Cathenry Cultivating Positive Relationships Customer Service Guest post Hospitality

Investment in People

Guest post by Cathenry.

A third lesson shared from a recent Forbes article (Nine Impactful Customer Service Lessons That Can Change Your Business Approach) states “It’s Worth Investing in Software that Gives You Support.” The idea references giving your employees the tools they need to support their efforts. 

But this should include mental and emotional tools as well as physical tools.

I am reminded of restaurateur and author Danny Meyer’s revolutionary and successful implementation of his business model that includes his customer service philosophy.  His idea of customer service is that it extends beyond the customer to incorporate a circle/chain of people.  It begins with the employee, then the customer, which is followed by the community, the suppliers, and lastly investors (stockholders) circling back to the employee. 

Typically, most businesses concentrate on the relationship-tending of their end-user (a poor descriptive term of the customer) and stockholder. Gallup concluded that employees who receive regular praise are more productive, engaged and more likely to stay with their organization than those who do not. The survey results also indicated that employees who are praised receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, and even enjoy better health than employees who are not.

Once, while I was in an employment setting at a nonprofit group, there was a lack of business acumen and key leadership. I did not necessarily have all the tools to meet the usual standards that I personally abide by to do the job well.  I am not just talking about providing state-of-the-art technology (I figured out some workarounds due to budget constraints), but instead, there was a lack of organizational communication and professional courtesy leading to ambivalence.

This particular nonprofit had been around for a long time and was deeply entrenched in the community and, aside from a few paid staff, was run by volunteers.  As the saying goes the best part of working for a nonprofit is the people and the worse part of working for a nonprofit is the people. 

Some of the folks, who had been around the longest, had become cogs in the organizational wheel by withholding their power. This power was their knowledge of a situation, and by withholding information from others until they deemed it was time to share. They controlled the cards, so to speak. This holding of power and knowledge resulted in a lack of planning and often created emergent situations that hindered execution of the mission, projects and tasks.

How does such an entity continue to survive? Why hang around and work in such an environment you ask?  It was because the overall vision/mission of the organization was so compelling that it superseded poor management and lack of professionalism. The outcome of the organization’s lofty goals was reached project by project, but it was messy on the way there.

Scratch below the skin surface of certain businesses and you will find that while a profit is being generated, many workers are performing long-term in less than desirable physical conditions. And will continue to do so if they are treated well overall and the cause/objective/vision is great enough. 

To only throw money at a business’s infrastructure without regard to how the employees/workers/volunteers are treated will not guarantee a successful bottom line. People turnover can be costly in more ways than one. 

What if Meyer’s model got mainstreamed into the business ethos of how to work with people?  Beginning with how we treat the people on the inside of an organization instead of merely focusing on how we treat the customer and the stockholders.  

What does this have to do with customer service?  

It takes a special person to be able to give good service when their mental and emotional toolbox is empty. Employees should be treated as being as valuable as customers or stockholders.  


This is the third in a series of posts. Read all posts here.

About Cathenry

Cathenry has operated a boutique bed and breakfast enterprise in her home since 2014.  Her business goal is to give guests a positive and memorable customer service-driven bed and breakfast experience. She always has gravitated to businesses demonstrating sound professional ethics, clear communication, and successful customer service. Having known customer service advocate Mark Lusky for more than 11 years, collaborating as a guest blogger is a natural outgrowth of their association.

Drawing on her extensive hospitality, hosting, event planning and customer outreach experience, Cat brings to the table unique perspectives and insights that expand the gravitas of this customer service-driven blog. She also brings to bear intense curiosity stemming from serving as a former reporter, teacher, and organizational coach with certified training.

As research and curating of information have long been Cat passions, she also will offer the perspectives and insights of third-party subject matter experts in the field of customer service as part of her guest blogger contributions.

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