Employee Feedback

Most companies that have customers are very focused on those customers and the experience they have working with them.  I’m of the belief that companies ought to be just as focused on what their employees are saying about them, and the benefits of being a great place to work.

Recently I wrote on my discovery of online feedback from places like Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com which are both job seeker sites that solicit feedback from employees about their working experiences.  The goal is to promote what a great place said company would be to work for, and thus they should apply for job openings.

Yet when feedback is negative, it not only scares away potential new hires, but potential customers.  After reading 40+ postings about one of my favorite shopping venues, I was appalled at how poorly this company treated their employees.  Frankly, this retail group is so close to a sweat shop, they are barely meeting minimum standards for employee treatment.  Turnover is high with employees, and if more customers learn about how management treats employees they are no doubt going to lose customers too.  I know I’m not shopping there anymore.

I discussed this recently with a friend in another company, and he said that monitoring online employee feedback is something senior management has tasked all managers to watch out for, and elevate issues when something is discovered online.  Rather than go on a witch hunt for the online writer, they are forming problem solving groups to check on the validity of the comments, and make the necessary changes to eliminate the issues.   He was also quick to note that even if the comments were found to be invalid, that because they are online they have to address the concerns because readers assume comments are factual.  This is the crust of why every employer should be on their toes.

Even if you work for the most perfect company in America, voted “Employer of Choice” year after year, online comments that are negative can have an impact.  And ignoring the valid comments as if no one will every find out is just playing with a loaded gun.

Caution: Company Parties Can Be Career Enders

Any time you gather with fellow employees in a large setting, you put yourself on display for others to review and pass around opinions.  It doesn’t have to be a company party, it can be a leadership retreat, a training event, a celebration for someone else retiring.  What they all have in common is a lot of fellow employees thinking it is okay to let their hair down.

Not only do these events stir up the gossip hounds within your work environment, it actually provides for new fuel for their conversations.  We have all seen the person who drank too much at a party and let loose with a few comments they regretted later.  Then there are the stories being shared in light-hearted conversations that reveal more about you then may be good to share.

I have always avoided events like these when possible, and when I am forced to attend I keep very quite.  Of course that too can get people talking, but at least they are short conversations.  I learned to keep quite because I heard too many people the day after the event talking about what someone said or did.  And, we all know that stories grow with each telling.

I’ve also witnessed people being passed over for promotions and special projects because of something they said 6 months prior at the holiday party.  People hold on to these transgressions forever, and insults never seem to get minimized over time.

My advise if you want to attend is to avoid drinking, avoid being the story-teller, and do a lot of listening instead.  Get involved, smile, and be on your best behavior.  Don’t let one event override a talented career that can advance you.

Genuine Customer Service

Tis the season for shopping, so customer service is in high gear.  But what is the difference between genuine customer service and the scripted kind?  Does it make a difference to the buyer?  Will it have any lasting effect on the seller?

My wife and I have been car shopping for months trying to find a replacement for an older truck we sold.  When I am in no hurry to buy something I have the patience to wait forever to find what I’m looking for, and yet since I wanted to get a smaller truck this time our options were limited.  Only a couple of manufacturers still make new small trucks, and although I was fine with a used vehicle the choices have been few and far between.

We found our truck this past weekend on a dealer’s lot.  It was the Ford Ranger I wanted sitting on a Honda lot.  The sales experience was warm and friendly and lacked any pressure at all.  Having researched this vehicle online I knew what the expected selling price was, and yet they did something called TruePrice, which was their lowest asking price, with no need to negotiate.  The entire process was as if I was part of the family and that the relationship was more important than selling a vehicle.  And it wasn’t just the sales people, it was every person we encountered in the building.

Yet over these past few months I can truthfully say that every single manufacturing dealer (Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, Toyota, etc.) have been providing what I am calling Genuine Customer Service.  It is as if in the past years of our lousy economy, the major players have really stepped up their game and decided to concentrate on the customer experience.  Not only was it a pleasure to shop I would go back to any of them the next time I need to buy a vehicle.

Now, the corner dealers, and the private sellers were more of what I expected.  Some good, some could care less if you bought anything.  It was hit and miss because they all have different ideas of what they need to do to sell a car.  Most of them I went because I saw something that might work, but most I would never go back to again.

We had a great shopping experience with the ones that practice “Genuine Customer Service” and I believe that these sellers will find that even if they didn’t sell a shopper a car today, they have planted a seed for the future.  Being treated well, sadly, is a rare customer experience.  So when we are treated as valuable, we tend to remember it longer and we tend to tell others.  Pass it on!