It starts slowly, your business had an “off day” which turned into a bad week and eventually poor quarter. If you’re a restaurant, you may change the menu, take out new ads in local papers or offer weekly menu deals in hopes of enticing new business. What most business owners fail to see is the long-term impact of inadequate day-to-day operations. Consumers now are looking for quality experiences rather than quick transactions - see our 2019 Marketing Trends Guide for more on this. Your business may have a great product or service to share, but if the experience is poor, you’re on a slippery slope of lost referrals and declining revenue.
The primary goal is to stop the hemorrhaging by checking the efficiency and the quality service of your staff. Without an impactful, positive customer service experience- your company will lose a loyal customer base, decrease positive reviews and recommendations, and your brand reputation will suffer.
Here are three ways to determine if your staff are busting your bottom line.
Staff Turnover is High
An unhappy work environment discourages creative thinking, decreases morale, and lowers productivity. Can we say money-pit? While not all your staff may be dissatisfied with their job, it’s important that you identify the managerial level and impact of your sour staff.
According to the New Hampshire Business Review “toxic managers tend to poison those around them and everyone below them. The non-management employee tends to have a more limited negative effect. In addition, the toxic employee tends to be fired more quickly, whereas the toxic manager tends to create a broader unhealthy environment and can cause multiple employees to quit before upper management takes control of the situation, if ever.”
If you notice entry-level staff are quick to come and go, it may not be an issue with the job description, but with your supervising staff. Take a look and see if your new team members are eager to interact with other employees or if their routine seems robotic.
Plus, your staff exodus means a major loss of product knowledge, an increased onboarding expense of seeking and hiring replacement staff, and a loss of brand ambassadors.
Referrals are Low & Your 5-Star Rating is Fading
Your team members are your company’s brand ambassadors. They wear your logo and depend on your company for financial stability. Your company’s success is their success. Your job as CEO is to instill your company’s cause into every employee so they are working for something they believe in while providing an innovative, positive culture. But, when your staff isn’t adequately trained or hasn’t fully bought in to your mission, you’ll notice the lack of motivation from creating a quality experience to punching a 9-5 clock. Your employees’ attitudes directly correlate with new customer referrals.
Once your staff begin to view your customer as a number and not a person, you’re losing referral revenue. Your employees will be too focused on the transaction rather than creating a unique experience that is worth sharing.
Your team members should be able to relate to your customers and relay why your company or product is unique from the rest. Your employee’s daily goal is having one customer share their positive experience with friends or write a review. A first-class experience creates 5-star reviews and that begins and ends with your staff.
Your Staff are not Knowledgeable
Insufficient onboarding, lack of new product training, or just flat-out laziness are all ways unknowledgeable staff can keep your company from profiting.
Let’s use a restaurant as an example. The restaurant offers a fried grouper sandwich on its lunch menu. The waitress doesn’t know that the grouper sandwich cannot be grilled since it is a frozen filet. So, when a diner asks for the grilled grouper sandwich, the kitchen staff grills another type of fish they have available. The consumer is delivered a menu item they did not order. Not only is the knowledge breakdown apparent when the diner receives their plate, but the lack of transparency creates consumer distrust, a negative review, and lost business.
With adequate product knowledge and effective communication between staff, the experience outlined above could have gone much differently. In fact, the waitress should have let the customer know their choice wasn’t available and provided several other recommendations to avoid the negative experience. Your service staff is the face and voice of your company. It is always wise to include scenario training like the one above when onboarding new team members and allow your employees time to learn new products.
At the first sign of declining performance, business owners should check in with their customers- not their staff. Speak with customers throughout the course of a week or two and uncover patterns of reoccurring critiques or poor service experiences. Read your most recent reviews and reach out to customers who are willing to provide positive criticism so that you can improve your company. It is better to address your staffing short-falls before your bottom-line busts.
Need insight into brand recovery? Connect with us to learn about how we can improve your digital presence authentically and recoup your online reputation.