A well-known pizza franchise recently made national headlines when one of its drivers delivered a pizza on foot after his car broke down. That the driver was deaf and walked a half mile at midnight to the customer’s house made the story even more compelling.
This case was obviously unique and newsworthy, but the story illustrates how valuable the extra effort of one concerned and responsible employee can be on your brand and your own business. The customer was so grateful for his efforts that she tipped him $20, and set up a GoFundMe page to pay for repairs to his car. That one customer is likely to become a raving fan of the business, telling friends and family the story over and over and encouraging them to support the driver and the business.
In practical terms, a sale happens when a customer pays for your product or service. But getting to the sale, and encouraging repeat purchases, involves consistent, ongoing relationship building and an occasional superhuman effort. Fortunately, each person on your team plays a part in improving your customer experience and there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your employees and managers are working toward the same goals. You may not always receive remarkable efforts from your staff, but there are three simple things you can do to get everyone on your team working toward the financial success of your business.
1) Reframe the goal
In my 10 years of experience in franchising, one of the common concerns expressed to me by franchisees is how to get employees involved in the sales process when they don’t consider themselves as natural salespeople. Or worse, when they have an internal dislike or distrust of the concept of “sales.”
The simplest way through this is to encourage your team to think not about sales, but about your mission and the broader benefits you offer to customers. Whether your business is food, retail, automotive or fitness, you offer something more important to your customers than those products or services… You offer convenience, health, peace of mind, self-esteem or any number of other emotional and physical benefits. Talk openly with your employees about the value your business provides to customers so they understand the importance of what they do every day. Any job can be more than just a way to receive a paycheck, and everyone wants to feel they are doing something worthwhile.
2) Make sure your team knows what to say to customers
To accomplish this, you need to reinforce the use of scripts for people in every position. Scripts are statements your employees should use in every interaction with customers. If your franchisor doesn’t provide them, create them yourself. Having scripts in place creates consistency for customers, and makes life easier for employees. Knowing what to say and when to say it gives employees a greater sense of mastery of their jobs.
Scripts don’t need to be complicated, and can be as short as a few words. Going back to our pizza delivery example, what if your delivery person simply thanked every customer for their business and said they looked forward to delivering a pizza to them again in the near future? Wouldn’t the customer feel surprised and grateful for those unexpected (and uncommon) words? And at a more obvious level, think along the lines of, “Would you like to upgrade your order for only an additional 50 cents?” or, “Would you like to try our latest product or service?” These simple questions can prompt customers to enhance their experience with your brand.
3) Reward employees for engaging effectively with customers
Clearly, an effort like that of our pizza delivery person deserves recognition and reward. If your employees do anything that creates an exceptional experience for a customer, you should acknowledge the effort quickly, and as publicly as possible. This could be as simple as giving a high five to your employee at a staff meeting, or identifying them through other recognition programs.
Personal recognition of this kind is often as important as financial reward, although both have their place. A financial reward could be a one-time expression of thanks to an employee in the form of a gift card or cash, or a broader bonus for the entire team when their work contributes to exceptional financial results.
There’s no single best way to reward employees for doing great work, but a culture of recognition helps improve the self-esteem of your employees and fosters a greater sense of purpose for everyone.
Everyone on your team plays a part in the experience you deliver to your customers, and everyone’s efforts matter, no matter their role. By taking a few simple actions like these, you can simultaneously improve employee engagement, build customer loyalty and boost the results of your business.
John Kersh is the Chief Development Officer for Pure Barre where he is responsible for new studio growth domestically and internationally. Prior to that, he was the Vice President of International Franchise Development for Self-Esteem Brands, the franchisor of healthy lifestyle brands Anytime Fitness and Waxing the City. In his eight years with Anytime Fitness, John grew their international footprint from a handful of gyms in Canada to over 1,000 locations in 25 countries.