Are Your Staff Killing It? Or Killing Your Business?
I recently popped down to the local bakery to buy my family a late lunch over the weekend. It was 2:30pm in the afternoon so the lunch time rush was pretty much over but there were still a few people around. I took my daughter into the store, with a $50 note in my pocket, happy to spend the lot if necessary, on delicious pastries, sandwiches and other fabulous bakery treats.
We were greeted (if you could call it that) by a large, grumpy women who was clearly trying to clean up so she could close the shop and go home (even though the shop stays open til 4pm). When I looked down at the salad bar I could see she had put the plastic cover on in an attempt to deter any potential customers from ordering a sandwich. Now I love a good choc chip muffin and a pie as much as the next person but we had planned on having salad rolls, at least initially (so you don’t look so piggy of course).
When I asked the women if we were able to buy a few sandwiches, she instantly rolled her eyes at us and started mumbling about trying to clean up and go home early, but all the while uncovering the salad bar and asking us which bread we wanted. I was so astonished by how rude this women was, I couldn’t help but ask as I was paying ‘are you the owner of this business’? To which she replied ‘no, I’m not’ in an increasingly friendly manner.
She had realised almost immediately that she was potentially in trouble as I was trying to ascertain if it was her own business she was damaging so much, or someone else’s. Which of course I instinctively knew was the case.
It made me think about how much power employees have when it comes to customer service, and how important it is to get the right people working for you. And that is why huge businesses like Apple take extreme care when hiring their staff. They even use this simple acronym to help their staff with the customer service experience:
A – Approach customers with a personalised, warm welcome.
P – Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs.
P – Present a solution for the customer to take home today.
L – Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.
E – End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.
And there’s not too many of us who have ever been into an Apple store and had a bad experience.
The truth of the matter is, if you’re a Small Business owner your staff can make or break your business. But even the smallest business can learn from the big guys and implement the basic principles of their methods and strategies.
So what do you think is the best way to handle the bakery situation? Go back and tell the business owner of the experience? Or do you just move on and never go back there? If I was the business owner I would definitely want to know if my staff were treating customers rudely and making an impact on sales. But is it really my responsibility to inform the owner?
Most people will likely just never come back if they have a bad experience with a staff member. So don’t let that happen to your business. Instead, come up with a deliberate approach to customer service (it doesn’t have to be overly complicated) and ensure your staff are nailing it every time.
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