Are your staff letting you down, without realising? When visiting a local shop and pondering over my choice of red wine I was unable to avoid hearing two staff talking and saying what they thought about their employer. Shall I just say it was cringeworthy and would put most customers off. Before you even think to yourself “my staff wouldn’t do that, they’re really happy” perhaps you want to keep reading…
Your fee structure?
So your team are not anything like as bad as the two people I met in the shop? Let’s consider an emotive subject, your fee increase. I’ve heard this one occur twice recently, so it does happen to small firms.
The firm had decided to increases their fees just before a client rang up. In the middle of a discussion about a simple payroll query the client asked about the fee level. The reply that from the member of staff left the client in no doubt that the whole team thought the increase was over the top and unfair.
Maybe that’s not something your team would do? The problem is even a watered down version can unpick some of the hard work you’ve put in on client relations. In another case the client ended up with the impression that if she pushed and complained then she would get the increase reversed. If you need to think about increasing your fees, ‘How to increase prices‘ will help.
What do your team think of the prices you charge, and how can you ensure they’re ‘on-board’?
Many successful firms work on their core values and what their firm represents; it can help marketing and team morale. What happens if the way some team members “gossip” with some of their favourite clients pushed against those values? What happens if (and it has), one client asks about another client and gets told some minor ‘gossip’? Maybe no confidentiality was breached, but where does it leave your firm’s values? Maybe you would like to read “Are values relevant to your firm’s success?”
How happy are your staff?
When your staff are chatting to clients, and potential clients, the way they feel about your firm (and you) can easily come across. That’s fine if you have a really happy team, but have you ever had to apologise about a member of staff after the event? How much time do you spend getting good staff feedback, (this article could help you do it better)?
Back to world war 2?
I’ve seen many posters from the war proclaiming the dangers of careless talk, and the problem isn’t as bad as that? But do all your team know the implications of ‘careless talk’? Many staff members will chat among themselves and not think about who could be listening (online or in real time). The chances of this happening increase significantly when they have had a bad day, for any number of reasons.
How are you helping your staff to manage their emotions and keep them in check?
How is your firm’s reputation potentially being tarnished by ‘careless talk’?