Ten Things Really Amazing Employees Do

Mar 1, 2013

Here are ten traits that any great employer should recognize and reward instantly.

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As a longtime employer of dozens, I was always grateful to have good employees. It takes a lot to recruit and maintain top talent. Every once in a while special employees come along that just really seem to get it. They drive the entire company forward in ways that were unimaginable. Advancement and reward is never an issue for these rock stars because they understand the power of cause and effect, and only a worthy company can retain them and afford them.

Here are 10 things amazing employees seem to do effortlessly. Here’s how to help your great employees be even more amazing.

1. Enthusiastically Learn All Aspects of Business

They understand they’re part of something bigger and more worthwhile than just their job. They look to learn other areas of the business and be fluent in finance and management so they’ll positively impact multiple areas of the company.

What you can do: Invest in material and seminars on business basics like accounting, marketing, and management so all employees have easy access to learn and grow.

2. Steward the Company

They treat the company as if it were theirs. They look to make prudent decisions about expenses and opportunities with the long-term future of the company in mind. They easily assess risk vs. reward, selflessly when making decisions.

What you can do: Be transparent in your business. The more you share your financials and philosophy, the easier it is for employees to make the right decisions.

3. Generate Viable Opportunities

You don’t have to be in sales or marketing to help a company grow. Strong networkers from all divisions see company growth as a collective effort and constantly keep their eyes open for ways to more than pay for themselves.

What you can do: Make sure all your employees understand your value proposition and can easily identify opportunities. Then reward them openly for their efforts.

4. Resolve Issues Before They Are Issues

My favorite days running companies are when I notice positive change in procedure when I was totally unaware of the need for change. Amazing employees are always looking to improve systems proactively, and they do.

What you can do: Communicate a clear written vision of where the company is going and encourage initiative so people feel safe and empowered to make change.

5. Tell It Like It Is

Amazing employees understand that hiding bad news helps no one. They find kind ways to bring uncomfortable information to the surface, but they DO bring it to the surface. They tell people what’s necessary before major damage is done.

What you can do: Foster an open communication environment where people are not only given permission to tell the truth, but also absolutely required.

6. Demonstrate High Standards, With Low Maintenance

I always feel relaxed when I can trust an employee to perform a task to the same high standards I would expect from myself. Not all can do this without constant attention or difficulty. Amazing employees quietly drive their own high standards.

What you can do: Set the example and the tone for high performance with minimal drama. Publicly reward those who can execute in the same manner.

7. Grow Themselves, and Others

They not only drive their own career but they inspire others to do the same. These employees lead by example in how to advance without creating animosity or resentment. They see and create their perfect future, and also bring others along.

What you can do: Encourage personal development and peer growth through dedicated group time and learning for career advancement.

8. Research, Apply, and Refine

No employer expects people to know everything. In this fast changing world, I choose employees who will learn over those who know. The best employee proactively explores options, takes action and then improves without direction from the top.

What you can do: Invest time in exploration and expansive thinking. Encourage people to explore deep visionary projects with time and reward for the findings.

9. Stimulate Happiness

Amazing employees aren’t always sunshine and roses. They do know how to keep it real. But they understand the dynamics of people, stress, and the blend of work, life and friendship. They are self-aware and able to direct their own path that brings out their best with family, friends and career. They exude positive energy even in stressful times and share it around, making for a happier office.

What you can do: Create an environment where people can openly express themselves. Encourage them to work hard in fulfilling ways and achieve their dreams.

10. Facilitate Amazing Bosses

Amazing employees make me grow as an employer. They self-confidently get their value and help me get mine. They make me want to be worthy of working with somebody of such high caliber, without ever saying it directly of course.

What you can do: Make effort to genuinely show appreciation for any of the behaviors above so people feel their value and will grow to full potential. Then they will do the same for you.

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Five Good Reasons to Work in a Boutique Hotel

1. It’s Personal

Being personal is paramount in a boutique hotel and it could easily be added as a descriptive adjective to the other basic boutique attributes listed below. This is because being personal is the essence that differentiates a boutique hotel from the rest.

People who demand quality service will often choose to stay at boutique properties because they feel that a smaller, more intimate and bespoke environment appeals to their desire for personalization. The success of boutique hotels lies in never forgetting that everyone (guests) likes to be treated personally while having their specific wants and needs met to their satisfaction. By definition of a boutique property, it is the core responsibility of the staff to cater to those specific desires that each person holds.

