existing team members know when a position is available. Even if this is not a step up, it may present a new challenge to keep someone motivated. If internal candidates do not get the job ensure you give feedback to help with their development and to encourage them to apply for future positions.

Put processes in place to identify potential, develop people and encourage internal promotion, such as regular1:1’s to talk about aspirations, strengths and opportunities.

Support people’s development to minimise the risk of them leaving to take on more senior roles for which they may not yet be ready and may be out of their depth.

3. Build your Network

Develop relationships with recruitment officers from local colleges and universities, get involved with schools to help raise the profile of the industry, network with other local businesses.

Allow your existing team to participate in professional associations and training where they’re likely to be in contact with potential candidates.

People know people like themselves, so ask your team to help in your recruitment efforts.

When there are so many retail businesses closing, what can you do to attract the ‘fall out’ from these businesses?

4. Become an employer of choice

Create a culture where the best employees will want to work, and build a reputation as a good employer so you attract the best people.

A prerequisite is looking after your existing staff; they are far more likely to recommend you to others and spread the word that it’s a great place to work.

Monitor the reputation of your business; listen to what your staff say, especially those who leave. It’s not just about pay and hours. People won’t want to work for you if they don’t see any development opportunities, if their contribution isn’t recognised or if they’ve no sense of purpose.

Keep an eye on sites such as Glassdoor, pick up any clues or comments that could impact on how you’re perceived in the job market, and what steps you might need to take to make any changes. Comments from disgruntled employees will do you no favours whether their gripes are valid or not.

Shout about what’s good about working there. What’s the culture? What development opportunities? How do others feel about working there? What are your values?

5. First Impressions Count

Your recruitment and onboarding process needs to be professional, fair and welcoming for applicants; it’s as much about them finding out about you, and if they think they’d be happy working there.

Use communication channels and language to suit your audience, e.g. using text rather than email.

Involve your team in the recruitment process so you can create a buzz about what it’s like to work there. This demonstrates your belief in them and strengthens their commitment to helping the new employee succeed.

If you’ve more than one vacancy to fill consider recruitment days.

Engage and involve new starters as early as possible, to avoid second thoughts before their first day. Let them know you’re looking forward to them starting and what is mapped out for their first day.

Ensure a well-planned induction programme so they aren’t left wondering what’s expected of them. There was a lot of talk about gamification in the seminars, but at the very least, add some fun to help starters relax and build confidence. See Induction Guide here

Help them to make a meaningful contribution early on, so they have a sense of achievement. Set a mini project for them or allocate a small area of responsibility.

How well you demonstrate you care for them from day one will influence how much they care about you, your business and your customers!

 

Take action

If you only do one thing – on the basis that prevention is better than cure, spend some time this week with each of your team and discuss their aspirations and development needs, so they recognise they have a future with you.

p.s. If you’d like a head start designing your induction programme I’ve done the hard work for you with my Guide to On-boarding available here



Glass half full or glass half empty?

employee engagement glass half empty

How employee engagement impacts

When you get home from work how long does it normally take to sense what sort of mood everyone is in?

If you’ve said “almost immediately”, you’ll find the same is true in the workplace.

That is, everyone’s moods are evident to those around them – be they their manager or a colleague.

I’m sure we both can relate to the type of person who constantly looks at the downside of everything; the type of person who drains your energy and your enthusiasm; the ‘Mood Hoovers’ who suck the life out of everything.

Not only is this draining for the team, but generally it’s picked up by customers too, and is bound to have an impact on a customer’s experience.

But have you ever wondered whether or not you have others in your team who have this impact on their colleagues?

We often hear of managers complaining about the lack of employee engagement; but have they ever stopped to think about whether they are the cause of it?

Our physiology certainly influences our feelings and the feelings of people around us. So, if we mooch around all day with shoulders dropped, hands in pockets, we’re far more likely to elicit negative emotions, than if we’re smiling, animated and making eye contact.

Certain emotions or un-resourceful states will certainly have a knock-on impact on everyone around them – colleagues and customers alike. Being irritated, flustered, impatient, worried, angry, bored, frustrated, resistant, confused, tired or distracted all rub off on others.

But, when we focus on the positives it has a positive impact on others too. Smiling and laughing can rub off on others to help make everyone feel good and happy.

What’s more… it’s infectious…

If you want your team to be enthusiastic, flexible, motivated, interested, confident, energetic, happy, welcoming, and friendly this has to start at the top.

Want to know how this can happen?

Related posts: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/how-to-engage-new-team-members/



Normal (Customer) Service is resumed

customer service as usual

Normal (Customer) Service is resumed.

