Employee Acknowledgement: Why It's important and how to show it

What does your customer see and experience? 

… Is it beautifully curated moments, amazing décor, an ambience that envelops them?

If we were to pull back the curtain and take a peek behind the scenes, what would they *actually* see?

So often the focus is on “Customer Service”; service afforded to customers, however, just as important is “internal customer service”; service afforded to each individual in your team.  Over the past two decades researching and training multiple teams our data shows that there is a definite link between the engaged team member and engaged customer through service.

Currently I am presenting our annual award “OOPS Superior Customer Service Award” to 3 recipients; small, medium and large venues as well as the “OOPS Superior Customer Service Staff Award” to one amazing team member across the thousands that we assess over the year.  I know that our clients have amazing team members, however, it really resonates when I am presenting these awards, seeing and hearing how senior management acknowledge the link between their customers and team members that attracts and retains customers.  

Daniel Hamilton, a young Uni student working casually at Juniors Maroubra took out the 2019 award.  The Juniors CEO Geoff Knight and COO Paul Muir presented the trophy in the Club for members and guests along with other team members to acknowledge the efforts of Daniel.  I was so happy to present the trophy to Daniel as my team in our Mystery shopping reports had commented many times on his excellent service, positive attitude and willingness to help customers and his team.  

In accepting the award Daniel acknowledged his team, those who had shown him the “ropes” when he first started and the camaraderie.   As you can see in the photo, they are a team who are connected and engaged. There were plenty of very happy members and guests to congratulate Daniel.

When it comes to the engaged customer, it is the customer who “feels” the service experience.  It’s the delivery of the “please and thank you” from the team member who is engaged in the business.  Here are top six (6) ways your team can be engaging with your customers:

  • Natural smile – it's all in your mouth and eyes

  • Positive body language – remember to have open arms, standing tall

  • Recognition of the regulars – the use of their name or remembering their “usual” order

  • Friendly and warm welcome to new customers

  • Dressed and groomed to suit the business culture

  • Premises presentation – clean and well maintained

The culture of the organisation resonates in these Awards.  Team members who are positively engaged in their role will provide an enthusiastic welcome and offering to their customers.

Engagement won’t happen if managers don’t get to know their team members and then give them the role that matches their strengths.  Three key takeaways for managers to engage their team are:

  • Know their stories – take time to get to know the people who you work with

  • Ignite the potential of individuals – getting them into the right role

  • Building trust through delegation and emphasise the positives


Recognition and Celebration

Team members need to know they are appreciated and what they are doing is meaningful. Team members that have a purpose at work achieve higher productivity. They want to know what the outcome will be, how the customer reacts, how it will make a difference to their productivity and how it will create a more unified team.

When it comes to deciding upon the venue awards, it is the whole team; frontline and  management, service interaction experience, facilities, food offering, entertainment and compliance.  Merrylands RSL has been a part of the local community for 97 years and over the years the whole area has changed; retail growth, cultural diversity, age demographic, housing density, road changes and the list goes on.  Through it all Merrylands RSL has been the stalwart, where those in the neighbourhood knew they would be greeted by a friendly smile, enjoy a good meal, be entertained and feel safe and secure.

Bryn Miller, CEO and his small but mighty management team have driven a culture of care, community and commitment. Their acknowledgement of the past and their strong connection to past serving members in the defence force; as well as the mothers who took their children to the Baby Health clinic built in 1947 (now beautifully restored housing local artists great works), is just some of the ways they connect with their members and guests while planning an amazing future.

Every business depends on the service that the team provides to their customer. As a business owner or manager, you need to stop and review the following and create an action plan. Here are some helpful prompters:

  • Recruiting team members with the right attitude that fit your organisational culture

  • Updating policies while keeping current with trends that may impact on the business, directly or indirectly

  • Communicating to your team the expectations and changing needs of the customer

  • Reviewing frontline training for all team members

  • Reviewing customer feedback with team members

  • Recognition programs for team members

  • Recognition and loyalty programs for customers

From years of research we know that businesses who engage their team have long term growth as well as long term team members who are proud of the organisation they work for.  You cannot be a “solo” owner/manager, you need the team and they need you.

Here at OOPS we have over 25 years experience in writing and delivering frontline and leadership training programs that are tailored for your organisation.  We have a long term client list (some over two decades) with proven results seen in our clients bottom line, site expansion and a unified team working towards the vision and delivering the experience through the actions and behaviours of the organisations values. 

I am always up for a chat and a weak latte, give me a call and let’s get together to discuss your needs and how we can write and deliver a program that will have your team exceeding the expectations of your customers.  

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