Creating an unforgettable experience means that working in a boutique property requires a personalized mind-set that is different than that of a larger chain hotel.

From cleaning a room, to the service in the restaurant/bar, to the recommendation of a day out on the town, to the upkeep of the property; this personalized mind-set is something that everyone should keep present in everything they do.

2. It’s individual

Working in a boutique property allows you to shine as an individual who has a unique personality, who has life experience and who is able to share intelligent thoughts, ideas, and opinions with your guests. It is very rewarding, both personally and as a hotel professional, to actually get to know your guests by engaging them and demonstrating that it is in your heart to take care of them personally during their stay in your hotel.

Working in a smaller boutique hotel definitely isn’t about making your job or life easier. But it is about mutual experiences and giving people memorable times. There is nothing quite as gratifying as a guest who approaches you smiling ear to ear while giving their personal thanks to you and all the committed and attentive professionals that made their stay so enjoyable.

3. It’s sincere

One other rewarding reason to work in a boutique hotel is that it encourages sincerity between you and your guests. Being sincere adds to the personable aspects of your work and there is no doubt that guests appreciate it much more than the “drone” who communicates with them like an automated wakeup call.

Guests at hotels in this day and age have likely dealt with all kinds of situations that allow them to tell from miles away when someone is not being true to them. In boutique hotels, especially, they don’t like being lied to and they don’t like run-arounds.

From my experience, even the most demanding guests will respond better to honesty and forthcoming answers than those that try to make fools out of them by offering up outlandish excuses for their lack of quality service. Even in the most inconvenient of situations, sincerity pays off and will undoubtedly help build a lasting rapport between you and your guest. These seemingly small, yet crucial details will add to the joy of their stay and turn your work into a meaningful endeavour.

4. It’s passionate

Successful leadership and effective teamwork in a boutique hotel operation are in symbiosis with both a passion for hospitality and a passion of working with people. Executing this symbiosis brings balance to the hotel’s operation, your guest’s stay, and your own growth as a professional. Although discipline, appropriate work procedures, goal setting, feedback and vision are all important parts of your work as a hospitality professional, they mean little if your heart is not in it or you do not have the proper people skills. Without passion you, your guests, your team and ultimately the entire operation will suffer in the long term.

Since boutique hospitality is always about people and the relations between people, how well you connect to guests and to your fellow co-workers depends a great deal on your passion for your work. If you are passionate about delivering quality, being of service and constantly thinking about the better welfare of your guests and team members then you will inevitably be successful.

5. It’s inspiring      

The uniqueness and character of boutique hotels usually goes hand in hand with all that I have mentioned above. Many times they provide inspiration and provoke your passion for your work by virtue of their location in a heritage building, a one of a kind contemporary design or maybe even an eccentric old house decorated with flea market objects.

Genuine boutique hotels, like the Palacio Belmonte where I work in Lisbon, Portugal, inspire guests and staff alike through their ability to be personable, sincere, and detail oriented within a setting that is unique to itself. At the Palacio Belmonte, it is inspiring to know that every detail was thought of with the single most important purpose of making each guest’s experience a special one.

Source: Les Roches

Lead Me: Help Me to Become More Than I Realize I Can Be

Everyday there are many employees who go to work, and are looking for one thing. No, the one thing I am referring to has nothing to do with compensation. The “one thing” is more intrinsic in nature. These employees are looking to be inspired. Tony Zseigh, CEO of Zappos.com, made a very interesting statement that really resonated with me. He said, “At Zappos.com, we stopped looking for ways to motivate our team and started looking for ways to inspire them.” The connotation is that being inspired resonates on a much deeper level and tends to last longer than being merely motivated, which may not be as enduring.

On a personal note, I know that my greatest contributions at work almost always happened after I felt inspired to do more than what was expected. I’ve been fortunate to have had multiple mentors throughout my career. These mentors guided me, challenged me, and yes, inspired me to see more, do more and become more. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on what it takes to inspire your team to become more than they realize they can be.

