Your Silent Partner


Build a Committed Team and Lead by Example

Providing added-service is an important part of creating and using your firm’s competitive advantage. It supports ‘delight-level’ quality, but must consist of more than just giving smiles. It is something all your work-team must do, and it involves attitude. It goes beyond the expected and involves many intangible features (the ‘little extras’) such as courtesy, reliability, hustling to reduce customer queues and waiting times, friendliness, integrity, free expert advice, and more. Depending on the size of your business, to make any growing pain manageable, build a team of core (i.e. key) people and have extras on call as needed. Use a ‘lean team’ and ‘outsource’ the non-essentials. Next to customers they are your most vital resource, so:

  • Hire good people (with the right skills and right values and attitudes);
  • Train and retrain them, to continually upgrade their skills;
  • Support and motivate them (money may not always be the best motivator);
  • Communicate with them; keep in touch and listen by practicing Management By Walking About;
  • Treat them as a team of partners rather than subordinates;
  • Help them develop pride in themselves, in their work and in the business; and
  • Do all you can to help them enjoy working with you.

Good people-management and leadership will increase loyalty, commitment, trust, dignity, respect, team spirit and productivity. Your key people are your ‘front-line-troops’ . Among the most valuable people in any business are those who are closest to your customers, and those who are directly responsible for quality of overall service and responsiveness to customer wants.

The competitive war can be won or lost ‘in the trenches’, where customers make contact (either verbally, visually or both) with any member of your team. In your customers’ eyes, your front-line-people (such as telephonists, receptionists, sales assistants and service staff) are the business. I am aware of firms where the first person any customer contacts has the informal but serious job title Director of First Impressions.

Do all you can to empower your people to do the very best they can. Give them responsibility and the authority they need to achieve top results.