In every industry, change is inevitable. The minute you think you are good enough, your competition is passing you by with some new process or service that “WOWS” their customers. To be competitive, you have to find new and better ways to serve your customers, to enhance their experience, and to keep them coming back. How do you get your employees to see the value in constant process improvement, and feel that the change is theirs to own and drive?
The obvious first step is identifying where your shortcomings are. Since you can’t have a successful business without happy customers, the best place to gather information is from your customer’s. Ask them what they think you do really well, and ask them where you are lacking. In my experience, face to face communication with customers is the most valuable. They are happy to share what they love and what they dislike. Once you have a clear picture of what your customer wants, you have to find a way to give them what they value. This is where your employees become most important in improving your business, and the way you include them will either make or break the change you are trying to achieve.
Once implemented, ongoing two-way communication is imperative. Change has to be tracked, and feedback from customers and employees has to be shared. If a process isn’t working, employees need to be involved in identifying new changes, and once implemented, continue to follow-up. When processes do work, you have to celebrate the success and the efforts put forth by your employees. The follow-up process continues until the new plan is hard-wired, and you see the fruits of your labor in improved customer satisfaction.
Employees are the most valuable resource you have. They are your front line, they know what works and what doesn’t. Accessing their knowledge and talents, involving them from the beginning and allowing them to own the process will allow change to happen. And when they are part of the solution, they are more willing to embrace change and improve your business.
As a leader I am always looking for new ways to motivate, inspire, and celebrate, and I welcome any comments you would like to share!