Leaders of companies often ask me how they can dramatically improve relationships with their customers
and thereby grow their bottom line. My response is, “You need to maximize your talent. Why? Because people
do business with people. They don’t do business with companies.
1. Hire right.
Sounds simple, yet many companies have a tough time doing this well.
Forget about looking for the star athlete who scored the winning touchdown
for the team back in 2001. Instead, hire people with enthusiasm and a good
head on their shoulders. Then get out of the way and let them perform.
One company that does this particularly well is Kimpton Hotels. The leaders at Kimpton
understand that a hotel is nothing more than a building with beds. The only way to truly
differentiate one building (or in this case hotel) from another is to provide a memorable
experience and the only way you can accomplish this is to hire passionate people who share
your vision for success. Guests are constantly posting stories online about unexpected upgrades,
which do not involve an intervention by management, complimentary keys to the minibar and
exceptional service all around. How is a competitor supposed to compete with this?
That’s exactly my point. Each and every one of you should be working towards creating this type
of connection with your customers so they never consider moving their business elsewhere.
All the policies in the world will not make this a reality. Your front line people and their
leaders are the only ones that can make this happen.
2. Give your people the tools they need to be exceptional.
Imagine being on a racetrack where your competitor is driving a Bentley and you’ve
been assigned a Volkswagen. Any doubts as to which of you will be taking home the
trophy? Yet businesses everyday are asking their people to compete with organizations
that have fine tuned engines. These people eventually putter out and the organization
replaces them, yet continues to do business as usual. The companies that are winning
the race for business and top talent investing in equipment and development of their
people. They are positioning themselves to take the lead, while others still have
their foot on the brake.
You cannot cut your way to growth. You also cannot expect that everyone will come to your
organization with all the skills needed to succeed on day one. My most successful clients
continue to invest in coaching and leadership development, even when budgets are tight. I
suggest you do the same so your employees can impress your those who are most important to
you –your customers.
3. Fire people who no longer deserve a place on your team.
Lately there has been a lot of discussion among colleagues of mine who are coaching
business owners and high-level executives regarding termination of non-performers.
Clients are asking for recommendations on what to do with people who aren’t working
out and are then doing everything possible to avoid implementing the advice they have
been given. Failure to take action is costing the organization loss of revenue, repute,
productivity, etc. I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that these situations
rarely get better. In fact, most get worse.
Take action today. Do so before you get trapped in the “How can I fire this guy when
the holidays are right around the corner” syndrome. Treat him with dignity, be generous
when putting together a separation package and get ready to replace this individual with
a super star.
4. Recognize those who are doing the lion’s share of the work.
It happens in many organizations. You have a few people doing a good majority of the work.
Let those people know that you appreciate their efforts. Take this one step further by
giving them a promotion or at a minimum, a generous bonus.
People yearn for recognition from their employers. They just want someone to recognize they
are giving their best. Be that person or they will find someone else who will thank them for
a job well done.
5. Seek out the opinions from your employee and then listen while they respond.
I’ve observed employers who are checking e-mail on their phones while their employees are sharing
their thoughts on how to improve service. These same employees are going back to their desks and
checking their phones to see if they’ve received an e-mail from their headhunter.
When having conversations with employees, be present. This means being in the moment and focusing
on what the other people in the room are saying. If you can’t do that, then save everyone a lot of
time and anguish. Run the company yourself, because eventually that may become your reality.
We are changing things up in our newsletter for 2014 and will be providing additional value on
how you can dramatically increase market share and profitability. Do you have a particular topic
that you’d like to see me cover? E-mail me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com and let me know.
© 2013 Matuson Consulting. All rights reserved.