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Tag Archive for employee morale

“Our Customer Service is Broken”

 

These were the words shared by McDonald’s last week during a webconference with franchisees. The company has been struggling as of late, and an increase of complaints has not helped.

 

While there were some complaints related to food quality, these were overshadowed by the other complains related to customer service and employee attitude. Namely, the most complaints revolved around:

 

1. Rude or unprofessional employees

2. Orders taking too long to be prepared

 

These are some major factors in customer service, and while McDonald’s continues to be a frontrunner in the industry, continued complaints and service related issues can hurt them in the long run.
One of their challenges lies in the franchised based system – it’s difficult sometimes to ensure all franchisees are holding the same standards as corporate does, and to make sure that all operational procedures are being strictly adhered to.

 

This increase in complaints has definitely gotten their attention, and they will be working hard to overcome the challenges, improve service levels, and get back to where they used to be as far as customer service and satisfaction.

 

What can a company do when this happens? Since an increase in complaints signals concern, there are some steps that can be taken to pinpoint, address, and fix issues:

 

1. Determine if it’s a company-wide or regional problem. It might be there are only some locations that are showing signs of concern, or it may be a particular region. Start with these areas and talk with district managers who are responsible for these locations; has there been a change in any way? Is the manager seeing similar issues when visiting locations? It’s time to work with management for a clear review and observation to pinpoint issues.

 

2. Look for training opportunities. There may be a slew of new staff that may not have been trained properly, or a similar issue causing the decreased service levels. Determine if additional training is needed.

 

3. Ramp up your mystery shopping program. Check to see that you’re measuring the right aspects of the business. With franchises especially, it can be difficult to get buy in, especially if corporate offers mystery shopping services at the franchisee’s expense.

 

If you’re not doing so, it might be time to incorporate an incentive program tied to the mystery shopping program. Rewarding good service can increase its likelihood.

 

4. Talk to your employees. if you’re seeing a decline in service across a particular location, region, or even company wide, implement an anonymous employee feedback survey to ask employees for their thoughts and opinions regarding their work, their satisfaction, and ask for suggestions for improvement. Based on responses, this could be a great starting point for additional conversations with your employees, or signal the need for more or different training to give your employees a chance to be successful in their work.

 

Employee morale and work satisfaction have a direct correlation to customer service levels; when your company is seeing an increase in customer complaints, it’s time to start paying attention.

 

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What Message Do Your Actions Give Employees?

 

Actions speak louder than words, and in business, this is no exception. I’ve read many news articles since the election that revolve around companies putting layoffs into place since Obama was re-elected. The main reason cited in these articles surrounds “Obamacare” – simply put, these companies are stating that they will have to layoff employees or cut work hours of current employees so as not to have to cover insurance, stating that it will cost more than they can afford.

 

I can understand their frustration in this regard, if it is true. If companies are faced with additional cost, they may have to make some tough decisions. However, what caught my attention is that I read an article on Friday about a larger company who stated these exact sentiments, yet over the weekend I viewed several commercials with high profile spokespeople for the very same company. I know advertising isn’t cheap, and it is necessary, BUT…..

 

What message are you sending to your employees? We need to make cuts, but we’re not going to change our advertising spend. In fact, we’re going to cut your hours or completely eliminate your job. That sends a message that bringing customers in is more important than the employees a company hires.

 

It may not be that simple, or that cut and dried, but it does send a message.

 

In another newsworthy item this weekend, I came across an article that talked about a drug store chain that spent several thousand dollars on advertising to bring customers in to their stores. While it worked well, and people came in to redeem the sales in the ad, there were issues with redemption of the offer, and employees (and managers) were not able to honor the offer because of a simple glitch that no one had the authority to fix. From what I understand, it made many customers unhappy, some vowing never to return to the store.  While all of this money was spent getting people into the store, not enough funds were focused on employees and providing them training and tools necessary to fully assist customers. I’m sure it was not their intent, but they set up the employees to fail. That sent a message too, intended or not; the company was focused on increased sales without making sure their front line employees were able to be successful and provide the service customers expect.

 

The economy has been rough, to say the least, for the last several years, but your employees are the face of your business. While it’s true that they are valued, and you could not run your business without them, it’s wise to make decisions focused on thinking through what message you may be sending to your employees. Empowered employees with strong morale will help you meet your goals. After all, you can bring in thousands of customers a day, but if your front line isn’t able or willing to provide great customer service, everyone loses.

 

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The Motivational Duck

 

Everyone loves a “feel good” story, and employee incentive stories are no different. We recently ran this story in our newsletter, and it was a big hit! I wanted to share it with my readers as well, because it shows how a simple gesture can create fun in the workplace.

 

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Enjoy!

 

 

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