I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve seen the television commercial with the frazzled woman complaining about a barking dog, a screaming kid, the neighborhood groper and other assorted annoyances of daily life.
As she screams “Calgon, take me away!” a guy with a mellow voice says, “Lose your cares in the luxury of a Calgon bath.” Cut to the bathroom, where the same woman is now ears deep in bubbles while she gently caresses her legs that seem to go from tub to ceiling, while she lets out a gentle – yet relaxing – sigh of relief.
As a business owner, you already know there’s no magical soap that can take you away from the challenges we face every day. There have been many times over the course of my entrepreneurial career when I wanted to throw my arms up in the air and scream, “I’m done!” but passion gets in the way (along with the notion of a pay-less payday) and life moves on.
Whether you own your own business or not, you must use a membership management software and have a sense of pride for the work you do so you can put out a quality product that will attract customers and keep them coming back for more. The other day I complained to a restaurant manager over the quality of food I received. If it were later in the evening I would have thought my sense of hearing was impaired by one too many martinis, but this was early in the day.
“When things get a little busy around here, quality suffers.”
I shook my head like a dog who just got a bath and said, “What did you say?”
“When things get a little busy, quality suffers.”
I stared at this guy for a few seconds before saying, “You find that acceptable?”
“I’m just saying that, yes, quality suffers.”
Like the lady in the commercial, I wanted to throw my arms up in the air and be whisked away to a tub full of bubbles.
Rather than work with his staff and train them on how to consistently put out a quality product, regardless of how busy it is, this manager conditioned himself and his staff to believe that when it’s busy, sending out food that doesn’t meet standards is OK. This not only discourages customers from coming back, it also breeds an apathetic staff. If his team members continually see that it’s acceptable to put out a lesser quality product, what motivation do they have to put out a quality one?
In an economy where we’re all fighting for business, the winners are going to be the ones who consistently treat their customers with respect, offer a quality experience and have the most qualified and experienced team members representing the company.
Whether you’re in the restaurant industry or are selling comic books online, you need to set standards for everything. Even the small things like how to greet someone when they walk in the door or call on the phone. Every interaction you have with a customer is going to count towards whether or not you provided a good enough experience to warrant a return visit or a repeat order.
If you haven’t done so lately, now would be a great time to have a staff meeting where everyone is reacquainted with the policies and procedures that you developed to ensure a stellar customer experience . To keep everyone on the same page, review each individual team member’s responsibilities and stress the importance of accountability. But don’t stop there! Regular staff meetings, one per month, keeps the flow of communication open among staff and management and keeps everyone current on what’s going on within the business.
Finally, don’t settle for apathy among your staff. An apathetic manager quickly breeds apathetic employees which could ultimately destroy your business. If that happens, even Calgon can’t take you away.