On Your Own Terms - December 2018

The Chicken or the Egg? Why Nurturing Employees and Customers Is the Key to Retention

Who comes first: employees or customers? When posed this classic business question, Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher had an easy answer: employees. “If employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right,” Kelleher explained. As Kelleher knows well, employee-customer relations are a cycle — one that fuels recurring business. Engaged employees deliver service that converts to sales, a fact backed up by a Gallup report. Gallup cited a 20 percent increase in sales as a result of this process. Even as you’re courting leads, you can’t ignore your existing customers. Likewise, even (and especially) as you grow, you have to nurture your employees. The cost of losing either is too high. In the holiday rush, it’s important to not lose sight of your priorities. Get them hooked on your service. Have you ever asked a client why they return to your business? Do you think it’s because they can’t find your product or service anywhere else? Probably not. Think about the last time you returned to a restaurant. Was it because it’s the only place in town that makes amazing Thai food? Maybe, but it’s more likely that you enjoyed the welcoming host, attentive waiter, and positive experience you had there.

Starbucks is a great example. Even with thick competition, they deliver consistent service and quality

products to customers, whether in Oregon or London. And they do this by providing competitive wages and benefits to their employees along with training and learning opportunities. Employees who are knowledgeable and excited about what they are offering pass their enthusiasm on to customers. Own up to mistakes.

Even the best businesses make mistakes. When it happens, own up to it. There’s probably been a time when you put in your order at a restaurant, only to receive the wrong thing. How did the business handle it? Did they admit their mistake and offer you a new meal? How a business treats customers when things don’t go smoothly is a good indication of how they’ll handle adversity in general, and that reaction starts with employees. Set the precedent for employees that a mistake is their opportunity to go above and beyond. A transparent environment will make employees feel more comfortable, which will make customers excited, rather than apprehensive, to engage with your business again.

Famous Entrepreneurs Throughout History What We Can Learn From Those Who Came Before Us

in the world. As he continued to grow his business, Pillsbury traveled to Europe to observe mills in Budapest, Hungary, to ensure that his product would forever be referred to as “Pillsbury’s Best.” What’s more is that he introduced a system of company profit sharing, paying as much as $25,000 per year in bonuses to employees. As a result, no strikes ever interrupted his flow of business. It was his passion for learning from others, his close attention to detail, and his care for his employees that made his business the success it was and continues to be today. Be sure to look up some other famous entrepreneurs born in December.

When discussing the past, people seem to have a lot of differing opinions. Some firmly believe that they need to leave it behind them in order to experience any kind of growth, while others view the past as a way to learn from previous generations. I’m definitely a supporter of the latter idea — especially when it relates to your being able to Do Business On Your Own Terms ® . Whether you’ve been in business for one year, five years, or even 20 years, there is always something you can learn from the entrepreneurs who came before you. One of the many successful entrepreneurs born in the month of December has left such a legacy for himself that the second you read his name, you’ll know exactly who he is: Charles Pillsbury.

Pillsbury graduated from Dartmouth College in 1863, working hard to pay for his tuition by teaching part time. He then moved to Montreal, Quebec, where he worked as a clerk and partner at a mercantile enterprise for six years. After marrying a woman named Mary and starting a family, Pillsbury decided to start his own flour business near the Falls of St. Anthony in Minneapolis. At the time of his arrival in the states, the five small but established mills in the area were grinding their grain with large buhr stones. Pillsbury made a close study of the methods of previous businesses, and he chose to discard the buhr stones and introduce new practices. His eventual use of a series of carefully gauged steel rolls that mill grain into flour effected a revolution in the large flour mills of the U.S. Thus, Minneapolis became one of the largest markets for grain

• Henry Wells • Walt Disney • Ted Nugent

• Howard Hughes • Conrad Hilton



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