Why you should treat staff like your customers

By Tayo Leigh

 29 Sep 2015     Comments

In recent years, the internet has given consumers more power over how companies treat them. Bad customer service is promoted globally in seconds, and really bad customer service costs people their jobs.

Because of this, the importance of consumers has (quite rightly) increased.

As the expectations upon employees rises however, the need for employers to acknowledge and support them has increased with it.

Are you a good boss?

As an employer with a dedicated customer service team, how do you ensure staff don’t break under those expectations, but instead thrive in the face of consumer demands?

Richard Branson’s Virgin brand is one example of how to be a top employer. Frequently voted as such, Branson has been quoted as saying ‘we train our staff so they can go anywhere; we treat them so they never want to’. Here are just some of the ways he attracts the best staff, and keeps them:

  • Training and development – Virgin’s entrepreneurial spirit means no one stands still, they want people who can think for themselves.

  • Working conditions – Fun is what keeps their brand alive, staff enjoying their job is as high a priority as customers.

  • Family – Their staff are always part of their ad campaigns, it’s not just about Branson or the brand.

  • Holidays – Staff are free to choose how many days they take. Not everyone can afford to do this, but the confidence to give his staff the choice shows respect.

  • Pride – Staff feel they part of something that people want, something that is always improving.

So how might you ensure staff don’t feel they are being taken for granted?

  • Include - Make them part of your company’s success by offering shares, incentives or results-based bonuses. At the very least have a small monthly prize with changing criteria so everyone gets a chance to shine.

  • Innovate – Don’t just repeat successes. If you’re always looking to introduce new products or marketing tactics, it shows staff you’re not standing still and they may have a chance to turn one of their ‘big ideas’ into a reality.

  • Support – If they have to deal with a tough customer, knowing you will back them up whatever their decision means they can act with confidence. Contradicting them undermines and demotivates.

  • Promote – When your staff do something well, tell the world! Tell the press, put it on your website, send out a newsletter or make a pull-up banner with a picture of them all for reception – whatever it takes to prove how much you value them.

Start treating your staff as well as your customers and not only will you be able to deliver a much better service, as your staff are much happier, but your recruitment costs will plummet as they’ll never want to leave!


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