Is it back to business as usual this week?

Whether you’re drawing breath at the end of your busiest season, or just back from your well-earned summer break it’s all too easy to drift back into things without much focus or purpose.

Which inevitably has an impact on employee engagement, productivity and customer service.

If you’ve been flat out all summer now’s the time to take stock and review, whilst things are still fresh in your mind. What went well, what didn’t go so well and what can you learn from it?

Here are 7 ideas to re-energise and engage you and your team to get you back into the swing of things and on a roll now it’s business as usual.

 

1. Celebrate

If your team were working hard right over the summer let them know how much you appreciate their efforts.

If September marks the mid-point of financial year now is an opportune moment to review progress.

Summarise and share your successes and highlights from the last 6 months, and recognise your team’s contribution to these.

Give recognition and praise where it’s due so it creates a buzz amongst your team for the remainder of year ahead!

 

2. Near misses

It’s inevitable there were occasions when things didn’t go according to plan or mishaps happened. Review some of the things that have not gone to plan over the past few months. Listen to your team and flush out any other potential risky situations, particularly if they have the potential to impact the team or customer service.

Rather than dwelling on the negatives, reflect on what you and the team have learnt from these events.

Even if you think it was a one off and unlikely to happen again your team might be aware of other ‘near misses’ or situations that are an accident just waiting to happen!

Agree what steps you can take to avoid them or minimise their impact, so they are confident they will be better prepared next time!

 

3. Set mini goals

It can often feel as if you’re not achieving much in the first few days or weeks back at work, or when you’re recovering from a busy period.

What short-term projects or goals can you set which eases everyone in gently, but still enables them to see some results within the first few days back.

This can help focus attention back onto the job in hand, and get everyone back into full flow as quickly as possible.

 

4. Take stock

A knowledgeable team not only gives them confidence, it enables them to make decisions and help build trust with your customers.

Take time to review and share your plans for the remainder of the year ahead, share up-to-date product information, what’s happening in your industry, with your competitors, or anything in the press.

It can feel a bit flat if it’s back to business as normal; give your team something to look forward to.

 

5. New challenges

The new school year is a good time to take stock of the team’s development needs.

Not everyone wants to progress, but that doesn’t mean you should let them stagnate. A bored employee is unlikely to put much enthusiasm into delivering wow customer service.

Schedule 1:1 reviews as early as possible. Discuss individual contributions and where they fit in with your plans, and how you can add variety, set new challenges or stretch them.

Identify and utilise people’s strengths, providing further development where needed to bring out the best in these areas.

 

6. Fresh perspectives

Customer Service is continually evolving, and there will always be little tweaks you can make to improve your service.

Review your entire customer journey and all the various touch points your customers experience.

When people have been away from the business for a couple of weeks, or even a few days, they often get a fresh perspective and see things in a new light.

What ideas have your team seen on their holidays or days out which they’ve appreciated and which could be applied in some way in your business?

Take a few moments this week to ask their views on any opportunities they can see to improve your service, to add value or make recommendations to customers.

Give individual team members responsibility over specific moments on the customer journey; this gives a sense of pride and ownership. And with ownership comes the desire to get things right. When individuals have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise.

 

7. Play from a 10

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, which if we think it’s going to be tough getting back into the swing of things the chances are it will be.

Not just for you, but for your team as well.

It only takes one person resent being back to work after a fantastic holiday or quality time with the kids, to rub off on everyone else.  If we’re smiling and happy, confident,  enthusiastic and energetic it might not always rub off on everyone else, but it’s a better bet than if you’re down and resenting being back at work!

So whether you’ve just had break and gearing up for the new term, or just taking stock of your summer season, don’t let anyone’s post-holiday blues get you down.

Take Action

If you only do one thing – take some time out this week to sit down with your team and reflect what lessons you can take from the past 3 months which can help you get the best from the next 3 months.

Related article: Freshen up your Refreshers:
https://www.naturallyloyal.com/customer-service-training-ideas-refreshers/

Customer Service Training Ideas: 38 Activities: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/resources/28activities/


Hello, I’m Caroline

build rapport

Build rapport using names

Do you remember the TV series Cheers? And the theme tune “… where everyone knows your name”

Using someone’s name is a powerful way to build rapport.

According to Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”  “… any person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.  ….we can make people feel extremely valued and important by remembering the name.”

This is true, not just for customers, but your team members too; in fact, anyone you speak to.

However, sometimes it can be challenging to remember names. I remember about 20 years ago, the company I was working for at the time ran a series of Roadshows. At the time I was a management development executive at our international training centre. This meant that over the course of the year I would meet hundreds, if not thousands, of managers attending training.

