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Ben Zapata: What Happens When You Treat Your Employees like They are Customers

How do you want your staff to treat your customers? I could write a whole article (or maybe even a book) about customer service, but suffice to say you want your employees acting warm, respectful, and friendly to your customers. There are several basic habits you want them to form, which may include smiling, a firm handshake, and others. Again, this is for another time.

For now, I want you to picture the ideal interaction between an employee and a customer. How is the employee conducting themself, and how are they behaving? Now I want you to picture yourself treating that employee in that same ideal way. I ask you to do this because something magical happens when you treat your staff like you want them to treat your customers: everyone is happier and more productive, and everyone wins.

Leading by Example

It’s easy to tell your staff about how to treat customers, but nobody wants to feel like they are being lectured. Instead of telling your employees that they should smile, make eye contact, and greet each customer by name, have you thought about trying it with your staff? I’d be willing to be that once they see how valued these practices makes them feel, your employees will make them part of their daily routine sooner rather than later.

Increased Morale

You probably know that happy employees are more productive employees, but do you know how much? Would you be surprised to learn that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than those who are unhappy? In addition to giving your staff on-the-job training by treating them with the courtesy and respect of customers, doing so can make them more productive. There are other benefits of happy and productive employees, including lower turnover, easier hiring—think referrals—and a positive company culture.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

It’s not surprising that this notion of treating your employees like you want them to treat your customers all comes back to the customer themselves. Whether it is retaining customers, building a public reputation, or gaining referral business, good customer service will undoubtedly improve your bottom line. I promise you that treating your employees like they’re your customers will make your customers happier. And since there is a real financial benefit to happy customers, you have everything to gain by having happier employees and customers.

I love to talk and write about customer service and company culture, and treating employees like customers covers both. If you’d like to talk more, I am always up for exchanging ideas. Until then, I encourage you to look back at that ideal employee-customer interaction and consider treating your employees in that manner.

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