There is an article, written by Micah Solomon, in the online version of Entreprenuer entitled Seven Tips for Building Customer Loyalty. As I was reading it I started to think that these same tips maybe useful in building employee loyalty. So here they are. Tell me what you think.
Tip 1. Anticipate Customer Wishes. Solomon says that meeting a customer need before it has been expressed shows that you care about the customer. He gives the example of bathrooms. Rather than have a sign up that says “If our bathroom needs attention please let us know,” just establish a routine of constantly checking and making sure it is clean, the paper towel dispenser it full, etc. So how can that translate to employees? Well the bathroom is a good example. As is vending machines, office supplies, tool supplies or whatever else is needed by an employee on a daily basis. Don’t make them ask for things they need on a daily basis.
Tip 2. Hire with patience. In an organization aiming for superb service, a single disagreeable or unresponsive team member can erode customer loyalty and team morale. Well that is a no-brainer in relating to employees. No one working for you now wants you to hire another team member that is going to bring strife and dissention. So be careful in your hiring. In fact get the team members involved in the process.
Tip 3. Develop a customer-service vocabulary. Solomon says “Create and rehearse a list of vocabulary words and expressions that fit your brand perfectly. Cut out all off-brand language. For example, the expression “no worries” may sound fine from a clerk at a Portland audio equipment store, but not from a salesperson at Cartier in Milan.” Hmmm… I am not quite sure how to translate this one. Is there a vocabulary you use for achievement, engagement, performance that promotes the employment brand you are trying to use? Is there teamwork language that promotes people’s feeling of “team?” I need some help with this one.
Tip 4. Dedicate yourself to acknowledging each returning customer. Solomon makes the point “Whatever your business and its size, get to know each customer as well as a beloved bartender, doorman, or hairstylist would. For example, the kind who would know each customer’s preferences, the name of her pet, when she was in last and other details.” I will translate this to knowing your employees. Do you know their families? What are their interests, activities, aspirations? I am not saying you have to be involved in their lives, but knowing that someone’s son or daughter is a star athlete or scholar goes along way.
Tip 5. Make every hello and goodbye perfect. Solomon says “Psychological studies demonstrate that customers remember the first and last minutes of a service encounter much more vividly — and for much longer — than all the rest.” So how do you greet your employees in the morning? A cheery hello or a grunt and a wave? How about when they leave at the end of the work day? Do you even acknowledge their exit? If no then perhaps you should make an effort to say goodbye and thank them for a good days work.
Tip 6. Speed up your service. Solomon reports that customers want faster service today than at any other time in the past. Your employees are those same customers. They expect faster service where they do business so why wouldn’t they expect it in their workplace. They will want faster decisions, faster answers and faster actions from their management. How can you give it to them? By the way, this starts with hiring decisions. Do you take forever to make a decision on someone? What message does that send?
Tip 7. Show your personality. As Solomon says “When customers choose to interact with a person at your company, they want the transaction to be, well, human — even in an online interaction.” When employees interact with management or human resources they want to be treated as a human by a human. Yes we talk about employees as assests. Yes we talk about employees as a personnel file. Yes we talk about employees as a cost to the company. That doesn’t mean they need to be interacted with in that manner.
So there you have seven tips that may help promote employee loyalty in the same manner you can help promote customer loyalty. It this list the end all of employee loyalty? Nope, not by a long shot. But doing these things can certainly get you going on the right road.