Because I knew so many people I was asked to help with registration at each event, and because so many of those attending knew me, they made a beeline to me expecting me to remember them too. But when you have thousands of people registering at each event, it’s quite a challenge remembering everybody’s names, and some people got quite offended when I couldn’t remember who they were!

I learnt a little trick to get around this, which I’ll tell you about in a moment. But in the meantime, here are my other top tips for helping you and your team members remember and use people’s names.

  1. Start with your team, greet them by name, and use the name they want to be known by. So, if they have a preference to be known by their middle name, use this. Never shorten or abbreviate their name unless they ask you to. So, Andrew doesn’t become Andy, Christopher doesn’t become Chris, and Deborah doesn’t become Debbie, unless that’s what they request.
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  2. Repeat it. How often do we ask someone’s name and then instantly forget it? So, listen with intent, and then immediately repeat their name. This not only helps you to committed it to memory, but allows an opportunity for the other person to correct it if you’ve got it wrong or missed pronounced. If the pronunciation is a little tricky for you, always ask the other person, whether you’ve got the pronunciation correct. It’s far less awkward for both of you to correct it now than on your fourth or fifth meeting.
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  3. Can you spell that please? Spelling someone’s name incorrectly can feel insulting, so check the spelling if you need to. Even relatively common names often have more than one spelling; Cathy or Kathy, Iain or Ian, Philip or Phillip.
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  4. Formal, friendly or familiar. It’s difficult sometimes to know whether to address the customer as Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms. or use their first name. The rule of thumb is to follow their lead; how they introduce themselves.
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  5. Personalise your automation. Have you ever had a letter that’s addressed to you personally on the envelope, but the salutations reads “Dear Sir or Madam”. With technology today there should be no excuse not to address emails or letters with someone’s name (or at least the name they have given you).
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  6. Create a memory. If you can create an association between someone’s name and a characteristic or relate to a famous person. For example, my husband is terrible at remembering names and when he first met my parents this was no exception. Their names were Liz and Phil. So, I told him to just think of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip!.
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  7. Tags, cards and badges. Spotting name badges on luggage tags, payment cards or name badges at corporate events can help; a word of caution, don’t get too clever with this! Check the name their tag, card or badge is the one they want to be addressed by.  If you know which customers you are expecting remind yourself of their names (and personal preferences if you know them) before they arrive.
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  8. And what of employee name badges? They can make it easy for the customer to engage with and remember the people who have served them (as well as a level of accountability). But it’s a very individual decision, and what best suits your business and your style service. A name badge should never be a substitute for a personal introduction from a team member to a customer.

Take action

If you only do one thing – encourage your team members to use customers’ names, so they feel valued and important. Set the example and help make your team also feel extremely valued and important by always addressing them by name too.

And that little trick I discovered on registration? Thankfully, all the name badges were arranged in alphabetical order by people’s surnames. So, I’d always greet them with a cheery smile and ask how they are; and then ask absentmindedly “sorry, just remind me of your surname again”. It seemed forgetting their surname was acceptable, and when I found their name badge, hey presto, I was reminded of their first name too, and could then use this as I handed them their badge.

related article: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/creating-rapport-with-your-hospitality-business-customers/

 


How trust impacts customer experience

trust impacts customer experience

Last week I gave a short presentation at our local Institute of Directors meeting. It was only 4 minutes, but it’s surprising what you can fit into that time.

I spoke about pride.

Being recognised at work so you can be proud of your contribution can have a massive impact on employee engagement, and all the knock-on benefits of productivity, staff retention and the customer experience.

This stems from the top, so if you are recognising your managers and supervisors so they feel pride in what they do, they are far more likely to do the same with their team members, too.

I covered 3 ways as leaders we can help people feel proud of their contribution, but I’m just going to cover one of those today; demonstrating trust.

People soon pick up when you fail to trust or allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them frustrated or worse, doubting their own abilities. When you demonstrate trust on the other hand, you’ll be surprised just how resourceful people can be.

