Written by: Heidi Capodanno, Director of Customer Experience, Union Savings Bank
Over the years, we have had a lot to say about small business customer experience. It is an essential part of customer acquisition and, even more importantly, customer retention. Your small business customer experience is the overall impression your customers take away from interactions with your business. These interactions can be conscious or subconscious, honed and crafted or organic and spontaneous. What we have found as a local community bank in Connecticut is that at the heart of every positive customer experience, there’s a team member who made it happen. We have also learned that when you celebrate the exceptional, you get exceptional results. If creating an experience that keeps customers clamoring back for more is one of your goals, then
Hire with customer experience in mind
Before you can start recognizing your team’s exceptional work, you will need to build an exceptional team. If you’re thinking about expanding your small business team, keep in mind that hiring for attitude and then training for aptitude is more than just a good way to keep your employees challenged. It’s also a smart strategy for building a team of people who will share your goals and vision. If stellar customer experience is a top goal for your small business, then finding people who make it their personal mission will help you get there.
Celebrate individual victories
Celebrating the accomplishments of your high-performance team is good for morale, team building and for inspiring future success. Are you also celebrating your individual employees’ victories? Whether it’s making their first sale of the quarter or going above and beyond for a customer, taking the time to recognize an individual employee has been shown to increase employee satisfaction and retention.
It’s not hard to spot the people who take pride in their work and exude their company’s values. In a recent survey, 82 percent of Human Resources professionals agreed that employee recognition positively affects organizational values. So if you have made exceptional customer experience a priority for your team, recognizing and celebrating their individual efforts will encourage them to take it to heart.
Foster an environment of learning
Recognizing an employee’s individual victory also gives you the chance to turn their strength into a learning opportunity. But rather than taking it upon yourself to explain what they have accomplished, invite that team member to showcase their work ethic to your team. In addition to reinforcing organizational values, 87 percent of Human Resources professionals surveyed indicated that employee recognition improved employee relationships. Fostering an environment of learning can help you build a team of people who elevate and support each other.
There are many ways to foster this kind of learning environment with the goal of exceptional small business customer experience in mind. You can schedule huddles in which your team meets to discuss their own challenges and resolutions with each other. Your business can create an internal newsletter dedicated to highlighting individual accomplishments and tips for other team members. The employee you have recognized could lead a mini-workshop or role-playing session to help them demonstrate how they excelled at their customer interaction.
Creating an atmosphere in which your team feels comfortable and even relishes the opportunity to share what they have learned not only raises employee confidence, it builds stronger teams. It sets a bar for excellence that fosters growth rather than contempt. And when put into practice, a supportive learning environment can encourage your team to use thoughtful and innovative techniques to improve small business customer experience at every opportunity.
Encourage peer-to-peer recognition
As studies have shown, recognizing your small business employees goes a long way toward satisfaction and retention. But did you know that of the organizations that use peer-to-peer recognition, over 40 percent report increased customer satisfaction? Creating a supportive environment can have a serious trickle-down effect. We recently launched our own peer-to-peer recognition program to help all of us at Union Savings Bank recognize each other for jobs well done and show gratitude for lending a helping hand.
When married together, hiring a customer experience focused team, celebrating their individual victories, fostering an environment of learning, and encouraging peer-to-peer recognition can help you build a team that’s driven to succeed. Whether you implement a formal team recognition program or simply make recognition a part of your everyday work ethic, you will find that celebrating what makes your team special will have a positive impact on your customers.
If you are ready to grow your team or expand your business, our Business Banking team is here to help. Talk to us today about your goals for your small business.