For better or worse, businesses are the people they employ.  Yet, business rarely recruit staff with a focus on their ability to build relationship but this is the truly where the ‘customer loyalty and retention’ rubber meets the road.

I had a experience, recently, that reinforced this truth for me (once again.)

I had stopped in, for breakfast, at a Grand Rapids location of a national franchise that has been operating here for decades.  As you probably know, turn-over among restaurant service workers tends to be high.  Exceptions exist in higher class restaurants who include creating a exquisite dining experience in the price.  At this location, however, there is a cadre of service workers, who have been working there for years, if not decades.

I had visited this establishment many times before.  It’s usually resulted in a very good meal.  The staff has always been friendly and competent.  For some reason during this visit, I was in observation mode. I watched the staff, closely, as real people rather than just people in the background scenery.

You might not believe it but… in this single visit… I saw one waiter slide into a booth next to a little girl and hug her…. and another waiter rush across the room (between serving his tables) to fist bump with a guest sitting by himself (in another waiter’s section) ensuring he knew he had been seen. I listened in on many conversations between staff and customers where details about family, interests were discussed, as if between friends. I overheard several guests asking servers what their schedules were so they can be sure to see them when they returned… the next day.

Clearly, these staff members were doing something right AND making more $$$ for the restaurant over servers just going through the motions.  🙂  As a result, they had a loyal following of customers.

In the days since  I’ve read a couple of great articles on the Internet that reinforced the moral of the story, so to speak.

Loyalty Matters and it Follows Relationships

 Key points in this article are:

  • It is a fact that a very small % of the people you encounter will be exceptional.
  • Product and price will always matter in business.  But service makes the massive difference.  Great service is delivered by people that understand RELATIONSHIPS are king.
  • Loyalty is rewarded AFTER relationships are established, nurtured, and grown over time.  All the ads and promotions in the world can’t pull a consumer away from an established relationship. Loyalty drives long term, exceptional revenue that is difficult to compete with.

Your Company Is Only As Extraordinary As Your People

Take-homes, in this post are:

  • Our companies, as well as our reputations, are only as good as the people we employ.
  • Success is a team sport, requiring dedication, inspiration, and passion; and one can never get that without cultivating the culture of trust, mutual respect, and empowerment.
  • The brands that understand this fundamental principle empower their employees.
  • The best experiences the companies can empower are also truly authentic and sincere.

Bottom line:

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.” — Jim Rohn

Wise businesses actively seek and reward A players, as they make them a ton of money and are truly special.  They are the 20% of people that drive 80% of the revenue.

Questions for you and your business: How many A players are on your team?  How will you get more?  How will you reward the ones you have and keep them?