Here are 5 ways you can demonstrate trust in your team members:

  1. Play to people’s strengths. It’s a lot easier for you to delegate responsibility for tasks where people already excel, and the likelihood is when they are good at that task they’ll be confident and probably enjoy it.
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    That doesn’t mean to say you don’t develop people in other areas, but avoid the temptation to make everyone mediocre at everything.
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  2. Learn to let go, and empower them to do the job you’ve employed them to do. No one wants their boss breathing down their neck the whole time, and it’s frustrating for everyone when team members have to get sign off for everything.
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    Cut the red tape and give your team the freedom to do what they think is in the best interests of the customer.
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    Set clear boundaries so they understand the exceptions and when you really do need to be involved.
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  3. Give flexibility to adapt and adopt their own style. Let them bring their own personality to the role, particularly when dealing with customers.  If they know the end result you’re looking for they often come up with better ways to get the same result.
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  4. Identify staff champions for routine activities so there is always at least one person other than you keeping an eye on each aspect of the business. This is not only good for people’s development it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden.
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  5. Develop ‘experts’ and give ownership for areas that require specialist knowledge, so this team member becomes the go to person for this. When individuals have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise, and encourages continuous improvement. This in turn can have an impact on your customer experience, when specific knowledge is required to gain the customer’s confidence.

We often underestimate people’s capabilities. When you demonstrate your trust in your team by delegating some control and ownership, this gives a sense of pride and a desire to get things right.

This ultimately has a knock on impact on your customer experience as customers do  notice the difference between someone just doing their job and someone who is genuinely proud of the job they do and the contribution them make.

Take action

If you only do one thing: demonstrate your trust in someone today by giving them the go ahead to do something their way.

Here’s my 4 minute presentation

Related article: I don’t have authority


Marking Milestones

engage your team

Engage your Team (and customers) by Marking Milestones

Can you remember what you were doing on the night of 20/21st July 1969?

I can, as I’m sure you can too if you are my age or older, as, like billions of others, I was sitting with my brothers watching in awe as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon.

Watching the events relived this Saturday was still tense even though we knew full well the mission was a success.

Marking milestones in your business is a great way to engage both your team members and your customers. They don’t need to be as momentous as the moon landings; simply recognising any small personal milestone, proud moment or a significant event shows you care.

Here are some moments you may wish to mark to engage your team and/or your customers

Celebrate and share business successes

  • At the end of the year remind your team of all your achievements over the past 12 months and create a buzz for the year ahead. What milestones have you achieved as a business and individually? What were the highlights? Engage your team by recognising their contribution. Team members are more likely to be loyal and work harder for a business they believe in.
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  • Let everyone know when you’ve had a good month, won a significant piece of new business, or achieved an important milestone. Share the success with your team (and customers if appropriate). Recognise and show your appreciation for those who have contributed to this success. Be sure to recognise all departments, including back of house staff, or those in non-customer facing roles.This can be a great morale booster; it’s a great way to thank them for helping get to this point and to gain buy-in for the potential work it will involve over time.
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  • Don’t forget key anniversaries for your business; it’s a great way to remind your team of your heritage and the values your business is built upon. Even if you’re not long established as a business track back to key moments in your own background (particularly relevant if you are a family run business), or research the history of your building or area, or key historical dates in your industry.

Proud personal moments

  • Recognise and celebrate with your team members those important moments outside work: arrival of their first grandchild, child’s graduation, a significant fund raising activity for charity, a personal achievement such as passing their driving test.
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  • Make a note of the key dates in their world – significant birthdays and wedding anniversaries; remembering these can make that person feel that little bit special on their special day.
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  • Remember the anniversary of the date each of your team members joined your business or your department. If you’ve a large team you might decide to celebrate the anniversaries of everyone who joined in the current month. This is a great excuse to bring people together who might not normally work closely together.

Celebrate non-work events

Be aware of other celebrations happening elsewhere which may resonate with your team. Such as:

  • Sporting success, such as those this month – we’ve seen Cricket World Cup, Wimbledon, Formula 1 GP, Women’s football.
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  • Charity events such as Red Nose Day, Children in Need, Macmillan Coffee Morning (27th September 2019).

Marking the occasion

It’s good to have the milestones marked on the calendar, but even better if you do something to celebrate.

Celebrations don’t need to be lavish. What’s more important is that they are sincere and will be appreciated by those you share them with.

  • A simple card to mark the occasion is a pleasant surprise, and adds a very personal touch, particularly when hand-picked and hand-written.
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  • Allow the freedom to have some fun; this doesn’t mean being unprofessional, but looking for opportunities that create a relaxed and enjoyable place to celebrate in keeping with the occasion.
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  • Recognise that some people love the limelight, others hate it. Sometimes a quiet “congratulations and well done” is all that’s needed and will have more impact than any over the top celebration.
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  • If it’s an occasion to be shared, will taking time out for coffee and cake to celebrate the occasion be a more appropriate way to engage team members than taking everyone down to the pub?
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  • When your team members are celebrating a personal milestone extending the treat to be shared with their loved one(s) not only makes your team member feel good but shows your appreciation of the support given by their friends and family.
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  • It may be that the best and simplest way to help team members mark a special occasion is giving them the opportunity to knock off early, so they have more time to celebrate with their family and friends.
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  • 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 an award is a great booster.

