“I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers, and that people flourish when they are praised.” – Sir Richard Branson
We have discussed previously and research shows that great customer service is possible only when everyone in the organization is geared towards it. Stellar service and profitable growth and profits have a direct link, therefore, to employee attitude and satisfaction. In fact, the way employees feel about the company they work in has a significant effect on the overall business of a company. Employee attitude is not easy to measure or control beyond a point but if neglected, could have disastrous results for any company. If employees have poor attitude and low morale, their productivity and work quality would be drastically lower than the required standards, while the opposite would be true if employees were happy and satisfied with a company. It cannot be emphasized enough, that it is the responsibility of the company to ensure the happiness and welfare of its employees, which in turn would lead to positive employee attitude.
Investing time, money and sincere effort on employee development has many benefits – engagement, positivity and stellar customer service are just a few of these advantages. Employee attitude does affect the way they treat customers and good attitude would ensure a happy and loyal customer base, resulting in more business and higher spending from customers. The more companies care for their employees, the better would the ‘transfer’ of this care be to customers – the employees would reflect the values of their organization in everything that they do. There have been several studies conducted to understand the link between employee attitude with customer behaviour and the findings have corroborated that there is a direct connection. Positive employee attitude ensures that they interact with customers with a view to understand their needs and goals. Such employees remain motivated to serve the company and its customers with added care and effort.
Employee attitude is also a factor of empowerment – that is, the company they work with provides them with adequate training, proper resources to do their job well and enough discretion to make decisions to fulfil the customer’s needs and demands. This in turn leads to high energy and resoluteness to provide great service to customers in the least possible time. As customers become happier, they provide more business, praise the company and its representatives, which in turn would lead to enhanced positive employee attitude that translates to empathy, respect, understanding and genuine concern for customers. Such positivity encourages customers to trust and depend on the company and willingly promote the company and its products to others as well. The overall business would reflect the value and culture of the company, attracting more customers and some of the brightest talent in the market. Other possible business partners such as investors, vendors and suppliers too would be more than happy to associate with a company that reflects positivity in every aspect including employee attitude.
In order to sustain positive employee attitude, the company must consistently communicate with them and have strategies to encourage engagement. As employees feel engaged in the brand’s values, they would reflect it in their attitude and behaviour towards the company, co-workers and customers. This would drive the overall financial growth and stability of the company since the quality of customer service would be at a peak, leading to positive customer behaviour – high spends and brand advocacy. It all comes down to the way a company treats its employees – respect and care must reflect in everything it does since employees would be able to perceive empty promises and mere lip service. Treating every employee well, irrespective of level and job role, would ensure that each one provides customers with the kind of service that delights them and brings them back repeatedly and often with friends.
Employee attitude would ‘touch’ and reflect in every transaction and interaction between customers and your company. Positive employees would know that providing great customer service is not just about being courteous and polite, but extends to cover many different realms. For example – even if a sales person were working on commission, they would not lie about a product / offering of the company. They would be completely honest and provide the customer with the whole truth. Employees dealing directly with customers would ensure that they provide speedy, efficient and high quality responses and service to all customers, irrespective of the size of the customer’s business. A clear indication of positive employee attitude would be that whoever interacts with a customer, would remember to thank the customer for doing business with them. In addition, they would remain calm and positive even in the face of high-stress situations such as customer complaints. In brick and mortar stores, positive employee attitude can be reflected by being courteous and helpful even to customers who may not buy too much or at all. The fact is a business can never be sure as to which ‘visitor’ eventually becomes their biggest customer.
In order to inculcate and sustain positive employee attitude, a company could provide guidelines and even a list of attributes that would contribute to such attitude. They must receive opportunities to express their views and ideas on what they believe would lead to good attitude and ultimately great service. Involving employees in the various aspect of business and especially customer service would ensure that they feel responsible to provide stellar service, which would result in success for them and the company. By establishing clear and open lines of communication, a company would encourage its employees to do the same – very important from a customer service point of view. Clear and honest communication leads to customer trust – a crucial factor in gaining more and repeated business.
As mentioned earlier, employees, especially front-line, interact with customers directly and all the time. To make them feel important, wanted and encourage positive employee attitude, a company must constantly get their feedback with regard to customers and their perception of the business. Employees must have the confidence that they could discuss problems and concerns with anyone in the company without fear of reprimand and or ridicule. This in turn encourages them to keep an open mind for their co-workers by accepting diversity and working with cooperation. Self-esteem and positive employee attitude can be built by fostering any environment of healthy competition within teams and across the organization. Every effort by employees to enhance the work environment and improve service levels, must be appropriately recognized and rewarded. This would reinforce such positive employee attitude and behaviour, encouraging others to strive to inculcate such behaviours.
Customer service, as we know, is not and cannot be the domain of one department or a small group of people within the company. Rather, it would only succeed through the combined efforts of everyone in the organization and therefore it is the onus of companies to ensure that every employee understands their role in doing so and the importance of keeping a positive attitude towards customers and one another. The workforce is the face of any company and without positive employee attitude, your customers and others would see an ‘unhappy face’ and an unwilling spirit – which would have adverse effects on the overall health of the company. Employee attitude is the direct result of how companies treat their employees – creating an environment of positivity, commitment and respect will ensure that they in turn invest their energy in the success of the company and its customers.