Are you Holding Your Employees Accountable?

It takes a long time to build your company’s brand and a lot of money to create that great logo, marketing brochure and industry “buzz” about your business. As business owners, you have invested a lot of time, resources and money to create your corporate image and it is equally important to invest just as much in building a business that oozes accountability.

Too often, employees operate under the assumption that if they perform their basic job duties (as defined in their job descriptions) then they’ve have done what they were hired to do regardless if the company’s goals were met. More importantly, if the boss is away, employees often will gravitate towards doing just enough to get by without notice… to illustrate my point:

I am having lunch in a local deli. It is pretty late in the afternoon and I am the only patron in the establishment and after further scanning of the place, the only adult. To my surprise, I was subjected to a conversation between employees that a customer should never be exposed to- here are some highlights.

“I can’t believe Jenny hooked up with that guy, she was so drunk and acting stupid”

“Do you believe that James (who I later found out was the manager), expects us to clean out the trashcans….I am not going to do it” This place sucks”

Interestingly enough, when I got up to throw away my trash and glanced in their direction, they didn’t even seem surprised that I was still in there nor offered any apologies. I walked up to the counter to grab a napkin (the counter that one employee had so gracefully jumped up to sit on so she could talk with her friends) and noticed another young girl sitting on the floor behind the counter. My maternal instincts were kicking in and I wanted to scream in my most authoritative voice “get down and you stand up”…. Don’t you know you represent your company? But I, like so many other customers who experience something like this, just shook my head in disapproval and walked out.

Unfortunately, your brand is created by one simple thing: The impression your business leaves on your customers. Leave a positive one by delivering an exceptional customer experience and your brand and business will thrive. Leave a negative one by not “tending the store” and your brand and business will fail.

So the lesson learned is that as leaders we must set expectations for our staff and to always assume a decline when the authority figure walks away. We must set the standard and establish the expected results. Educating your staff and holding them accountable for the customer experience will not only drive direct results into your organization but will support all that hard work and investment you made into establishing your brand. Show your staff how you want your customers treated and make it fun, make it part of the culture so that no matter what, your employees know the difference between “right and wrong” behavior. Consistently inspect what you expect from your staff over and over again. This repetitive action will continue to reinforce those expectations. Too often, managers and/or leaders assume that just because an employee was “trained” or spoken too once or twice, that they have retained that expectation. Nine times out of ten, that employee will forget unless constantly reminded (in a fun and motivating way) what the expectations are.

I would love to hear your bad customer service stories so I encourage you to leave a comment.

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