It has been found that it is impossible to keep a foundation of loyal customers without a foundation of loyal employees

It has been found that it is impossible to keep a foundation of loyal customers without a foundation of loyal employees.  The best employees prefer to work for companies that provide the type of exceptional value that creates customer loyalty, thus, creating loyalty has become the toughest test for leadership.

Improving customer service has become the non-ending milestone for many companies, and they are right, because a company’s profitability is intimately related to its customer loyalty.  It has been measured that a happy customer gives 2.6 times more profit than a ‘neutral’ customer.

This is why customer service training programs are “in vogue”, with companies spending a lot of money and time on educating their employees on how to treat and ‘deal’ with customers.  What these companies and managers don’t get is that these trainings do not reach the core of the issue.  True change will come when they start giving their employees the same caring treatment they want to give their customers.

It is very common to see situations where employees are sent to congeniality courses to learn to be amiable and to deal with difficult clients, while they themselves are faced with situations at work that lower their self-esteem and that are not taken seriously by their managers.  Too often, employees are asked to smile and be nice while they are working extra hours due to a reduced payroll, with equipment that doesn’t work right, and supporting a product that is far from optimal.

There is a saying in Spanish that goes, ‘You can dress a monkey in silk, but it will still be a monkey’.  Instead of dealing with the real issue, managers more often than desired, try to disguise the ugly truth.  In the end, the monkey not only stays a monkey, but also now is really upset for having been messed with.

Great customer service depends on the people providing that service. They have to be willing to serve well. They have to be inspired to go beyond what is their responsibility, in other words, they have to be treated well.  When people work in a positive environment, where they feel cared for, where they feel important, where they feel the enthusiasm, they will correspond with loyalty and dedication.  No manager can force his team to be committed; this is something that is born out of pride for being a part of something good.

Employees’ commitment is so important that it can even save lives.  There was a study developed in several hospital cardiac care units.  It was demonstrated that in the units where the nurses suffered from depression, the patients died four times more than in the other units.

A company will have strong customer service if it has strong leadership, and the commitment that this leadership conveys.  A great brand has to be earned, it can’t be bought; in the end, the customers build it.

John Hersey is a successful business owner, published author and motivational leadership speaker. John writes one of the most recognized leadership blogs in the business world: http://www.JohnHersey.com/blog

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