Often, I spend more time on a plane than shopping or making purchases from businesses. Therefore, the experience I get from the flight attendant—the frontline employee—makes a big difference in my level of satisfaction with the flight. When I board the plane, that satisfactory frontline experience rests on the flight attendant’s attitude and behavior on that particular day. No make what type of experience you have with the airline staff, at the end of the flight, the captain usually announces, ‘‘We know you have a choice when you fly, so thank you for choosing our airline.”
As a frequent flyer, take my word for it, you don’t have the choices they mention. Depending on your airport, destination and inflexible travel date and time, the choices are limited at best. I have had situations that were a choice of either take it or leave it. Therefore, that frontline experience can make that limited option enjoyable or add to the frustration.
Frontline Experiences Make a Difference
The same can be true of your business. Your customer’s frontline experience makes all the difference. However, unlike the lack of options with the airlines, your customers may have many options.
Remember the old axiom, “You only have one chance to make a good first impression?” That is not only true with a prospective or new customer. It applies to every encounter your business has with a repeat customer. I would like to think that a long-time customer might view a bad experience as an isolated incident caused by a single rogue employee. Still, it might not take much more to push the customer into the waiting arms of a competitor.
Happy Employees Equal Happy Customers
I have never seen happy customers when there are unhappy employees. I have seen happy employees and unhappy customers. This usually results when employees have no supervision or the wrong supervision. It can also happen with employees who lack a work ethic or believe they are entitled. If a person doesn’t like sand, why would you take them to the beach? Likewise, if an employee doesn’t like to deal with customers, then don’t give him a job that requires customer interaction.
Stop relying solely on a resume to make hiring decisions. Instead, hire enthusiasm. You can teach product knowledge and service skills. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you can teach enthusiasm. Get rid of people who repeatedly have bad days. Your business can’t afford it. And if you, the owner, are having a bad day and can’t leave it at the curb, stay home. For your staff and customers, you represent the ultimate frontline face of your company. It is imperative that you demonstrate to your staff the behaviors you would like to see given to your customers.
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