As you know, our Brand Vision is 100% Client Retention. However, we’ve been blogging a lot about our big initiative for 2014: 100% Customer Satisfaction. You cannot have 100% Client Retention without 100% Customer Satisfaction. We talked about the importance of customer satisfaction as a low-overhead revenue generator for your business. And last week, we touched on how you can leverage your employees to reach your service goals, by discussing the all-important role of the Crew Leader.
Now, we want to examine the connection between employees and customers even further. And in doing so, we’re going to make a bold statement: 100% Customer Satisfaction = 100% Employee Retention.
If you think about it, it just makes sense. Your employees cannot deliver extraordinary customer service if they’re not happy at their jobs. We’ve said that before. If you want every customer experience to go above and beyond—if you want to be in the business of service, not grounds care—then every person who touches the customer must be part of that equation. We saw last week how the Crew Leader was actually a customer service position. What would happen if you started thinking of all your jobs as customer service positions?
For one thing, it would change the way you hire. Even a gardener needs to do more than just mow or edge. He should possess basic service skills, such as putting the client first, making sure he does the job right, responsiveness, and taking pride in his work.
In fact, everyone in your office should demonstrate these qualities. If a prospective office manager comes for an interview and doesn’t seem to care about improving communities or changing lives…that’s probably not the best service professional to hire. It doesn’t matter how organized he or she is, or how great at keeping the books. Truly caring about our clients is what sets U.S. Lawns apart. That’s service; not just business.
At this point, you might be asking, “How do I get a gardener or an office manager to care about my clients? How do I get them to see themselves in a service role?”
The answer is simple: 100% Employee Retention. In other words, it’s your job to both recruit and retain service-oriented employees at every level of your staff. Sometimes recruiting is easy; retention can be the hard part. Everybody struggles with coming to work day after day, especially physical laborers who may be toiling in the heat or humidity. So if you want happy employees who care about serving others, it’s your job to make sure their needs are taken care of.
Let’s be clear: everyone has to work. Your employees must do their jobs, and do them well. That is a principle of our Brand DNA that should never change. But we want our employees to enjoy their work—to be fulfilled by their work. And that can happen in several ways. Employee Retention is about listening to your staff when they come to you with suggestions or even complaints. It’s about making them feel part of a team, a community.
Employee Retention can be impacted positively by employee benefits, such as 401(k) and bonuses, rewards for meeting goals, a company culture that’s positive and engaging, team activities—basically, whatever helps your staff feel appreciated and compensated for going above and beyond.
But the most important part of retaining great employees is sharing your vision with them. Hang a poster of the U.S. Lawns Brand DNA in the shop, and live those Brand Values every day. Start your crews each morning by chanting our mantra: “Your Turf. Our Lawn.” Talk to your team at every level about the goal of 100% Customer Satisfaction, and maybe set up a game or reward system to help them reach it.
If 100% of your employees are satisfied with their jobs, you can begin to build a strong customer relations initiative. If even one disgruntled team member interacts with a client, it can mean the difference between keeping an account and losing it. That’s why great customer service begins internally. 100% Customer Satisfaction = 100% Employee Retention.