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Ask any business owner in a service-based industry and they will tell you how important it is to keep your customers happy. Deliver a great service and you will transform your customer into a lifelong user. It also increases the likelihood of them spreading the good word about your company to their friends and family.

The question is, do you know how your customers feel? Are they satisfied with your current service standards? In this post, you will learn how to increase response rates from customer satisfaction feedback forms, and determine precisely how well your company is performing.

3 Proven Ways to Evaluate Customer Satisfaction

In the past, business owners had only two reliable ways to weigh their customers’ satisfaction. They could send out snail mail and wait for a customer to fill out a feedback form. Alternatively, the company could collect phone numbers, make a cold call and hope that the customer is willing to answer a survey over the phone.

While both options are still effective to some extent today, getting a customer to respond to a customer satisfaction survey via traditional means is more difficult than you can imagine. These days, using email and text messages is far quicker, cheaper and more reliable.

Even then, how do you make sense of the data that you collect via email or text? What is the appropriate response rates for customer satisfaction feedback questionnaires? Do you want to learn how to increase your response rates? Let’s take a look.

Look at Average Response Rates

By analyzing responses to surveys asking for feedback, you can quickly determine how well your company is performing and how happy your customers are. This is why you need to take steps to maximize your response rates. The average response rate varies for different businesses. A digital service company is far more likely to have a high response rate when compared to a retail store. This is the case because a digital company has customers who are more inclined to go online and fill out a survey.

Internally distributed surveys that you send to employees tend to fare higher than those sent out externally, in other words your customers. Generally external surveys tend to attract a 10-15% response rate compared to 30-40% for internal surveys.

However, it is worth noting that a well-designed survey sent out to responsive customers could attract a response rate as high as 85%. Likewise, a poorly executed survey with no incentive for the customer could fare as low as 2%.

By using some of the best survey softwares, you can increase your response rates for better feedback. We will discuss these 3 apps in further detail later in the article.

Send Out Reminders

It should come as no surprise that most people have incredibly busy schedules. They are likely to forget about something that isn’t a necessity. For example, forgetting about the survey that you sent to them last week. With this in mind, you should send out reminders regularly. This can be done through text messages, emails and even postcards for a personal touch. Just remember to avoid overdoing it. If you send out too many reminders, your messages may look like spam and your customers will not be happy.

Offer Incentives to Customers

Another thing to remember is that consumers are often not willing to exert extra effort unless they get something out of it. Why should someone complete a survey that will help your company? Instead of just sending a survey, try offering incentives to boost your response rates. Most customers are not picky and are happy to complete a short survey for something in return. To encourage customers to complete a feedback form, you could easily offer a coupon code, a free sticker, or even a free product or service upgrade.

Pro-tip: If you run a restaurant, try printing the website link to your survey on the receipt. Attach the receipt’s serial number to your survey form and offer a freebie (e.g. meal upgrade or free side order) the next time the customer visits your outlet!

The lesson here? Give the customer a reason to complete your survey and reward them for it. They are more likely to complete the survey immediately. Be sure to check out this infographic on how to make Customers Loyal for Life. 

3 Softwares That Will Ignite Your Customer Response Ratings

CustomerSure

There are plenty of great software that can help you collect feedback from your customers. A lot of businesses rely on CustomerSure. This software is designed to help your company measure and improve your customer’s satisfaction by utilizing actionable data. It lets you send out automated surveys that attract a high response rate. Once feedback has been collected, you can analyze individual comments and compare aggregated scores.

CustomerSure can help you improve your team’s efficiency and increase customer satisfaction and retention.

Quality Driven Software

Maintaining updated employee files can be time consuming, which is why many employers turn to employee performance software. Quality Driven software is built from the ground up to help you manage each employee file efficiently, with the ability to make alterations and input data in a matter of minutes. You can also share access with supervisors and department managers, so they too can document specific details about the employees whom they work with regularly.

In addition, Quality Driven Software offers realtime survey results and customer feedback tracking. The software’s user-friendly interface and high feedback response rate makes it a must-have for owners who need to gauge their customers’ current satisfaction levels. QDS is a great solution if you have a hard time making sense of your collected data.

Mycustomerfeedback

Mycustomerfeedback is a unique product from Equiniti that allows employers to track customer responses and develop new workflow processes that follows each negative feedback. The interface is straightforward and simple to use. Any business owner can get started on tracking customer feedback and improving customer service.

