I toured a long standing B2B Catalog company the other day and I was struck by the aura of its offices and people. As I walked through their call center, telephone reps were smiling and happy. They graciously said hello to me as a visitor (when they really didn’t have a clue who I was.) and were courteous, polite and respectful of each other and themselves. Their body language spoke volumes. They were happy to be there, working productively with their friends serving customers in the best way they could. They were eager to support, assist and compliment each other. Their environment was professional and clean and you could tell they helped keep it that way and were proud of it. The break room sparkled in appearance and conversation. The warehouse team was equally upbeat and productive. WOW! I thought to myself why aren’t all companies like this? Surely, the leaders of all B2B DM companies must realize that unless such an atmosphere of communal success is present that positive and friendly customer service can not happen.
By contrast, we have all been in companies where there is a general “employee slump”. You know those companies where employees are unkempt, messy and disorganized. Working spaces are cluttered and feel dirty. Negative attitudes, laziness and lack of teamwork prevail. You can’t help but think what the customers of those companies are hearing over the phone.
So why is it that such differences exist? In my experience, it all starts at the top. The leader of that facility must consciously create the culture of productivity he wants and his customers need. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
- Develop and define the culture of your company through vision statements, employee/customer bill of rights, monthly business performance communications, employee reward and recognition programs. See www.baudville.com for ideas.
- Hold a new employee meeting every month when you tell employees what is expected of them, how to dress and act professionally, what behavior successful employees exude, what problem behavior to avoid, etc. Make sure they understand what is expected of them in terms of behavior and performance.
- Make sure the work environment is properly cleaned and lighting is conducive to a service culture. If a new carpet and fresh coat of paint is needed, do it.
- Make sure standards of mutual respect are communicated and demonstrated daily.
- Counsel or eliminate problem employees. One “bad apple” can bring the group down in a hurry.
- Plan company events like picnics and holiday parties as well as hosting monthly activities.
- Above all, lead by example. If you are positive regardless of the circumstances, your team will follow.
Have feedback? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221
Comments or questions are welcome.