You employees are the “face” of your company. If you make them unhappy, they will present a negative image to the world. Do you make your employees feel unwelcome at work? Are your employees motivated to do a good job? Are you having issues with client retention? One area to look at immediately is employee satisfaction
You can simply approach your employees and ask them about job satisfaction, but sometimes this won’t bring out the real juicy bits. Instead, offer your employees the option of a non-confrontational, and anonymous, survey. This may work much better and will encourage employees to tell you what they really think about you and your company. This works especially well when the employee is assured that no retaliation will be taken for honest answers and there is no way to identify the employees giving the feedback. When you get the feedback you need, you can work on fixing what employees perceive as being problematic in your company.
Signs That Your Clients Are Unhappy
The first, and most obvious, sign is that your clients will start leaving you. However, a not so obvious sign that there’s trouble on the horizon is that your clients will delay payment of invoices, avoid your phone calls, and may even try to back out of existing contracts or reduce the amount of business they do with you. Your clients may blame the economy, or some external force, if you have a long relationship with them so as to avoid hurting your feelings. This is more common with small B2B sales than larger companies.
How To Fix An Existing Problem
The first thing to do is to apologize to both your employees and your customers. Let them know that you’ve made some mistakes and that you want to fix them. You want your employees to feel appreciated and you want your customers to derive value from the products and services you offer. Immediately start to make amends:
Offer employee incentives. Setting production goals and offering your employees incentives for performance will help to build moral. If you set goals for your employees that are realistic, that are not threatening to the workforce, and that establish a sense of camaraderie among employees, then they will respond favorably. If you offer monetary incentives or promotions based on performance, you’ll see a corresponding increase in the quality of work being performed. Even the lowest of moral can be overhauled with the introduction (and serious commitment to) a stellar employee incentive program. The key to making this work for you is to set goals that are extremely challenging but achievable. Often times, the accomplishment of the goal itself will be rewarding for your employees and keep them focused during the workday. However personal benefit from an incentive program will go a long way towards making your employees feel appreciated for the work they do.
Contact your existing clients and acknowledge a problem. Silence is never golden when there is a problem with client retention. Your clients know there are issues, but they may not be aware of what the problem is. They may only be able to generalize it as “you offer poor service” or “your product quality has been slipping for the past few years.” Tell your clients that you are aware of whatever product and service issues you have and that you’re developing systems to immediately improve your company. If possible, offer your clients discounts or other incentives to stay while you iron out the “bugs.”
Never ignore any problems in your business. This is probably the biggest mistake you could do as a business owner. While it might seem obvious, many companies suffer from a simple lack of challenging goals and employee incentives. This, in turn, causes a cascade of problems that leads to an unhappy workforce and unhappy clientele. Fix the problem at its root, and the rest should sort itself out very quickly.
Guest post contributed by Hayley Spencer for EasyFinance.com – providers of various financial products. Click here to learn more about their services.