Mycustomerfeedback lets you create a variety of feedback forms in various formats, including audio, email and image. It also offers automated case handling. This software’s workflow processing lets you enhance your team’s productivity immediately. In addition, the tool works with various plugins to make it customizable for specific industries.

Final Thoughts

Using customer feedback to improve your service standards is important if you want to grow your business. Nevertheless, attempting to elicit a response from your customers can be tricky and difficult. By using the right software for your business, offering incentives and sending frequent reminders, you can increase your customer satisfaction feedback response rate. In doing so, you can optimize your business and your employees’ performance for greater success.

Employee performance software is usually evaluated on its ability to help managers and supervisors perform evaluations. But, if you don’t see how employee performance software can be used to do more than compensate employees you are missing a large part of the picture. The right employee performance software can help attract and retain employees, support customer satisfaction, enhance communication and help you grow your service business. It’s a tool that rewards both employees and companies. Here’s how.

Compensation Equals Contribution

In a true free market system, compensation equals contribution. While the currently regulated U.S. labor market isn’t exactly what Adam Smith had in mind, his idea of an Invisible Hand still applies. When you establish a pay for performance culture in your company, you will attract and retain high performing employees. Top performers want to be compensated more than lesser performers and respond positively to this environment. The right employee performance software will support fair and objective evaluations based on predetermined criteria. When you reward performance based on achievement of goals, you get better performance. Achievers are happy to be rewarded fairly and non-achievers are not attracted to employment at the company. The employer benefits from improved performance, the employee is fairly rewarded for their contribution.

Happy paying customer

Improves Focus on Customer

In the service industry, customer satisfaction is critical to continued growth of the company. As a key performance indicator (KPI), it needs to be incorporated into employee performance evaluations and must be captured by your employee performance software. When employees are evaluated based on how a customer perceives their service, it continually aligns the employee’s focus with the company’s customer-centric philosophy.
This contributes to a better experience for the customer, which leads to repeat business and referral business. Both the employee and employer are rewarded.

Growth, Improvement, and Motivation

One of the greatest motivating forces is a desire for change. In a pay for performance culture, if compensation equals contribution, employees know that to receive more compensation (the change) they must contribute at higher levels (the motivation). Employee performance software can be used to capture current performance standards and show areas for improvement. Growing employees means challenging them. As employees rise, performance rises and compensation rises. As this happens, customers are served more effectively and efficiently, customer satisfaction increases and the company reaps the benefits.

Improved Communication

If customer satisfaction is a KPI, then employees should always know how they are performing. The software to perform evaluate employee performance and the software used to manage customer relationships should ideally be one package. If stand-alone systems are used, they should be integrated. When it comes time for the employee evaluation there should be no surprises. As customer satisfaction is be continually evaluated, employees are continually evaluated. Giving employees access to customer satisfaction data lets them know how they are performing in the eyes of the most important person, the customer. It’s important for positive and not-so-positive feedback to be shared. Positive feedback reinforces good performance and not-so-positive feedback communicates room for improvement and creates motivation.

Picking the Right Software

There are many employee performance software packages on the market. Just a few are appropriate for the service industry. Only one incorporates continuous customer feedback as an indicator of employee performance.

Quality Driven Software combines customer satisfaction, quality control and employee performance all in one powerful app. Use it to decrease client and employee turnover. One clean dashboard lets you see at a glance what customers are saying about their service and track employee performance. With automated workflows, employees can also see how they perform from the customer’s point of view. It integrates with other service-industry software such as Service Autopilot and Maid Easy Software to provide a total solution.

Want to learn more about Quality Driven Software? Take a free tour today.

Wouldn’t you do just about anything to guarantee your customers satisfaction with your services?

A customer is such an important person in your business life. In fact, a customer is a reason why you are in business in the first place. Several businesses are mushrooming daily; business competition is tightening as a result. To survive, to live to see the next day, the secret lies in your customer’s satisfaction. You have to guarantee customer satisfaction. This is because without customers there is no business. To make your customers happy, you will have to ensure that they are satisfied. So how do you guarantee customer satisfaction?
Below are some are some tips that can help you guarantee customer satisfaction.

Organizational culture

The kind of culture that exists in your organization or business determines how satisfied your customers are. You can guarantee customer satisfaction if you can empower and task your employees with the ownership of customer satisfaction. Make every employee accountable. Quality Driven Software can help you follow up on customer feedback using state of the art software. Quality Driven Software gives you the opportunity to create a culture aimed at customer satisfaction. It helps you make a follow up to know why your customers have given a particularly low rating. This way you can correct the problem as soon as they occur.