Inviting your customers to celebrate

Marking milestones with customers is a good way to stay on their radar.

  • Many of the above ideas work well for customers, or a little unexpected gift (which might also be an excuse for them to visit again, but ensure it is something they will value, not just a blatant promotion for more business) can make them feel special and appreciated.
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  • If you’re a hospitality or leisure business, the most obvious things to celebrate are birthdays and anniversaries.
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  • Capture your customers’ birthdays, anniversaries and special dates on your database (with their permission of course) and then invite them back to your venue to celebrate, and receive something special of value to them. An easy win is to invite wedding couples back for their first (and subsequent) anniversary.
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  • For business customers congratulate them on a significant anniversary in their business, or the anniversary of when you started working with them (and this helps to reinforce your relationship).
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  • Keep your eyes on your local press for businesses winning awards or celebrating their own anniversaries, and send them your congratulations.
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  • Don’t forget anniversaries for your own business; it’s a great way to blow your own trumpet!

Take action

If you only do one thing:

  • Look ahead for the next month and identify the milestones you might mark to engage your team and/or customers to show them you are thinking of them.

10 more ways to engage your team and show them some love

3 Things to get your team enthused this week



Creating a Learning Culture

Creating a learning culture

Can we really learn from mistakes?

Well, yes. Providing we’re able to spot the mistake, make the effort to understand the mistake and be open to learning from it.

And the same applies with your team.

Let me explain…

A few weeks’ ago, I was at a conference and one of the talks was on creating a learning culture. To my mind there was one aspect of this which was completely overlooked. And that was to create a learning culture you have to be prepared for people to make mistakes and to help them learn from these. Unless you do people will not be prepared to try new things or take a chance on taking action for fear of messing up and being blamed – even when they think it’s the right thing to do.

Here are 10 ideas to help create a learning culture, one where it’s ok to take a chance and make the odd mistake, so long as you learn from it.

  1. Set the example. Admit when you’ve made a mistake – when you’re open about making mistakes your team will be recognise that everyone makes mistakes. But, make sure you also focus on what’s been learnt as a result of that mistake (see The Emotional Bank Account)
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  2. Demonstrate your trust in team members by giving them responsibility and authority to do what they believe is right. E.g. to respond to customers’ expectations and requests in the way that they see fit. If they truly understand your values and what’s of most importance generally they’ll work out the best route to get there.
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  3. Define what levels of authority your team members have in any given situation, and give them examples of when they need to refer to a manager or get sign off, and when it’s OK for them to make the decision. But when you do have to get involved use this as an opportunity for others to learn from the situation, by explaining your approach and why you approached it in the way you did.
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  4. Build confidence; often people know what they should be doing, but just lack that certainty and confidence to do this really well, so give time and an opportunity for them to practise in a safe environment.
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  5. Listen out for hesitation. When you hear a team member saying  “I can’t…” that might be an indication they are fearful of making a mistake. Talk this through with them to identify any obstacles. Do they have the necessary resources, time, authority, peer support?  Let them know you are still there to support them.
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  6. Don’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to find their own way of doing things, and they shouldn’t feel afraid to make the odd mistake when they initially put principles into practice. Recognise and reward as they improve, even if things are not yet perfect.
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  7. Foster a supportive culture. It should be okay to ask questions and admit they don’t know all the answers, where they’re encouraged to seek out new activities and it’s accepted that people won’t always get things right. Recognise even marginal gains in performance are a step forward.
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  8. Give supportive feedback, and help people see their own mistakes, as well as encouraging them by pointing out what’s gone well. https://www.naturallyloyal.com/giving-effective-feedback/
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  9. Reframing. Get people into the habit of looking for solutions rather than trying to blame others. Asking “what can I do to improve the situation?” “What’s in my control?” Rather than focusing on what’s gone wrong, or seeing it as a failure.
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  10. Think about your emotional states. When you, your team – any of us – are in an unresourceful state (such as anger, exhaustion, boredom) if faced with challenges the tiniest problem can lead us to frustration or aggression; the slightest failure can lead to disappointment, blame or self-doubt; a hint of rejection can lead to defensiveness.

Take action

If you only do one thing towards creating a learning culture…

The next time you or any of your team make a mistake use it as an opportunity to learn from it and move on.

Book recommendation:

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.

An inspiring book about how we cannot grow unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes, by understanding and overcoming failures and demonstrates how even marginal gains all contribute to success.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Box-Thinking-Surprising-Success/dp/1473613779