Developing Your Employee Base

Your employees are who your customers see when they enter your building.  Employees answer the phones and are responsible for making that all-important first impression.  While advertising brings potential customers to your business, being greeted by a friendly, helpful, understanding employee can keep customers coming back.  Here are some tips to help you “find” these great employees.

  1. Hire for good customer service and teach them the rest - Product knowledge is important, but can also be taught. You might find it easier to hire new employees that have solid customer service skills that need product knowledge training, rather than trying to teach someone to be “friendly”.
  2. Empower your employees to make customer-focused decisions. It can be pretty disheartening for a loyal customer to reach out to a company when something has not gone quite right, only to hear “I’m sorry but the policy states…”. In some cases there can be a gray area, and giving your employees a little latitude will allow their customer service skills to shine. This will likely reflect well upon your business, and a happy customer’s endorsement is worth its weight when it comes to promoting your business.
  3. Create a positive culture/work environment. Negativity, gossip, and discontent among employees can severely affect your chances of success. Start by being a good example and model the type of behavior you expect from your employees. Remember it is important for a business leader to be a good communicator. Actively listen to their comments and concerns and clearly express your expectations. To enable employees to fulfill those expectations, you can also hold recurring training sessions that reinforce the “goals” of the business, while teaching and developing the skills your employees will need in order to be successful.

Hiring employees that have great customer service skills is one of the first steps in building a solid employee base.  Empowering your employees and creating a positive work environment can reduce employee turnover, allowing you to retain the great employees you have hired and groomed.

Also, keep an eye out for programs and partnerships that are intended to assist business owners who wish to develop a solid employee base.  One such resource is the Arizona@Work Partners.  Also, make sure to check out Business, Jobs, & Nonprofits page for events and programming related to business start-up and growth.