June/July 2015 Issue of Small Business Today Magazine, Houston
In the words of General Norman Schwarzkopf: “I think that there is one really fundamental military truth and that’s that you can add up the correlation of forces, you can look at the number of tanks, you can look at the number of airplanes, you can look at all these factors of military might and put the together; but unless the soldier on the ground or the airman in the air has the will to win, has the strength of character to go into battle… all the rest of that stuff is irrelevant.”
It is each of our employees of associates in the company who, together, make our business continue to grow. Our website can be the most up-to-date, Google SEO awesome, our brochures filled with colorful graphics and our ads so inspiring and purposeful that you want to tear them out and tape them to a wall; but out individual colleagues must be customer friendly to the point of making our customers feel like they are well-received in an environment that is appreciative of their business. All the beautiful bells and whistles we have invested in time and resources mean nothing is the “soldier” greeting the customer as they enter or call on our business has a negative attitude of demonstrates negative body language.
Training a new hire has to be centered on the actual tasks necessary for their individual key responsibilities but the overriding evaluation during training is attitude. Attitude can make or break a customer relationship and eventually close the operations of a company.
Here are some attitudes that are universally considered undesirable:
- Talking over the person who is trying to talk
- Not listening to the customer [& instead] thinking of the next statement back to the dissatisfied customer
- Not making eye contact with the customer
- Demonstrating body language that says, “I’m in a hurry and you are taking up my time”
- Not greeting the customer when they arrive
- Greeting the customer in an unfriendly or disinterested type of greeting
- When the customer asks a question, the associate or employee shrugs their shoulders and/or grunts a reply
- When [speaking] to the customer, an employee walks away without stating what they’re doing or where they’re going
At our business, we have grown to become the largest real estate school in the nation because of our quality, first-rate reputation. Here are the daily practices within our company that are universally considered desirable and complimentary:
- Compliments are consistent to the point of bringing in new business daily
- Every customer gets a friendly greeting when they call or walk in the door
- Emails are reviewed so they demonstrate a happy and helpful employee
- When the customer is speaking, acknowledge the customer with eye contact and a helpful/positive [facial expression]
- We don’t interrupt the customer when they are talking or asking a question
- If we need to walk away to access the computer, materials or product, we tell the customer what we are doing
- We always stay calm and have a positive attitude
- End every contact/conversation with, “Is there anything else I can do for you? and “Thank you for your business.”
Many of our customers consistently state, “When we arrive in your place of business, we feel like we are home.” That is the utmost compliment to any business. It is completely up to management and ownership to take regular feedback from customers seriously, and if there is an issue, take care of it immediately! By the same token, when employees get compliments and kudos, they are to be acknowledged and praised.
“Each individual person is the true key to success!”