Educating employees

Education is like food. You can hardly survive without it. A subject that you do not understand is like a dark night. You can hardly work through it safely without stumbling. It is important therefore to ensure that you have all your employees educated on “customer satisfaction”. Get above your competitors by using apps that can quickly help you educate your employees on how to satisfy customers. Quality Driven Software has a set of tools that can help you do away with those obstacles holding you back from achieving customer satisfaction goals. This will also help you to empower your employees. You can get all that here www.QualityDrivenSoftware.com

Customer support

A happy customer is one who can look for instant support and get it. Do you offer instant support to your customers? The use of live chat is one of the best ways you can ensure that you guarantee customer satisfaction. If you have not been doing this, it is time to change. It is highly likely that a customer can get lost due to confusion. A live chat comes in handy to resolve this. With a live chat, you can sort out things in less than 5 minutes. The client will go away happy and ready to come back next time. With the help of live chat, you can create a friendly environment. Quality Driven Software can help you sign up customers as well as to activate customers on the spot. If you have been underrating live chat all this while see how to go about it here www.QualityDrivenSoftware.com

Delivering superior customer service

Delivering a superior customer service is the only sure way to wade out of the murky waters of competition into a highway of success. To deliver superior customer service, you need to embrace the latest technology. Quality Driven Software can help you get your hands on the latest software that will ensure you out-do your competitors and satisfy your customer like no other company does. This will ensure that every customer you meet will receive a superior customer service and the end result will be more referrals. Every customer is seriously important to your business.

Customer satisfaction software

Customer satisfaction can be guaranteed by putting in place customer satisfaction software. Quality Driven Software can help you to gauge your customer’s satisfaction through the use of highly efficient modern Softwares. With this software, you can increase customer loyalty. Quality Driven Software will help you ensure that you do away with poor customer experience. A friendly experience is one way you can ensure that your customers are happy. Modern soft wares can help you retain your friends and maintain a strong relationship with your clients.

Zero defects policy

A policy is very important in any business. A zero defects policy ensures that there are no bad reviews either online or in any other place. Customer satisfaction is easily achievable if a zero defects policy is put in place. Quality Driven Software has tools that ensure you track as well as monitor your customer’s response. In a world where business competition is widespread, the use of technology is inevitable. And every use of technology must be accompanied by a strict policy.

Conclusion

Customers can drive you crazy. It is normal. However, despite the frustrations and sleepless nights you encounter because of your customers, it is important to ensure that all your customers leave smiling and happy. This way you can pocket several referrals. The only way to increase your customer base is by pocketing as many referrals as possible. Quality Driven Software is a leader in customer satisfaction issues. It has the best tools for customer satisfaction.

Most companies want their employees to work to the best of their ability. They want their employees to care about their business.  While money is the reason most of us work and benefits are important, they are not the motivational force that makes an employee want to go the extra mile in their job.

What motivates an employee to perform their best at their job? While there are some employees who are intrinsically motivated to do a job to the best of their ability simply for the personal satisfaction of it, that is not most employees. If you want your employees to care about your business, you need to first care about them and show it.

There are essentially four types of rewards a company can give an employee: financial compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation.  Financial compensation and benefits are the initial motivators for an employee to take a job with the company after they have decided that the company’s culture is one they can thrive in.  However, the rewards that motivate employees throughout their job are the recognition and appreciation they receive. According to Accenture and the Department of Labor, the number one reason people leave their jobs is a lack of recognition. 

When an employee goes out of their way to come up with an innovative idea that can save the company money or land a big client that should be rewarded right away with some type of recognition. Organizations need to use a variety of techniques to recognize excellent performance.

Say thank you to the employee for their good work.

A phone call, personal conversation or handwritten note goes a long way to letting people know their work is noticed and appreciated by the boss. Our friends over at Business Insider has selected 22 awesome gifts for your employees, we like all of them!

Make the employee part of a special task force.

Everyone wants to be part of a team that has a specific purpose. Put a kid on a little league baseball team and he will run faster and work harder than if you give him a ball and a bat and tell him to go out in the backyard and practice his swing.

Reward genuine input by taking it seriously.

Every employee has ideas, and one of the differences between employees who care and employees who do not is whether they are allowed to share their ideas and whether their ideas are taken seriously. Employees who provide input clearly care about the company because they want to make it better. Even if an idea isn’t feasible, always take the time to explain why–which often leads to the employee coming up with an even better idea. Make sure that input is valued and they will care even more because now it’s not your company–it’s our company.