So, here are six things that inspire people at work (from the employee’s perspective):

    1. A compelling vision: Much has been written about vision statements. Truly, the vision is the primary tool that great leaders use to influence (not mandate) others to follow them. The vision should clearly explain where the leader expects the team to be years from now.* Voice of the Employee: “I want to be on a winning team. I need to know where we are going. Please tell me. After all, if I know where we are going, I will be more inclined to help us get there. Lead Me.”
    2. Clearly articulated mission: The mission should easily show what your team does, how your team does it, why it does it, and who it does it for. The central purpose of why your team exists should be readily found in the mission.* Voice of the Employee: “I want to be clear about what we do. Even more than that, I want to be proud of what we do. I want to brag to my family and friends about the great team I am on. Lead me.”
    3. Alignment between the vision and mission: One of the biggest gaps many companies have is that there is no clear connection between where the company is going (vision), what the company does (mission) and individual employee job performance. When employees can see how their specific job contributes to the organization’s success, they are more likely to put more effort into their work.* Voice of the Employee: “I need to know how I fit into the bigger picture. Is my specific job even that important? The vision and mission both sound good, but I don’t know how I can possibly help fulfill them. Lead me.”
    4. Connect to a greater purpose (Special Note.. This point is especially relevant for Generation Y and Millenials): Even beyond your company’s vision and mission, why is your company’s existence a benefit to society. Why is the world any better because your company is in it?* Voice of the Employee: “I need to know how this company contributes to the well-being of society. How does the service and/or product we provide help to improve people’s lives? Are we volunteering our time, donating to charities and being environmentally responsible? Lead me.”
    5. Learn both personal and professional goals: Beyond the daily work that your staff does, take the time to learn each of your employees’ professional and personal goals. As the old saying goes, people buy into the leader before they buy into the leadership.* Voice of the Employee: “I need you to know me, and understand me. Take the time to learn both my professional and personal goals. Challenge me to achieve them. Mentor me, coach me, and follow-up with me. Lead me.”
    6. Uncompromising leadership: One of the fastest ways to de-motivate your best staff is they see you accepting mediocrity from the rest of the team. Do NOT compromise your high expectations. If you do, one of the first ramifications is a once-great employee will decide to either quit-and-leave OR quit-and-stay.

      *
      Voice of the Employee
      : “I need you to set high expectations and commit to them. Please don’t compromise them. As easy as it is to look the other way when a team member doesn’t pick up that piece of paper, please say something. I love my job and I love this company, but I don’t want to be a part of a losing team. I want us to win. This team deserves to win and winning teams have winning leaders. These leaders do not tolerate foolishness. My only professional dream is to work for a team AND a leader who are both committed to excellence. Have I found them? Lead me.”

About Bryan K. Williams
Dr. Bryan K. Williams is the Chief Service Officer of B.Williams Enterprise, and the author of Work Like You Own It! 20 Ways to Go From Meeting to Exceeding Your Customers’ Expectations and Engaging Service: 22 Ways to Become a Service Superstar. Bryan’s passion is world-class customer service, and has facilitated workshops and delivered keynotes all over the world for various companies.  He speaks on a variety of topics related to service excellence, employee engagement, and organizational improvement.  As a consultant, Bryan works closely with companies to design, develop, and implement sustainable service strategies. His company’s online store includes a growing collection of customer service products that are well-suited for your training library.

TOP TEN CUSTOMER SERVICE STRATEGIES FOR 2012

1. Be better than average. Amazing companies don’t always deliver “Wow!” type experiences. No, they are just a little better than average – all of the time. All of the time is the secret. Anyone can be good or great once in a while. It’s the consistency that makes them amazing.
2. Pay attention to details. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impact. Figure out the details that your customers enjoy and make them a routine part of doing business with you.
3. You may not be the owner, but you should care like you’re the owner. Not all owners or executives make great leaders, but the ones that are should be emulated. Watch how they take pride in how they deal with customers and employees. Then copy them. Act and care like you are the owner.
4. Analyze when things go right. When a company receives a complaint people usually have discussions to find out what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. Next time you receive a letter of praise, meet to find out what went right and how it can be repeated. Don’t, as the cliché goes, just learn from mistakes.
5. Focus on 100% wallet share. A loyal customer is  a repeat customer, but may still buy from your competition. The ultimate loyal customer is a repeat customer that buys what you sell, but only from you, and not your competition. So, what are you doing right now that is going to make sure the customer, the next time they need what you sell, will come back – the next time, every time?
6. Use social media to enhance your customer service by sending value added messages, creating users groups and monitoring what others are saying about you.
7. Create a consistent experience. One sure way to erode loyalty is to deliver an inconsistent customer service experience. One time it’s great. The next time it is barely average. And, the next time it may be great again. Inconsistency creates uncertainty. Uncertainty erodes confidence. Lack of confidence leads to lack of trust. All of that leads to giving a customer a reason to consider your competition.
8. “Peoplize” your business. (I made that word up.) People do business with people. Make it personal. Customers should want to do business with you because of you and your employees. Make your customers “feel at home.” You may have a great location, cool displays, great signage, etc. That’s all great, but if your people can’t make  your customers feel welcome and appreciated, all of the other “stuff” doesn’t matter.
9. Experience your own customer service. If possible, personally mystery shop your own company. Find out how easy you are to do business with through your own experience. Sure, you can hire a company to do surveys and mystery shopping, but learning through your own experience can be an eye opening experience.
10. Create a customer service culture, and it starts by setting an example and practicing what I call, “The Employee Golden Rule” which is: Treat your employees the way you want the customer treated – maybe even better. By the way, everybody should practice this as when it comes to customer service, everyone is a leader.
Bonus: Don’t forget to say, “Thank you!” It would be remiss of me not to remind you to   show appreciation. You can thank a customer in person, on the phone, with a thank you note, an email… You get the idea.
Now it’s up to you. Choose one customer service strategy to start with. Have a meeting  around it. Discuss how to implement it. Then, do it!
Here’s to 2012 being your best customer service year ever!
Shep Hyken is a professional speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling business author (www.TheCustomerFocus.com).

