This post was originally posted to my previous blog in March 2010. The message still rings true because it is a business constant–> Employees make or break your business.
CBS’ new prime-time show Undercover Boss is supposed to expose CEOs to the everyday, almost mundane jobs of the front-line staff and see how well CEOs know their companies and if they can perform under the pressure their employees face daily. Instead of showing how pedestrian it can be to perform these front-line tasks however, the show is having a surprising effect. It is showcasing the company’s best assets: its employees.
For instance, two weeks ago, 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto went undercover to see how his stores were really performing against internal metrics and operations standards. His first stop was a location in New York that sold 2,500 cups of 7-Eleven coffee a day. He wanted to know why this store was outperforming almost all other stores – and he got his answer.
The answer was a fiery, outgoing clerk named Delores. She greeted almost every customer by name, hugged many of the customers, knew a little (if not a lot) about their backstory, and made them feel like they were joining her for coffee in her own kitchen. Suffice to say, Mr. DePinto was astounded by what he saw. He could clearly see that Delores loved coming to work, loved her customers, and loved being a part of their day. She was the epitome of engaged. Now, selling 2,500 cups of coffee a day is no small feat. This usually meant that Delores, already suffering from kidney disease, was often running around doing multiple things all over the store – but her attitude remained the same. She was overwhelmingly genuine, cheerful, smiling, and delighted to be doing her job and helping people.
Can you identify who the Delores is in your company or business? What is it that s/he brings to the table every day to inspire, engage, and lead? Count yourself extra lucky if you can boast a handful of people like Delores. These people are the heart of your business. These people are why customers are CHOOSING to do business with you. Quite certainly, there is a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts in Delores’ neighbourhood, but the customers coming to her location are not just choosing 7-Eleven, they are choosing Delores and her contagious spirit. She is not just processing a transaction, she is making their day.
If you want to boost your bottom-line in these trying times, shine a light on the Delores in your company. Use their positive energy and customer-facing expertise to capitalize on what it is that your customers truly value – an unparalleled, personalized guest experience that makes them want to choose your business again and again.
What could more businesses do to attract and hire people with a passion for excellence in customer experience?