As a business owner, you are motivated by pride, a strong work ethic and making your bottom line. When you are at your shop, you know that your customers are having the best experience possible. What about when you can’t be at your shop all the time? How do you ensure that your employees, who are your greatest resource, are not also your greatest liability?
Encourage your employees to take ownership. If your employees feel the same sense of pride for the shop as you do, it will translate into better service and a better overall experience for your customers. Employees that are not as invested in their job or place of employment have a higher chance of not only being upset and less effective as a staff member, but also of damaging a customer’s experience and the objectives of your store.
There are a few things you can employ to cultivate a sense of ownership in your employees. Many shops have a customer loyalty program in place, such as buying ten cups of frozen yogurt and the next one is free. Loyalty programs also lend themselves to employees. Give each employee a coupon card with his or her initials on it. Whenever your employee is outside your shop, he or she can hand out these cards to friends and family. For each coupon that is returned, your employee gets a bonus in his or her paycheck. Now your employee is also promoting your business when they are off the clock.
Another suggestion is to run customer service contests. Keep a comment box near the register. Encourage customers to give feedback on your shop and on the service. At the end of a month or quarter, the employee with the most positive feedback receives a gift certificate to a favorite store. This simple system will give you valuable insight from your customers and will motivate your employees to put forth their best efforts.
Last, inspire your employees! Ask them to contribute ideas. Let your employees compete to invent the next exceptional gelato flavor or suggest the next big promotion. It’s important that your employees feel invested and proud of where they work. Encourage them to use their Web skills to help you build a loyal customer base through online social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have an employee who is an art major, have him or her design a t-shirt or a poster that they could use to build their portfolio. Do not underestimate the pride your employee will feel upon seeing his or her idea come to fruition and knowing that they contributed to the success of the store.