Satisfaction Guaranteed Satisfied staff mean satisfied customers As business owners or managers, we always look for ways to improve and grow business. Spas and beauty institutes are in the “service” industry, catering directly to the end consumer (a “people to people” business). Naturally, one of the more important measures of success is customer satisfaction. Here’s a new and very workable method for evaluating, improving and adjusting your business. Look on the inside: how happy are your employees? Many management studies have uncovered a very strong correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. In other words, when your staff is happy, your clients will be too. Here are some examples: Brooks looked at the relationship between financial success and customer and employee satisfaction, and reported between 40 and 80 percent of customer satisfaction and loyalty was accounted for by the relationship between employee attitudes and customer-related factors. Statistical experts Manuel Vilares and Pedro Coehlo found that employee satisfaction, loyalty and commitment had a sizable impact on perceived product quality and on perceived service quality. Psychologists James Harter, Frank Schmidt and Cory Hayes evaluated 7,939 businesses in 36 companies and found significant relationships between employee satisfaction and engagement and business outcomes such as customer satisfaction, productivity, profit, employee turnover and accidents. Researchers Kenneth Bernhardt, Naveen Donthu and Pamela Kennett measured the relationship between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and profit, showing that, "although the effects of employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction on business profit at a given point in time might not be detectable, they become very visible over time.” Employee satisfaction not only affects employee commitment and loyalty, but it also has a direct and indirect impact on customer satisfaction. A global approach What should we concentrate on to ensure high job satisfaction among our employees? Fortune 100 companies have reported that employee satisfaction is the result of a holistic approach and involves several strategic steps: Identify root causes of dissatisfaction among employees. Develop an employee satisfaction system (i.e., a survey). Monitor employee satisfaction on a regular basis. View your employees as the primary source of your competitive advantage. View your employees as assets and not liabilities. Show concern for total employee well-being. Involve your employees. Introduce effective communication channels. Introduce accountability for people in management positions. Given the impact of customer satisfaction on organizational profit, it’s critical for those of us in business to understand what aspects of service quality need to be monitored and used to develop accountability, customer satisfaction awareness and customer-oriented work behaviour. How does this relate to the spa and wellness industry? Employees have direct interaction with customers, so they’re in a position to develop awareness of, and respond to, customers’ goals and needs. Satisfied employees are motivated to deliver the appropriate effort and care. Satisfied employees are “empowered.” They’re able to understand and serve customer needs and meet customer demands. Satisfied employees have energy and are eager to give good service. Satisfied employees can provide customers with explanations in challenging situations, since these employees are more likely to be able to express empathy, understanding, respect and concern. A powerful contribution Clearly, the relationship between employee attitudes and customer satisfaction is very strong. How employees feel about their job has a direct effect on their work and on your business in terms of customer satisfaction, sales and profits. Employees can contribute powerfully to your organization’s success by having a customer-focused approach in their work and work-related interactions. And they’re more likely to do this when they’re satisfied with their job. What is a happy customer? In the 1980s, quality-control expert Noriaki Kano developed a model of customer satisfaction that has been very influential. It classes customers’ needs into three main categories: Clients musts Imagine you’re going on a date at a nice restaurant. You’ll have certain expectations for your meal before you even arrive at the restaurant. For example, you expect that the service will be prompt and friendly, the food good and reasonably priced, and the restaurant clean. These are examples of client musts, or attributes that must be met in terms of customer satisfaction. If these needs go unfilled, customers will certainly be dissatisfied. Total absence of, or poor performance in, any of the basic attribute areas could result in extreme dissatisfaction. However, even if these needs are completely fulfilled, there is no guarantee that customers will be particularly satisfied or that, in your case, you’ll return for future meals at that restaurant. More is better The “more is better” kind of satisfaction has a linear effect on customer satisfaction, that is, the more our performance meets the customer’s needs, the happier the customer will be. The price customers are willing to pay for goods and services is closely tied to this curve. Think of the restaurant again. You may be prepared to pay more in a place with special ambiance, a fine wine selection and prepared-fresh, made-to-order dishes. The better the restaurant is in meeting these kinds of needs, the higher the likelihood that you’ll feel satisfied with your total dining experience. Delighters Those features are sometimes called excitement attributes. What’s important is that these delighters are unexpected by the customer, but when present can result in high levels of customer satisfaction or customer “wows.” For example, during your meal, you have a friendly conversation with your server. Later, when you leave, she brings your credit-card receipt back with a personal note of thanks and a fancy bag. Inside the bag you find a loaf of fresh-baked bread and a little piece of chocolate cake. This personal touch is an unexpected delight and ensures you and your date will return to be delighted again. And you’ll probably tell your friends about this restaurant too. (Keep in mind, though, that delighters often end up becoming client musts. Once clients have experienced them a few times, they’ll come to expect them as a matter of course.) Written by: Beate von Huene of Baronesse Cosmetics (for EstheMag Pro Magazine 2006).
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