Taking Care of Your Customers

work hard play hardWhen we talk about customer service we usually mean the people who pay for your services.  You may have a vision statement that says something to the effect that you “will always offer the highest level of customer service” or maybe something like “always strive to exceed expectations.” But what about your internal customers – what is your vision statement for your staff?

In a recent blogpost, Seth Godin outlines how different companies define customer service, and how that should align with their bottom line. Made a lot of sense to me. I started thinking about the levels of service given to internal customers, the people you hire and pay to represent your firm. I decided to define levels of service for staff members, and how each level impacts the financial goals of a firm. Here are the internal customer service standards that separate great firms from the weak ones.

Create a strong workplace that supports individuals in remarkable ways. Although pay would seem to be the key ingredient here, it is not. Consistent attention to each person and their professional growth – from classes and workshops to managing workload; offer benefits that gladly (not grudgingly) provide personal time, vacation days and sick leave; recognize hard work deserves hard play.  Are the values of your company aligned with how you treat employees?

Provide the tools to do exceptional work. Every one can tell when they are considered an asset versus an expense. When you don’t pay attention to current technology, when you force people to use outdated tools or do not provide things like tablets and smartphones, you send the message that your staff is really not worth the investment.

Okay, sometimes it is about the pay. Actually, it’s generally about equity in pay, promotion and recognition. Develop compensation packages that give everyone the opportunity to succeed financially.

Design a work environment that brings out the best in people. Windows, lighting, artwork and comfortable, attractive furnishings say a lot about a firm to your staff (and your external customers). Outdated furnishings, let alone ugly and worn, say a lot too! You spend at least one third of your life at work – make it a great place to be and to share with others. Silicon valley has taken work environments to whole different level, and the investment pays off in retention, invention and commitment from staff.

Have fun. I’m not suggesting that work isn’t…well, work. I am strongly suggesting that people do better work when they enjoy where they work because they are proud of the group they work with, the environment they work in and the sense of satisfaction they receive every day. So whether it’s retreats and parties, team building and workshops, or starting each day with a laugh, creating a fun place to work brings high levels of customer service to internal and external customers.