Lavish employees with public praise.

Find reasons to recognize employees who go above the average in their performance and praise them in front of their peers and department at the next department meeting. It motivates them to try harder so they experience that feeling of pride again and it motivates others in the department to step up their game so they, too, can be recognized.

Peer recognition.

Another way to acknowledge the special effort put forth by an employee is to ask their peers and/or managers to nominate an employee every quarter by writing up a short summary of what that employee did that was so outstanding. The Office Manager or Division Head can select two employees per quarter from those nominated who would each receive a “company coupon” for a special parking space close to the building for 1 month, or to wear casual clothes for 1 week, or to eat lunch with the boss, or some other non-monetary incentive.

Many businesses use techniques and methods to analyze the work performance of their employees to try to identify areas within the company where they excel and areas where they require improvement. By analyzing an employee’s work performance, a company can help their employees to increase their productivity, improve customer service and thus improve the company’s bottom line.

Companies need quality objective data about employee’s work performance in order for employers to recognize those employees that are going the extra mile in their job and reward them appropriately.

Quality Driven’  can provide that data. Their software product collects and analyzes customer feedback in real time. The software allows you to send a one-click customized survey and collect responses in real time. Additionally, Quality Driven can measure employee performance, response times and response rates and present the data in a clear and accessible manner so that business owners and managers can better assess the performance of their staff, and take effective action to improve it. Quality Driven empowers employers by providing objective data that allows for informed pro-active decision-making and gives them an edge over their competitors. The software ties service reports directly to employees to allow full accountability and with instant notifications of negative reviews, no other software on the market allows you to become proactive in addressing your customer’s experiences quite like Quality Driven Software.

As a restaurant owner, you have a ton of responsibilities to juggle each day. Keeping your customers happy and coming back for more may be one of them, but look deeper and you’ll realize it’s more than that. On a typical day, you need to keep your employees motivated and maintain maximum productivity levels. Believe it or not, technology can help make this task easier and keep your employees happier.

If you want your restaurant to run efficiently, you need to employ some modern tech tools to help you along. Running an independent restaurant means you probably don’t have the luxury to spend extra on a dedicated maître d’. With that in mind, we’re going to reveal three essential software for 2017 that will help independent restaurant owners like you run a more efficient business. Let’s dive in!

1. Quality Driven Software
In a service-based industry, all business owners need to ensure that their customers are satisfied. Optimizing your customer retention rate is crucial for ensuring that these individuals re-visit your restaurant again.
Restaurant customer service software can help you maintain maximum customer satisfaction. What you want is for satisfied customers to spread positive reviews about your business, whether by word of mouth or through social media.
Quality Driven Software is a tool for tracking customer satisfaction and employee performance for service-based businesses such as restaurants. If you wish to increase your customer retention rate, Quality Driven Software delivers.
This tool gives independent restaurant owners the ability to identify problems within their workforce and understand their customers and any possible pain points.

Features of Quality Driven Software
Quality Driven Software is a versatile restaurant customer service software that gives owners and managers complete control over their customers’ satisfaction levels.

It can send out customer satisfaction surveys to all previous visitors. In return, the data collected from your customers can help you identify potential flaws within your workflow. Going forward, you can fix these problems to ensure that they are never repeated again.

The customer satisfaction survey feature can also collect information about your staff. For example, customers can easily add feedback or make complaints regarding certain employees through the survey. This will help you identify staff who are having difficulties coping at work. A follow-up action might include assigning more training or counseling to the affected staff.
You can also use Quality Driven Software to quickly spot quality issues in your restaurant. These problems can be reported directly by your customers as well as your own quality inspector – if you happen to have one.

The software also provides you with instant notifications. As soon as you receive a low score or negative feedback, you’ll know about it in real time. This gives you ample time to directly contact the customer and address their complaint. In return, this could potentially help you to avoid losing a customer due to a single mistake.

We’re very impressed with the number of features in Quality Driven Software. If you need one tool to keep track of your customers’ satisfaction levels and employee performance, then QDS is a necessity!

Find out more about Quality Driven Software.

2. Menu Drive

There are many excellent apps that can be beneficial for restaurant owners. Menu Drive is undeniably a powerful and comprehensive solution. This program makes it possible for restaurant owners to accept online orders, set up a loyalty program and keep track of their data analytics. Once you’ve gained access to Menu Drive, you can immediately integrate the software with your existing website. This is done by adding the appropriate “Order Online” buttons to your site. The result is a seamless checkout experience for your customers.

