GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: Treat your employees well

Growing your businessby Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

A few years ago, Herb Kelleher, the CEO and founder of Southwest Airlines shook up the business world by declaring that the employee comes first, and the customer comes second. At first people were shocked, they could not understand such heresy. Of course, the customer comes first, everybody knows that since the customer is always right …right?

But wise old Herb Kelleher went on to explain that the happier the employees were, the more prone they would be to treat the customers like gold, the way they should be treated.

And to those of us who have flown Southwest Airlines we have witnessed first hand that Kelleher was right. Those flight attendants are the cheeriest bunch of people I have ever met. They even have jokes they like to say like, “There might be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only four ways to get off this airline.” And songs they like to sing. Sure it’s all a little corny, but I have to admit that these antics do tend to cheer up even the crabbiest of tired travelers (yours truly included).

I do know from my own experience working with companies that the companies that are committed to keeping their employees happy and satisfied, and the companies that go to great lengths to look out for their employees, are indeed the best run companies and they do in fact have the best customer service.

So here, from a great little book called Amaze Every Customer Every Time, by Shep Hyken, are some very useful tips on how to treat your employees well so they will treat your customers even better:

  • Treat employees the way you want the customer treated, maybe even better.
  • The only way you can possibly amaze your customers every time is by amazing your employees first.
  • Talking about the employees’ golden rule is not enough. You, as a leader, must model it daily.
  • Create a clear and precise mission for your company and make sure that your employees not only know it and understand it…but believe in it as well, and that starts with you as their leader.
  • As a leader you have to walk the walk and lead by example. If your employees see you treating your customers well, they will follow your lead.

And one of my own: Remember that what a company leader or owner says or does resonates very loudly in the company. As a leader be very careful with your words, and never, and I mean never, complain or knock a customer. And never let them see you treat a customer poorly.

In short, if you treat your employees the way you want them to treat your customers it will be a perfect way to run your business and, yes, to grow your business.


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