Who Are Your Customers?

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Have you ever stopped to think about your customers? Who are they? What motivates them? How do you exceed their needs?

Many organizations have spent time and resources to determine what motivates the consumer. However, very little time has been spent trying to identify the needs of an organization’s employees. Providing employees with excellent service is a pre-requisite for excellence in service to guests, and should be an important consideration of management. Of course you may argue that customers are the life-blood of the organization – without their expenditures the organization would cease to exist. While this may be true, leaders need to examine who they consider as their customers. Many organizations only view customers as those persons who come in and pay for a service. They believe all employees are just that, employees. Their needs are secondary compared to that of the guests.

What many leaders do not understand is the relationship between satisfied, engaged employees and a strong desire to serve the guests. It is not about making every employee happy 24/7. We all know that is an impossible feat! This is about ensuring you have an organization where every employee is valued and provided with meaningful work. If you value one employee over another just because they may bring in a larger revenue stream, then you will not have an organization of employees willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy the guests.   I consistently heard leaders defend poor employee morale, as grumpy employees who would not be satisfied with anything. They also communicated the notion that employee morale was up to the individual supervisor or department manager. Employee morale is up to every member of the organization, not just those who supervise others. Morale is also tied into the idea that employees have what they need to get the job done. That is not just limited to supplies such as clean sheets to make up a room, but employees also need the training, which instills a sense of confidence that they are able to perform their tasks properly and with pride.

While it is important for the leadership of an organization to understand that their employees are customers; it is also important for all employees to understand their role in customer service. Once I had an employee tell me that they were not responsible for customer service, as they did not directly deal with the customers who walked through the front door. We sat down and talked about the employee’s role and what impact they had upon customer service. The service this employee provided ensured another department was able to serve the customers. It never occurred to this employee that their customer was another department within the organization. Once this truth was realized, this employee was enthusiastic about their position and consistently ensured they provided the best service they could to their customers. Sometimes we fall into this rut – we think we don’t impact customer service because we don’t directly see the customers.

Who are your customers?

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