How well is your team supporting your bottom line? After all, they are entirely responsible.
Here’s a seldom realized fact. Your entire work force is controlling your bottom line. Depending on their attitude and their mood today, they will determine which customers are happy with your company today and which are not. If you’re an online company with no face to face or phone contact, then your ability to create the same in a customer is entirely dependent on the software and the internet. Yes, your product is important too, but delivery (or postage and handling) holds much more weight than you can imagine.
Schools have not placed an important enough emphasis on communication and the workforce shows it. We spend a lot of time teaching the right things in schools, math, science, English, etc. What we miss out on is teaching how to communicate what we learn, not just orally, but written and through arts as well. The reason I bring this up is because we lack good communication skills when it comes time to interacting in business, we miss the boat.
The first part of communication is listening. If you don’t listen actively, you will miss out on the message, the non-verbal clues and any body language associated with the conversation. Too often, I go into a retail store and the person at the checkout or register doesn’t make eye contact. They’ll ask a question and type or key something into their computer while I’m talking. I’m not sold that they are hearing everything I said nor care about my answer. How often do you have a conversation with someone who is looking at their smartphone while you’re talking to them? Do you really think they’re listening? Not really. So what will happen is you’ll be repeating what you just said for the convenience of the clerk who was too busy to look at you and actually hear what you said or know what facial expressions you said it with. The listener (or actually passive listener) is missing out on the connection in this transaction.
This connection is a necessary part of any business transaction. The receiver wants to know that he or she has made a good purchase, a valued purchase and that is achieved through personalization. Eye contact, a verbal acknowledgement, a smile, a thank you, a handshake, a personal remark on a personal level, these are all connecting gestures that mean something to the purchaser. When the level of trust increases because of comfort with the person you are dealing with, the level of loyalty will increase as well. That is repeat business. It can happen in any business transaction. People want to deal with honest and friendly merchants.
If you want to know why you’re not getting repeat business, pay attention to how your employees are treating your customers. Here are some pointers on good communication:
- Teach them to lose the automation of transactions and become more personal.
- Tell them about making eye contact, reading faces and body language.
- They don’t need to fill the void of talk with senseless babble.
- Keep the conversation positive.
- Tell them its okay to empathize with someone when a transaction has gone sideways.
Give them enough leverage to make the situation right with the customer. Managers, business leaders and owners can help this by creating positive and enjoyable working environments. Treat your workers well, set high expectations and let them know how they are doing, good or bad. They’ll become loyal employees that create loyal custom
Leading Edge Business Strategies, LLC is a consulting firm for small business. Paul Beaudette is the President and has over 30 years of successful business experience managing companies to sustainable profits and leading employees to being productive and aspiring to growth.
“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character.” -General Norman Schwarzkokpf