Features of Menu Drive
Menu Drive is truly a one-stop solution for independent restaurants owners who want their customers to place their orders online.
The software comes with a menu builder that gives you complete control over your online menu. You can add high definition pictures of your menu items and set pricing options for each item. Through the control panel, you can also set up a credit card gateway and configure the payment options. This ensures customers are able to easily pay for their online orders.

Menu Drive is also useful for restaurants that provide a delivery service. You can create custom delivery zones so customers will know immediately if your restaurant’s delivery drivers serve their area. This software is compatible with several order types such as dine-in, curbside and pickup.

Menu Drive also provides you with in-depth analytics. By analyzing your customers’ buying habits and sales trends, you will have a much better opportunity to cater to your customers’ price needs and adjust accordingly. If your restaurant provides an online delivery service, then Menu Drive will prove to be a great addition to your business.

Find out more about Menu Drive.

3. Restaurant 365

As a restaurant owner, it is important to keep a close eye on your finances and keep track of your daily expense and revenue. This is where Restaurant 365 comes in. This restaurant customer service software helps you keep track of your finances effortlessly, and lets you pay your vendors directly through ACH. For example, you can print 1099 forms and send them directly to a vendor.
Features of Restaurant 365

Restaurant 365 is an in-depth financial application for restaurant managers and owners. It offers a wealth of features to help you keep track of your money in a convenient and safe manner.

This software makes it possible to set up customized invoices with your restaurant’s logo. The invoices can then be delivered to vendors which help them become more familiar with your brand.

Restaurant 365 is also compatible with a wide array of point-of-sale programs. By syncing the two systems, you can automate the collection of key financial POS details. In fact, Restaurant 365 automatically syncs item categories, payment types and payment total directly from your POS software. Gone are the days of punching this information in manually at the end of each business day.
The software also allows restaurant owners to keep track of their inventory, sales, and labor. If you want to avoid the headache of compiling and inputting this information on your own, Restaurant 365 will prove to be very useful. It will save you money and time, and let you concentrate on the more important matters of running a restaurant.

To find out more about Restaurant 365.

Final Thoughts
For a restaurant owner in the digital age, it’s all about leveraging technology to help make the business process easier. If you run a service that provides online orders and deliveries than Menu Drive can enhance your website’s functionality. If you need to keep track of customer and employee satisfaction, then Quality Driven Software will help you do just that. Not only will you remove a great burden from your shoulders, you can now focus more intently on delivering great service to your customers.

Quality is the key to repeat business and referrals in the cleaning industry. It is the bedrock of your brand’s image. Every maid service company aims for quality; but how do you know if you hit the mark? Training, tracking performance, and quick action are what differentiate good companies from great companies. If mediocre isn’t good enough; use these methods to maintain quality standards:

Employee Training

A good employee starts with good hiring. Look for applicants that are enthusiastic about their work and have the heart to serve others. Take a page from Southwest Airlines and hire for attitude and train for skill. Once you’ve made the hire, provide comprehensive training including performance standards and culture.

1. Tailor the training to the individual. People have different learning styles. While one person can read a cleaning protocol and get a complete understanding of the procedure another person may need to hear it orally and everyone benefits from an actual demonstration. If you utilize group training sessions, make sure to incorporate all three strategies for the most impactful training.

2.  Set and communicate clear standards. Employees can’t be expected to meet standards of performance if they don’t know the standards. Include company philosophy and culture as part of your training as well. If “just good enough” isn’t good enough at your company, explain why. People want to be part of something great.

3.  Incorporate role playing in your training. Everyone eventually encounters a difficult customer and a hard to handle the situation . Even the nicest customer can have a bad day. Make sure your employees know how to handle difficult situations before they arise. Use fellow employees to assist in role-playing difficult situations.  Give your employees real examples of situations and or customer conflicts that have happened in the past.

4.  Use real-life training situations. Nothing beats on-the-job training. It allows new hires to see how seasoned pros operate at your company. Pair new hires with your best employees to inoculate them with best practices. Avoid letting customers know you are using their home as a training ground.

Survey Customer Satisfaction Continuously

Customer satisfaction surveys are like a thermostat for your business. Set a thermostat to a certain temperature (the quality standard), and the thermostat goes to work measuring the temperature (the surveys) and then operating the HVAC system to maintain the set temperature (corrections to maintain standard). In other words, the thermostat measures against a standard and acts to correct deviations from the standard. A well-crafted survey lets you know when service falls below standard so you can take quick action.