FOUR WAYS TO MOTIVATE SERVICE PROFESSIONALS – A GUIDE TO GETTING WOW PERFORMANCE

The only thing harder than delivering excellent customer service consistently is motivating someone else to deliver excellent customer service consistently.  Customers are more demanding than ever.  Professionals are more difficult to hire and retain than ever.  Splitting an atom might be easier than rallying an entire organization to Wow customers.  Yet, some organizations succeed.  Four motivation strategies can help your organization succeed too…one professional at a time.

Get Excited

Ironically, as managers the first professional to motivate is ourselves.  If we lack motivation, employees will lack motivation.  Motivation occurs from the inside out.   If we want to motivate someone, we have to communicate to their inside.  Emotions communicate on a deep level from inside to inside.  This is why one bad apple spoils the bunch.  It’s also why one excited manager can mobilize a team to move mountains.
Dig deep.  Feigning excitement is impossible because people’s insides come equipped with an infallible phony-detection system that is always on and has an amazing range of reception.  Are you genuinely excited about the work your team produces?  Whether we manage rocket scientists or the custodial staff, we need to fall in love with our team’s contribution.  A rah-rah attitude at the staff meeting, ho-hum attitude everywhere else will quickly be discovered.
 
Hire Motivated Professionals
 
It’s easier to hire motivated professionals than it is to motivate professionals.  Experts assert, “Hire smart or manage tough.”  A COO of a healthcare organization I worked with declared, “We only hire people with “It”.  Where “It” is a pathological disease to want to serve people.”
Do you believe that professionals exist who would revel in the kind of work your team produces?  The answer is…they do exist.  However, if we are not excited about the work our team produces, we will never attract and hire people who are excited to do it because like attracts like and birds of a feather flock together.  Consider that Disney esteems cleanliness.  They hire only street sweepers and house cleaners who delight in cleaning.  Result: Disney parks and resorts are immaculate.
 
Measure
 
Are you keeping score?  How long does it take, when two people are hitting tennis balls back and forth, for one of them to suggest playing a real game?  What happens to the level of play as soon as the game begins?  Is your department perpetually warming up, hitting balls around?  Or are you playing for real?
Measure something, but make it relevant to your employees, your customers, and your bottom line.  Measuring performance biases employees’ energy like a highlighter biases the eye on a written page.  Highlight too much and we overwhelm.  Highlight the essential nuggets and we assure attention to the highest priorities.
Measurements motivate employees for different reasons.  Some employees are very competitive and thrive on distinguishing their performance from others’.  Some are very competitive and thrive on distinguishing their own future performance from their past.  In other words, they compete with themselves.  And some employees are not competitive at all.  They are very dutiful and focus their energy on whatever is highlighted for them.
 
