Improve customer service by treating your employees well

August 17, 2010
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Note: This is the first in a series of articles about improving your business’ customer service.

Common knowledge: Good customer service is an integral component to every business. Not-so-common knowledge: Businesses that retain existing customers see a 9% higher growth rate.

So while new customers are imperative to the long-term growth of any company, what that 9% growth rate tells us is that existing customers have a lot of power when it comes to the success of a business, and customer satisfaction directly impacts your bottom line.

A few more things to keep in mind:

  • Getting a new customer can cost 6-8 times more than keeping an existing customer.
  • Existing customers, on average, provide a 12% higher profit margin.

So how do you ensure that your current customers are happy? We’ve prepared six tips guaranteed to improve any customer service experience. Today, we focus on treating your employees well.

Employees are the lifeblood of any company. They are the people your customers are most likely to interact with, and because of this, they are often the source of a customer’s bad experience. The employee could simply be having a bad day, or maybe they’re burnt out or stressed about their job.

Either way, it’s important to go out of your way to treat employees well, so that they, in turn, treat customers well. You’re probably already thinking, “Does that mean I have to hand out bonuses or offer monetary incentives?” Not necessarily.

Nugget Markets, a 10-store grocer in northern California, gives its employees incentives to come in every day. Field trips, parties and free food are frequent for its 900 full-time employees. COO Chris Carpenter makes sure employee satisfaction is a priority.

“We want our team to know how much they’re appreciated,” he told Forbes.com. “That’s the number one thing we want them to understand.”

The results? The grocery industry’s average turnover rate is 20%. Nugget Markets’ is 12%.

Another company, Rackspace, based on San Antonio, Texas, allocates a “fun budget” to each of its internal teams. Employees have used it for things like tubing, laser tag and video games.

Now maybe your company’s culture doesn’t align with that of the ones in these examples, but small things like an employee potluck or a group outing once a month can go a long way in improving or simply maintaining your team’s attitude toward the workplace. And happy employees often mean happy customers.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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One Response to Improve customer service by treating your employees well

  1. […] the last installment of this series, we talked about treating your employees well in order to improve customer service. We talked about breeding a company culture that rewards the […]

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