Mark Twain a renown American writer said, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” This quote asserts that age is best seen in wrinkles caused by smiles due to the warmth and joy shared with oneself and others over time.
This maxim is indeed true on a personal level and can also be extended to corporate entities. With every corporate anniversary achieved, the best way to reflect and celebrate on the milestones achieved is seen in the wrinkles etched in the hearts and lips of the people who engage with the company as employees as well as customers. Companies that focus on delivering smiles set a series of activities going in the hearts and minds of their people. Some of these include loyalty, repeat business and advocacy. It is interesting how forgiving people become when their best brand suffers a slip up, the people form a loyal army championing for quick resolution and return to normalcy so that they may continue to enjoy their services as they have known. This level of advocacy from the people is often rare, in a market that is teeming with alternatives, however it is not uncommon.
Customer responses given through various company channels including digital platforms provide opportunities to give accounts of the customer experience in a company. These channels are often used to build brands as well as register dismay with the conduct of brands with no reference to a company intermediary. It is in these digital platforms that customers post their ‘smile’ or ‘frown’ experience which then is shared in forums beyond the company’s control.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel have been globally recognized for offering the best customer service experience across its hotel chain. Herve Humler, the Chairman Emeritus of the Ritz Carlton says, “I believe in the power of recognition and empowerment leading to great employee engagement. And employee engagement is critical to guest engagement. Employee empowerment and recognition is the core of our culture and how we achieve outstanding customer service.”
Staff loyalty encourages employees to do their best work and perform to the highest standards possible. Loyal employees work productively and efficiently to ultimately boost overall business performance reflected in increased sales and profits. With great staff loyalty, the business stands assured of the ability to serve clients to a quality and standard that encourages more business as well as elimination of vices such as; fraud, poor service with employees seeing themselves as company ambassadors in and out of the work setting.
In Kenya, Siginon Group is celebrating 35 years since its inception in 1985. The company which started off as a small clearing and forwarding company has today evolved into a transport and logistics powerhouse offering end to end global logistics and ground handling services. The people factor is visible in Siginon’s success. The company continues to attract new customers yet retain the existing customers who have used their services for 35 years ago! Job Kemboi, the Group Commercial Manager says, “Customer Focus is one of our core values. With our customers, we want to serve them well consistently so that they feel like we are part of them because we are proactively meeting their needs and offering them unmatched services from the next logistics provider. We also want to retain our staff and ensure that as the business grows, they also grow at work as well as personally. We are in the business of making sure that Siginon encounters make people smile.”
The Entrepreneur.com says, high levels of employee motivation and engagement are directly linked to a company’s customer service levels and satisfaction. In addition, firms that focus primarily on consumer needs rather than profits and sales tend to outperform their competitors.
Bottom line, only customer focused companies survive, let the smile wrinkles start with the people in the company so they can offer the same to the customers.