Improve Your Customer Service by Treating Your Employees Well

on May 20, 2013 in ABR Blog, HR and Workforce Tips


A New York Times blog post asked the question, “How do you treat your employees?” It’s a simple question, but one we might not always ask ourselves. Instead we prioritize other issues: employee happiness, engagement, and productivity.

However, if we really break it down, the key to a successful workforce might be found in your very own actions. Simple everyday actions in fact – a timely arrival, a friendly hello, and a sincere thank you (or apology) when needed. After all, that’s how you’d expect your employees to treat your customers, isn’t it? And that’s exactly the point New York Times blogger Josh Patrick is making.

While it’s important to focus our best behaviors toward our best customers, the same courtesies should be extended toward our very own employees. Not only is it respectful, but the good vibes will go viral. In turn, employees will treat customers in the same way they are treated. It creates a positive environment. In the New York Times piece, Patrick elaborates:

“The biggest lesson I learned was that if I ever wanted my employees to treat my customers well, I had better treat my employees well,” Patrick says. “It took me 10 years to learn this lesson, but once I did, our customer service went from O.K. with lots of effort to great with minimal effort.”

What action steps can you take for your business? Here’s our recap of this concept with a few simple strategies you can enact today:

Build Trust

Think of a relationship with an employee like any other relationship in your life. Trust cannot be built unless you are reliable. Do the things you say you are going to do when they need to be done. Again, you wouldn’t offer a refund to your best customer then forget about your offer, or send the rebate two months late. Remember: treat your employees like your best customers.

Show Respect

Respect goes far. Give all of your employees a level of respect, even the newest additions to your workforce. Each is a sort of expert in their own rights and knows ins and outs of a position that you might not understand. Most importantly, respect employee’s time. Return phone calls and emails in a timely manner.

Follow Up

If there’s a problem that’s been brought to your attention, don’t just suggest a solution and move on. Follow up. See how it unfolded. Make sure the issue was resolved successfully. This applies to positive ventures as well. Follow up with praise if a great project has been wrapped up. Don’t let anyone feel forgotten or neglected. One more time: treat your employees like your best customers.

Be Humble

As mentioned previously, the simplest actions may make the biggest difference. Please. Thank you. I’m sorry. These phrases go far in your home life and at the workplace. And a humble disposition means these phrases will flow like water. It’s an attitude adjustment, but one that won’t go unnoticed.