When they walk in to or call your office, most of your clients first come in contact with the employee who is at the bottom of your organizational pyramid. How that employee and other staff treat your clients day in and day out is a major key to client loyalty.
So it’s critical to provide proper training, motivation and recognition to the people who will be face-to-face or on the phone with your clients. What kinds of things can you do to get your staff to care about client relationships?
Hold regular staff meetings. Short weekly meetings are ideal. People perform best when they know what’s going on. What is the organization trying to accomplish? How does each employee contribute to the goal? Why should they care? You need “buy-in” from your employees and only you can sell that.
Ask for their input at staff meetings. If employees have a hand in creating policies, programs and procedures, they’ll be much more supportive. If you’re making them do things the hard way, they’re never going to do them with a smile. Remember that people who have their hands on problems every day often come up with the best solutions.
Reward performance. Create standards and rewards for exceeding them. It doesn’t even have to be just cash. In fact, numerous studies have shown that the No. 1 thing people want from their employers is recognition. Yes, they have to make money. But a pat on the back or employee of the month parking spot goes a long way.
At the same time, set a zero-tolerance policy on client mistreatment. You can’t afford an employee with a short fuse. Some people just don’t belong in client contact positions.
Give them a stake. Client loyalty is good for your bottom line. If it’s good for your staff’s individual bottom lines, they’ll pay more attention. Measure client loyalty and post the results. Then add something to everyone’s paycheck so they share in your success.
To read more on this topic, be sure to check out the article, “Earning Customer Loyalty” in the May issue of Advisor Today.
Larry Mersereau is a nationally known speaker and the author of four books on business growth. All books are available on his web site at http://promopower.com, Amazon.com, or in better bookstores.