This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Jeff Toister writes about employee motivation. Taking care of your employees is key to success. As I always say, what’s happening on the inside of an organization is being felt by the customer on the outside! – Shep Hyken The Westin Portland is […]
This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Jeff Toister writes about employee motivation. Taking care of your employees is key to success. As I always say, what’s happening on the inside of an organization is being felt by the customer on the outside! – Shep Hyken
The Westin Portland is one of my favorite hotels. Their warm and attentive associates always make me feel welcome and you can’t beat their location in the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon. I’ve stayed there many times over the years and have come to feel like the hotel is my home away from home.
When I started writing my customer service book in 2011, I interviewed then General Manager Chris Lorino to learn some of the hotel’s service secrets. One of Lorino’s strongest beliefs was that you should never reward employees for achieving outstanding survey scores. He felt it was important to build a team of people who naturally wanted to serve guests at the highest level. In Lorino’s opinion, a reward system would inevitably get in the way.
Both leading research on employee motivation and Lorino’s own success as a General Manager suggests that he is absolutely correct.
It’s important to differentiate between rewards and recognition. The purpose of this post is to demonstrate that employees for outstanding service, but go ahead and recognize them all you want.
Rewards are if-then propositions. The prize and the criteria for earning the prize are spelled out ahead of time. For example, if you average a certain score on your customer service survey, then you will get a gift card.
Recognition is the unexpected reinforcement of results that have already been achieved. An example would be giving an employee a gift card out of the blue to thank them for achieving a high average score on their customer service survey.
The biggest problem with rewarding employees for good customer service is it takes their attention away from providing outstanding service and re-focuses them on winning the prize.
We’ve probably all seen examples of the behavior changes this can cause:
What’s the purpose of conducting a customer service survey?
Rewarding employees for achieving a certain score, they may act as though achieving that score is the ultimate goal. However, most service professionals will tell you that the survey is really a tool that can be used for continuous improvement.
Here are a few ways that focusing solely on a survey goal might prevent continuous improvement:
Let’s imagine a survey of 100 customers where 90 are satisfied and 10 are unhappy. If my employees are focused on achieving a specific target, they may feel great about a 90% customer satisfaction level. However, they’ll be much more eager to find out how to win over the other 10% if their true focus is continuous improvement.
If you want to learn more about the science behind rewards and employee motivation, check out Daniel Pink’s fascinating book, Drive. Pink’s biggest point is that the true motivating factors are purpose, autonomy, and mastery. Let’s look at each one in a customer service context:
The very best organizations have a clear and compelling customer service vision describing the type of service they’re hoping to provide. It’s amazing what happens when the whole team is unified around a common objective.
Nobody wants to be micromanaged. Give people the resources, training, and authority to get the job done right. Then get out of their way and you’ll see people taking responsibility for the results they achieve.
We all want to be good at what we do. Help bring out the best in employees through coaching, training, and continuous feedback. This will lead you to find that people will step up to the challenge of becoming the very best they can be.
Jeff Toister is the author of Service Failure, a book that reveals hidden obstacles to outstanding service. His company, Toister Performance Solutions Inc. helps clients identify these obstacles so they can improve customer service.
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