Why it matters that your staff find happiness at work
I was traveling recently, to a course by my good friend and coach Jules Cooper – “The Potential to Persuade” (great content btw for professional coaches and for anyone who needs to influence others ethically as part of their work). Twice on my journey I had cause to complain about something, and twice the way it was handled by the front-line staff made a massive difference to my overall satisfaction.
First, I dropped into a Little Chef restaurant for breakfast on the way down. Now, we all know that Little Chefs aren’t exactly cordon bleu, and to be honest I’d forgotten that when I traveled a lot as a Key Account Manager I would always ask them to swap their frankly horrible sausage for an extra rasher of bacon. Maybe I was unconsciously hoping they’d have upgraded their bangers in the 6yrs since I used them a lot. Not so. So when asked the compulsory “Is everything OK?” I responded honestly.
“All great,” I smiled, “apart from the sausage – that’s ‘orrible!”
“Oh dear,” asked the server, “what’s wrong with it.”
“Nothing particular, Little Chef sausages have always been ‘orrible.”
She could have asked why I ordered it, if their sausages were always “‘orrible” – but she didn’t. She simply said, “Oh. Would you like something else instead, maybe some more bacon?” Her sole interest was in having a happy customer. And she got one, and I’ll be back to that restaurant.
Next, I turned up at my hotel (Holiday Inn in Taunton), and when Dawn on reception checked the computer it told her that the room allocated to me was showing as “dirty” on their system. So she had the duty manager check, and meanwhile advised me on how to raise a query about the not-so-special ‘special’ rate I’d got through the course promoter.
The duty manager came back and confirmed that the room was clean, and Dawn duly booked me in. But when I got there it smelled rather badly of drains. Back at reception, Dawn handled the complaint so smoothly I felt completely valued and looked after – another young lady who clearly enjoyed creating satisfied customers.
Happy staff = happy customers
What these two cases have in common was that it was clearly important to both of these two ladies that their customers enjoyed their visit and, unlike so many in the UK’s so-called service sector, they genuinely seemed to enjoy making that happen. And that they both managed to do so despite corporate policies (dodgy bangers, daft pricing and shoddy maintenance) almost designed to avoid it.
Bravo to Dawn and my un-named server, your sector needs more like you!