How we treat our employees and how we make them feel directly impacts how they treat our customers.
I remember a store visit I once conducted with Pearle Vision. The franchisee owned three stores but worked primarily out of one of them. This store visit was to a store he rarely visited. It was a small store in size and sales volume and only had three employees. On this particular day there were two associates working. As was my practice during my visit, I kept an open ear to the customer conversations to see how the customers were treated and to critique the sales conversation.
- Were they asking questions about lifestyle?
- Were they making recommendations based on those facts?
- Were they suggesting a second pair purchase?
- Did they recommend lens treatments like scratch protection, tinting and ultraviolet ray protection?
During a lull in the afternoon, I mentioned the fact that they really just filled out order forms. They didn’t ask any questions and they made no recommendations. For me it was an “ah – ha” moment. This is why sales are so low in this store. The opportunities were incredible. Until I heard the associates response.
“Oh sure, we know what we could be doing to improve sales but why should we bother? The owner clearly doesn’t care about this store or these customers. He certainly doesn’t care about us – he never visits or calls or asks us questions or allows us to attend training. If he doesn’t care – why should we? We get paid either way.”
Talk about the real “ah – ha” moment in this store visit.
Yesterday during the sermon, our minister, Rev. Dr. Peter Wiley, shared a letter Paul wrote to the Corinthians in which he likened our body to that of the Body of Christ – each part has a role, each role no more important than any other but without the whole – we don’t function. As part of the sermon he talks about how people each carry a bucket. And we can respond to each other’s bucket in one of two ways:
1. We can fill each other’s bucket with words of praise, recognition and encouragement.
2. We can drain their bucket with criticism, negativity and judgemental comments.
That really hit home for me. At the end of the day, Peter asked, can we look back and say we spent more time filling buckets or emptying them? On any given day, for me, it could go either way. I find that the people I am closest too, the ones who mean the most, I spend more time being critical. I assume they know their value and how important they are to me and how proud I am of their accomplishments.
Do we do the same with our employees? Do we assume they know their value and therefore, we spend the most time finding things wrong that they could be doing better/differently? Or do we ignore them entirely which is another way of emptying their bucket?
How our employees feel is directly related to how they treat our customers. If they were asked – would they say you spend more time FILLING their bucket or EMPTYING it?
p.s. we need to ask the same question of ourselves with all our relationships.