Insulate Against Small Errors
In a small business a small mistake can have a big impact. This is especially so when the small business services a particular locality. When your good reputation is endangered, rightly or wrongly, so is the business. Large businesses are far less susceptible to small threats. And large businesses have ample resources to correct errors and retrieve disgruntled customers. Small business can’t match these resources.Build Effective Customer Management Systems
The small business manager must ensure that all employees understand how vulnerable the business is to carelessness, sloppiness, discourtesy and perceived disrespect. The best way to do this is to develop effective customer treatment systems that all employees must understand and observe. Grab every opportunity for staff to obtain both positive and negative customer feedback, And as manager, lead by example.
Build A “Company Way”
If you’re the owner of “Joe’s Plumbing” develop a “Joe’s Plumbing” way of doing things. It should reflect business, employee and customer relationship philosophies you want your people to practice to achieve your business goals. Make sure that the “Joe’s Plumbing” way enables customers to positively differentiate in favour of your business.Keep Them In The Picture
Inform your employees. Trust them to regard company information judiciously. They should know your marketing position, strategy and tactics. They should know where your profits come from and how interaction with clients and customers affects profitability. They should know how performance is measured: both their own and that of the company. That’s the minimum they should know.Start At Recruitment
Make sure you have some sort of induction process that includes corporate philosophies, objectives and standards. If possible, discuss them with job candidates as part of your selection process. At the very least, new starters should hear about these on their first day.
Meet Staff Face To Face Frequently
And put in place some form of face to face communication between you as CEO and your staff on at least a monthly basis. Sending out a “staff notice”, “sticking something on a notice board” or circulating “operations and procedural amendments” will never replace well planned face to face meeting with ample opportunity for staff response and feedback.Conclusion
Informed staff can make informed decisions, take informed choices, provide soundly based communication and make informed contributions at meetings and discussions. Finally, bear in mind: if they don’t know, they’ll guess or shrug their shoulders. Neither reaction helps your business.