I recently returned to the auto dealership where I bought a pickup truck 17 years ago, motivated by the great initial experience. Sadly, my most recent experience was terrible. The salesperson took my order for the truck and then moved to California without telling anyone. No one called from the dealership to pick up the pieces of the transaction, and it was only after my own calls on three different occasions that I received a return phone call. Most everything went downhill from there. The salesperson, the sales manager, the accessories manager, service manager and finance manager all contributed equally to this terrible experience.
While there are many businesses in our country that still deliver quality products and services, an ever-growing number, like this dealership, do not. The root problem for these companies are employees who think primarily of themselves within the workplace. When employees have this mindset, they do as little as possible to get by within their job responsibilities while constantly looking for improved benefits.
There are two leading factors that create this problem at a business: ill-equipped employees and a bad work environment. Company leaders must address these issues to fix the problem and to ensure customers once again “get what they pay for.”
Managers must work to develop employees who learn and believe that what they get from a career or job is a direct result of what they put into it. The better the job, measured in terms of customer satisfaction and profitability of the organization, the higher the benefits. There is no entitlement.
The first step of such employee development is to realize that rarely does a company find good help. Instead, employers have to make good help. In this, there is a silver lining, for both the employer and new employees, particularly those just entering the workforce.
The new generation of employees is searching for more than just a job, even though they most often will not admit it nor realize it. They are looking for a home, a place of belonging, of value, where they can make meaningful contributions and look to grow and develop. For many, their place of employment is the first shot that they’ve had at these pursuits.
For employers who create the right work environment, the silver lining is that they can cultivate very loyal employees who take on an attitude of ownership within the workplace. These employees will come to a point where they put more into their job than they do concentrating on what they get from their employer. This allows for “dazzled” customers who are in receipt of quality products and services during the first and all subsequent purchases.
A bad work environment that is built and well-maintained by management directly affects employee behavior and customer service. The 10 ingredients of a bad work environment are:
- Lack of training
- Lack of two-way regular communication
- Ineffective performance review processes
- Ineffective employee recognition
- Lack of job-related accountability
- Poorly defined job descriptions
- Improper company policies
- Lack of equipment and facilities
- Lack of charitable community involvement
- A lousy manager, one who fails to lead well or to set a good example
Companies can’t control the type of job applicants that they get. But they can control the work environment by paying attention to and delivering the right solutions, or ingredients, to the work environment. I will provide specific recommendations for each of the ten components in my next article.
Speaking for all customers, please, let’s get back to where all companies belong: Allowing customers to “get what they pay for” and nothing less.