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Do you pamper your customers and neglect your employees?

Do you pamper your customers and neglect your employees?

We were walking through a beautiful new supermarket with one of our clients a few weeks back. As in most new markets we see, it was a gleaming palace, complete with great customer amenities and the latest in new departments and offers. It was physically beautiful from a design standpoint … until we went into the back room, where the “new” abruptly stopped. Cement floors, unfinished walls, spartan break rooms with folding tables and chairs and communications that were decidedly legal — driven by rules and regulations, not motivation.

By contrast, we had a chance to take a behind the scenes tour at Disney World recently. As most know, Disney is renowned for delivering a great customer experience. They refer to their guest experience as The Show, with cast members and guests. Backstage is treated with the same care as on-stage, with some of the most immaculate stock rooms we’ve ever seen. There were numerous associate programs being trained and promoted in the back of the house, including creating “Five Star Stories,” along with constant reminders on product knowledge, white glove care and creating engagements with the guest.

Backstage was viewed as an opportunity for internal branding and Disney states that:

 “Our brand is our cast and our cast is our magic.”

Most retailers will state that their customers are their most important focus. But, what about your people who must deliver on that promise? What cues do you send to your people on how important they are? How do you show them you care? What kind of training programs do you have that focus on guest engagement? Product knowledge? Customer service? Their own advancement?

A successful business really needs to be thought about from the inside out. The only way to deliver great customer service is to have great programs for your own people. It’s no secret that the best service experiences in retail (Publix, Wegmans, Container Store, Whole Foods, REI, Nordstrom, etc.) also routinely show up as The Best Places to Work.

How can we possibly expect to have our associates take care of customers if we don’t take care of our associates?

Are you paying as much attention to your people as you do to your customers? What programs do you have in place for your associates?

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