Institute Profit Sharing
 
Tie the measurement to a reward.  An adage predicts, “What gets rewarded gets repeated.”  Robert Bosch- German Inventor, Industrialist (1861-1942) stated, “I don’t pay good wages because I make a lot of money.  I make a lot of money because I pay good wages.”   If you want to motivate employees even more, reward the results you reap from measuring.
Sales professionals receive commissions based on their measured results: sales and sometimes repeat business or renewals.  What about everyone else?  A manager of a printing company told me that he measures wasted paper.  He sets a goal for “waste”.  If the production employees meet or exceed the goal by producing less waste, the company splits the profits with them.  My auto service center informed me that their sales, service, and auto body departments administer customer satisfaction surveys to every customer.  If, together, they hit or exceed a certain predetermined satisfaction rating, they all receive enhanced benefits and bonuses from corporate.
Rewards add precision to measurement inspired motivation.  If we want salespeople to simply make sales, we emphasize the first sales commission.  If we want salespeople to create relationships and long-term accounts, we emphasize the backend commission.  By rewarding team measurements, we can influence internal customer service in addition to individual service efforts.
 
Summary
 
To motivate employees, be an exemplar.  Being an exemplar will enable you to attract and hire highly motivated employees.  Focus employees’ energy through measurement and reward strategies.  Then…listen for the “Wows” to start coming in.
 
About the Author
 
Mary Sandro helps companies and professionals achieve results through effective presentations exceptional customer service and innovative hiring techniques.  She is available to speak on these topics.  For more information visit http://www.ProEdgeSkills.com or call 800-731-0601.

by Mary Sandro

© ProEdge Skills, Inc.
http://www.ProEdgeSkills.com

8 RULES FOR GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE

Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.

Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers.

If you’re a good salesperson, you can sell anything to anyone once. But it will be your approach to customer service that determines whether or not you’ll ever be able to sell that person anything else. The essence of good customer service is forming a relationship with customers – a relationship that that individual customer feels that he would like to pursue.

How do you go about forming such a relationship? By remembering the one true secret of good customer service and acting accordingly; “You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.”

I know this verges on the kind of statement that’s often seen on a sampler, but providing good customer service IS a simple thing. If you truly want to have good customer service, all you have to do is ensure that your business consistently does these things:

      1. Answer your phone.  Get call forwarding. Or an answering service. Hire staff if you need to. But make sure that someone is picking up the phone when someone calls your business. (Notice I say “someone”. People who call want to talk to a live person, not a fake “recorded robot”.) For more on answering the phone, see Phone Answering Tips to Win Business.
      2. Don’t make promises unless you will keep them. Not plan to keep them. Will keep them. Reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship, and good customer service is no exception. If you say, “Your new bedroom furniture will be delivered on Tuesday”, make sure it is delivered on Tuesday. Otherwise, don’t say it. The same rule applies to client appointments, deadlines, etc.. Think before you give any promise – because nothing annoys customers more than a broken one.
      3. Listen to your customers. Is there anything more exasperating than telling someone what you want or what your problem is and then discovering that that person hasn’t been paying attention and needs to have it explained again? From a customer’s point of view, I doubt it. Can the sales pitches and the product babble. Let your customer talk and show him that you are listening by making the appropriate responses, such as suggesting how to solve the problem.
      4. Deal with complaints. No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed a reflex shrug, saying, “You can’t please all the people all the time”. Maybe not, but if you give the complaint your attention, you may be able to please this one person this one time – and position your business to reap the benefits of good customer service.
      5. Be helpful – even if there’s no immediate profit in it. The other day I popped into a local watch shop because I had lost the small piece that clips the pieces of my watch band together. When I explained the problem, the proprietor said that he thought he might have one lying around. He found it, attached it to my watch band – and charged me nothing! Where do you think I’ll go when I need a new watch band or even a new watch? And how many people do you think I’ve told this story to?
      6. Train your staff (if you have any) to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable. Do it yourself or hire someone to train them. Talk to them about good customer service and what it is (and isn’t) regularly. Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information and power to make those small customer-pleasing decisions, so he never has to say, “I don’t know, but so-and-so will be back at…”
      7. Take the extra step. For instance, if someone walks into your store and asks you to help them find something, don’t just say, “It’s in Aisle 3″. Lead the customer to the item. Better yet, wait and see if he has questions about it, or further needs. Whatever the extra step may be, if you want to provide good customer service, take it. They may not say so to you, but people notice when people make an extra effort and will tell other people.
      8. Throw in something extra. Whether it’s a coupon for a future discount, additional information on how to use the product, or a genuine smile, people love to get more than they thought they were getting. And don’t think that a gesture has to be large to be effective. The local art framer that we use attaches a package of picture hangers to every picture he frames. A small thing, but so appreciated.

If you apply these eight simple rules consistently, your business will become known for its good customer service. And the best part? The irony of good customer service is that over time it will bring in more new customers than promotions and price slashing ever did!