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Motivating For-‘Knock Their Socks Off Service’
By Alan Fairweather
I enjoyed reading an article on Michael Roux, the celebrated chef and restaurateur. He was commenting on how he gets the best out of his staff. His, isn’t the Gordon Ramsay way of the verbal and public assault on staff that aren't performing. Roux prefers the quiet word in private. He believes people work harder out of respect than fear and I am sure many of us agree with him.
So, how do we motivate, get the best out of our people and deal with poor performers without increasing our blood pressure.
Pick the right people
Common sense tells us that we need to pick the right people in the first place. We need people with skills for the particular job but more importantly, we need people with the right attitude.
Some employers seem to have a death wish as far as employing customer-facing people. I’ve booked into hotels and dealt with businesses where the staff say the right things, follow the company’s policies and procedures, but warm and friendly? I think not. Do they encourage me to return and also say nice things about their business to other people? I don’t think so.
These are neither bad people nor are they doing any thing particularly wrong. They just lack the ability to make the emotional connection with customers both internal and external.
Maybe the thinking at interview stage is that, ‘They’re not that good with people but I’m sure they’ll get better in time.’ Well let me tell you, they won’t. If you believe at the interview that the person doesn’t have good interpersonal skills then don’t give them the job.
If you need a good customer service person, then look for; a positive attitude, someone who is warm, friendly and articulate. You want a good listener who is bright and happy with energy and enthusiasm.
Also look for beliefs and values that align with your own.
Before the interview think about an approach and questions that will uncover these qualities if they are not immediately apparent. Many employers spend too much time discussing the skills and knowledge of the job applicant and not enough time assessing the emotional skills, which are vital for anyone who deals with a customer.
Remember - Hire attitude and teach skills.
It is also important to believe in your people. If you’ve interviewed well and picked the right people then you need to trust them to do the job. You need to constantly demonstrate to your people that you trust and believe in them by what you say, your tone of voice and your body language.
If you believe that your people are not to be trusted with customers, that they are unable to make a decision without checking with you, that they will turn up late and go home early, then that is exactly what they will do.
On the other hand, if you believe that your people will treat customers well, that they can be trusted to make decisions that are good for the business and that they will give a fair days work, then it is more likely this is what you’ll get.
As with all theories there is no guarantee that it will work every time, however the majority of employees in this world are reasonable people and if you treat them as such then they are more likely to behave in a positive manner.
Give feedback and coach
The next and probably the most important thing you can do to motivate your people is to give them feedback and coach them. This is where so many employers and managers fall down in dealing with their people; we are hopeless at giving feedback.
Most people want to know how they are performing in their job; they want to know if they are doing it right or how they could do it better. If you really want to motivate your people then you need to give feedback both affirming and constructive.
Affirming feedback is about giving the good news, giving people affirmations, regularly, that you are happy with what they are doing.
Constructive feedback is about letting the person know the behaviour you are not happy about, the improvements you want and when.
This is not a soft option, it’s about telling your staff when they are doing a good job and when they aren’t. Why? - Because it gets the job done, it’s good for the business and it’s easier for you. So how do you do it?
You do it when you observe behaviour that you are happy about or unhappy about. And here are some points to remember when giving feedback:
Forget about sandwiches
When giving constructive feedback I suggest you forget the ‘Sandwich Technique.’ You may have learned that it helps to give some good news, say what you’re unhappy about, and close on some more good news. I suggest you don’t. It lets you off the hook, it’s mealy mouthed and it can confuse the employee. Treat people with respect but make it quite clear what improvements you want.
What do staff really want?
When we start to look at what motivates people, it’s important to realise that we all have different needs. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that our staff are only motivated by money. However, research conducted over the years into what motivates people at work suggests some other factors.
Money is important however people are more likely to be motivated, firstly, by the work itself, secondly, by being appreciated for the work they do, and thirdly by a feeling of being in on things.
The message is, if you want motivated staff then make their work interesting, give them affirming feedback and give them the feeling that they are involved in the business.
Whether you accept these points or not they are a lot easier to do than continually recruiting people, paying more in wages and dealing with low morale.
The success of your business is partly determined by the quality of your core services. However this doesn’t generate customer loyalty nor have them say nice things about you to other people.
Customers are more likely to make decisions about a business based on the contact they have with the people in the business. It therefore makes sense to spend more of our valuable time motivating people to deliver ‘Knock Their Socks Off Service’.
About the author
Article by Alan Fairweather, International Speaker and the author of, 'How to be a Motivational Manager, ‘How to Manage Difficult People' and ‘How to Make Sales When You Don't like Selling'. Visit: www.themotivationdoctor.com, for more information.
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