Recently, i went to one of the supermarkets on the island to buy one or two things. I have always visited that shop and so i know where to locate what things i needed to buy. However on this particular visitation i could not find some items i use to buy on the shelves. I then saw one of the sales attendants and tried to enquire on the where about of the items i wanted to buy, this was however meted with a very stiff and awkward response from the sales girl. The sales Girl, not only ignored me, she ultimately directed me to go ahead and find, that they are there! And she left.
What a response! I was to say the least surprised. I became really unhappy and wanted to drop even the items i could rightly find on the shelves. On enquiry , however, i found out that their sales has actually nosedived, many of the items expired on the shelves due to lack of patronage, they have no choice than to reduce prices of items to ensure sales and so the management of the supermarket is finding it difficult to re-stock.
That experience, however, reminded me of an earlier one. One of our clients had complaint that he went to one of the known retail outlets in Lagos to pick a cheque after many months of supply (and having waited to be paid for too long ). On reaching there he, just as others on same assignment were delayed for about four hours, just to pick a cheque that has already been signed. And he called the accountant to confirm that the cheque was ready, before coming. The accountant was rightly there but kept discussing for hours with his colleagues and never ready to attend to anybody and so they must wait until he is ready. When he finished his discussions he went straight to carry his container of food to eat, on the excuse that he was very hungry! Can you imagine the insult! They must wait or come back on a later date.
The list of these uncanny behaviours from employees is endless. But what bothers me is the result of these funny behaviours, which is always very obvious- lost of sales and revenue to the company.
A lot of businesses are experiencing consistent lost of sales and revenues today not just because of the hard times as a result of the recent economic realities in the country but due to the attitude of the employees, most of whom seem not to care so long as they will still receive their salaries at the end of the month. They therefore attempt to be doing their work just to fulfil all righteousness.
How do you know? When your staff always seem to be very busy as soon as you, the owner is around and louses and plays around as soon as you goes, he is fulfilling all righteousness. We call it eye service!
Call him for an update, you will be surprised at his level of seriousness. He is always not ready or having a ready answer to any issue. He resorts to last minute carefree preparations full of errors, most of which are totally avoidable. Why is this so?
A carefulness examination of this ugly phenomenon has revealed that the actual cause of this attitudinal and behavioural change is as a result of discontentment between the work owner and his employees. The behaviours as depicted above have been attributed to conscious and deliberate way of paying back to the owner in their own coin. This therefore means that the CEOs behaviour towards the employee, in the course his duties has a direct influence on the subjects.
The attitude of many company executives towards their staff can best be regarded as that of slave and master relationship. According to Mary Kay Ash, a company is only good as the people it keeps. Many leaders choose to distance themselves from their employees, avoiding all forms of authentic interactions but rather prefer dictating to them to the peril of the organisation.
According to Dalai Lama “a lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” The CEO says one thing while his body language depicts another. You dictate rather than listen to members of your staff. How transparent are you? Transparency starts with telling your staff the truth: the company is not making profits, but you are changing cars every month, you are building new houses and estates. You would rather prefer cutting to half your employees’ salaries in your bid to reduce cost while intimidating them with termination of appointment. You think they do not know. Remember lack of transparency results to distrust, lack of commitment and a sense of insecurity. Somehow they will get back to hunt your organisation.
How often do you engage your employees? Great leaders connect with their people by interacting authentically rather than by dictating to them. This will encourage TEAM work. Working as a team bring great results because -together everyone achieves more.
Most executives operate like demi-gods, called the shots and determined who-gets-what without consultations with critical personnel. They never bothered with or alluded to the overriding interests of their people, provided they were in absolute control .They desire to be feared more than respected. They propagated and enforced policies and ideologies of absoluteness of power—which was averse to fundamentals of running an effective and efficient organization.
Such leaders often find it difficult to present clear messages; they often express things somewhat ambiguously. These mixed communications do not work. It rather creates distortions and misinterpretations. As leaders, we attract people to ourselves by maximizing who we are (our social or people skill) rather than what we do (our professions).
We maximize and amplify who we are by continually improving our social and communication skills, and our integrity. In short, “who we are” is defined by our people skills. When we have good people skills we communicate effectively, take interest in others, show empathy, treat people with respect and show professionalism in both manner and attitude. Your staffs deserve your respect and trust. Meet and interact with them. Feel their purse and they will pay you back in kind.
This will ensure that all your marketing messages match your actions. This is known as brand integrity. Lots of business brands make the terrible mistake of saying one thing in their marketing message and doing something else when it comes to delivering their products or services. If you tell people in your marketing campaigns that customer service is paramount, but you have people in your organization who ignore complaints or don’t act on orders, and do not care about customer satisfaction, then you minimize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
We should understand that customers buy service rather than the product. What drives your business is the value placed on customer satisfaction and experience. And when all your customers get is mostly the opposite of what they expect due to the high level of employee dissatisfaction in the organization, your sales and in turn your revenue, must ultimately be affected.
The bad service from your subjects is just a symptom of an inherent problem somewhere in the organization, for which the leadership must trace and nip in the bud. Your staff passes down their grudges to these customers just to get at you. This is not by any means an excuse or an encouragement for laziness or avenue to encourage irresponsible behaviors from the employees. What we advocate, here, is for a true assessment of your entire staff and the value they create for the success of the entire organization. If any staff is known to be incurably irresponsible, such staff must be made to face the music.
Companies seem to pay more attention to the big guys while relegating to the background the people in operations especially the ‘front line’, who are in constant contact with the outside world and projects the company’s image. No matter how great a company strategy is, if not well communicated and passed down, will achieve no result.
And because you cannot give what you do not have, the people in the customer service, expected to be the carrier of satisfaction and great experience, must in them be satisfied and well catered for.
Think of how you can motivate your employees to perform more efficiently and effectively. Motivating them will help initiate conscious and purposeful actions among them. Align the company’s goal with the interest of your employees and help them achieve their own personal objectives. This will greatly boost their moral and they will give you their very best.
INNO AKOMA, MBA MNIM.
I am a content and article writer. I love writing about Business and start ups with special interest in retail businesses. I am the CEO of NOBLE GUIDE CONSULT, our mission is to provide business support services such as Business Registration, Business Feasibility, Business/ Market Research, Business and market plans, strategy plans, promotional services, training of retail staff, etc. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 08132611062, 08023709914.