Promote Employee Engagement

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Are your employees aware of your mission?  Have they seen and read your mission statement?  Are they effectively engaging your customers to encourage return business?  One of the biggest misconceptions in business is that customer service is easy - that is it just a matter of being nice and polite.  Certainly being nice and polite are essential to dealing with customers; but the truth is that customer service is a cultivated work skill like any other.  By helping your employees to personally connect with your mission, you can improve your customer experience. 

Here are 4 ways to get your employees to feel a personal connection with your mission and customers:

1. Communicate

Make sure that your employees are aware of your mission.  Pick multiple communication methods to make teach them your organizational goals.  Tell them what the goals of your company are, and share with they your vision.  Let them know what is expected of them, and how this will help to achieve the vision.  Create and post a mission statement for them to see.  This will remind them of your expectations, and seeing a mission statement may reassure customers.

Give regular feedback and encouragement.  Employees who get regular communication on the way that their behavior affects your mission and customers tend to be more conscientious.  By encouraging and rewarding the best performers, it reinforces their behavior, and it gives other employees an idea of the behaviors that they should emulate, and an idea of the rewards for doing so.

2. Sweat the Small Stuff

As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details.”  I don’t know if that is true or not for the devil, but it is certainly true for everything else.  The details are the difference between exception and mediocre performance.  Show your employees how the little things, like greeting customers, keeping the shop orderly, and making sure that your waiting area is clean and well stocked, are in line with your mission.  

It can be counter-productive to lose sight of the big picture over the details, but success is built on the little things, not by ignoring them.  It can even be surprising how much an emphasis on the little details can improve your business and your customers' experiences.

3. Get Out of the Shop

This is something that companies used to be a lot better about.  Getting out of the shop and spending time together is a great way to team build and reward employees.  It doesn’t have to be as elaborate or expensive as a holiday dinner party (we like to have cookouts in someone’s backyard). Be creative with it, go out bowling or to a park.  

This can also be the perfect environment to communicate information about mission and vision.  This way, your employees are free for the distractions and possible stresses of work, and can really engage in the discussion.  They will not only be able to absorb your message, but give you feedback and suggestions.

4. Training is Fundamental

... and it starts at the top.  It’s not enough to show an employee what they need to be doing.  An effective manager has to lead by example, and explain  how their actions affect the shop.  This will help employees to see that what they do and how they do it matters.

Remember, customer service is more than asking your employees to be nice to everyone.  Empower your employees by giving them regular customer service training that is in line with your mission.  Remind them of the little things that can be done to improve the workplace and how those details build toward your vision.

Adam Irby