If you run a mom and pop shop, it’s easy to protect your brand – to monitor exactly how your customers see you and your business. You are the face that they see each day. Your actions are the only ones customers experience. You don’t have to worry that an hourly (or salaried for that matter) employee is somehow representing your brand poorly.
Communication is Key
Of course, it all begins with you and your ability to communicate goals and values to your employees. This requires that you send clear messages about your brand to your employees. Often times CEOs will refer to themselves as “cheerleaders” for their companies. This is an apt analogy because communicating brand goals and values is not a one-time occurrence. You can’t write a memo and expect your employees grasp everything you’re trying to say. It takes repetition, and lots of it!
If you believe you’ve communicated your brand’s goals and values, the next step is to make sure that your employees are doing a good job of representing them to the customer. While there are many ways to do this, and the specifics of your business model will dictate which are applicable to you, here are a few ideas.
Use Your Security Cameras for More Than Security
Security cameras aren’t just to monitor your customers; they can be used to make sure your employees are doing their jobs properly. Are they getting overwhelmed during high volume times and taking the phones off the hook? Are they smiling at each and every customer? Are they closing early or opening late? It may reek of “big brother” but, in the end, it is your business. You have to make sure your employees are doing their job to the standard you expect.
Computer Monitoring is Necessary
If your business uses computers (and which doesn’t these days?), you’re probably worried about how much time your employees are spending on Facebook and other non-work related websites. Many businesses have policies about social media. There are solutions for monitoring computer usage in every price range. At the very least, you’ll want to know what websites your employees are visiting. If your business handles sensitive information, a more complete solution will be necessary.
A Little Espionage aka Mystery Shoppers
Mystery shoppers are a tried and true formula for restaurants, but they can work in many different applications. Do you have a business that involves talking with customers over the phone? A mystery shopper can let you know that your employees are sticking to your script. Did they upsell? Are the polite? With face-to-face businesses, even more information can be learned. How is their hygiene? Do they make eye contact? Do they sound excited and upbeat or do they make the customer feel like they are an annoyance?
Many people view these monitoring techniques as a way of ferreting out the employees that are doing something wrong. More importantly, I’d argue, is to find the employees that are doing things correctly and reward them. The inclination of many is to think that those that are doing their jobs properly need little more reward than the paycheck they are receiving. While that may be true, by handing out rewards you are communicating to the rest of the employees that good work is valued. That communication will often be much more effective in reducing bad behavior than punishing those that break the rules.
Monitoring your front-line employees to ensure they properly represent your business is just good business sense. Put a plan in place now to make sure your customers experience exactly what you intend for them.