1. Survey on staff. These questions gauge how well your employees represent your company. Did they arrive on schedule? Were they in uniform? Were they friendly and professional?

2.  Survey on the quality of service. Here you want to find out if your services met or exceeded the customer’s expectations. You can survey on specific services or specific areas in your business. For example; Customer service and overall value.

3.  Survey on experience. For new customers, this is crucial. This is where you measure front-office performance. Did they find it easy to make an appointment? Were all their questions answered? If they called, was the customer service representative knowledgeable about different packages and promotions? Was the billing and payment process explained? Did they use the website? Was it easy to use?
The most telling question on any survey is “Would you recommend our service to friends or family?” In other words, are they pleased enough to stake their personal reputation on your ability to deliver?

Use Quality Driven Software to Maintain Quality Standards

Customer satisfaction surveys collect data, but to maintain standards you need it in an actionable form. You need software that can compile data from surveys, and reviews present it in a dashboard that empowers you to act quickly. Use Quality Driven Software to maintain quality standards!

The bigggest benefits of using an outstanding product like Quality Driven include:

1. Instant Alerts. When there’s a problem, you need to act quickly. Quality Driven Software alerts you when you receive a low score or negative feedback. This gives you the ability to convert a problem situation into a life-long customer.

2. “No news is good news” is simply not a great way to conduct a business!  Quality Driven will provide you with a list list of unhappy customers, according to their satisfaction rating.

3.  Which of your employee’s are a customer favorite? Which are your personal favorites but disliked by your customers? Do you know?  One of the coolest features of Quality Driven is that it ties the satisfaction score to the staff member that did the work.  This allows you to track trends in employee performance. Numbers don’t lie. You’ll know who your top and bottom ranking employees are.

4.  Reward consistent, outstanding performers and recognize areas for improvement. Employees can log in and see how they are doing and how their scores rank with other employees.

Comprehensive and Customizable. Quality Driven Software provides comprehensive customer survey data. From customer engagement to customer comments, information is gathered and presented in a way you can use. In addition, quality metrics are completely customizable so you track what is important to you. Use standard reports or customize for your application. Want to learn more about how to maintain quality standards? Join us April 13-15 at the Post Oak Lodge in Tulsa Oklahoma to hear from leaders in the service industry on industry best practices from employee management to tracking key performance indicators and so much more. Space is limited so Register Now.

 Do you have an employee turnover problem?

Keeping your best employees is tough. Research shows that over 71% of employees are not engaged or disengaged at work. As a manager, you need to have strategies for keeping your best employees because losing them costs upwards of 16% annual salary. And that’s just the easy-to-calculate costs. More than that, there’s the time and resources it takes to hire, onboard, and train employees. This article was written to give you actionable steps to engage and keep your employees.
Nearly 70% of organizations report that staff turnover has a negative financial impact due to the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a replacement employee and the overtime work of current employees that’s required until the organization can fill the vacant position (BLR). All things considered, it’s been estimated that a lost employee can cost 6 to 9 months of that employee’s salary on average.
Employee turnover is a major problem, and there are many factors at work, including generational factors, the economy, sweeping changes in the workplaces, and more.
Learning the following actionable 15 strategies will help you reduce employee turnover, and retain the talent you need to run your company.
But first, let’s preface all these strategies with the most important principle of all.
In order to retain and engage your employees, you must truly care about them. No strategy will overcome a lack of empathy or appreciation for your employees.

Okay, now for the strategies!

1. Provide More Positive Feedback
We all know that employees need feedback to improve and to do their best work – both positive, and constructive advice.
But in what proportion?
A study on Harvard Business Review shows that the ideal ratio between positive and negative suggestions is 5.6 (positive) to 1 (corrective).
Positive feedback should be given frequently to motivate employees and to give them the determination they need to do their best work. But constructive and corrective feedback is also important, particularly when there’s an urgent issue that needs to be nipped in the bud.
Moving forward, become more aware of how many negative comments you’re saying to your employees in relation to positive comments. Move the ratio towards six positive comments for every negative comment.

Your action step: give each employee one positive bit of feedback each week.  For example, tell a waiter, “I really liked how you confidently provided your recommendations for entrees when the customer asked. Keep up the great work.”  One great way to get feedback on how the employee is doing is through the use of a customer service survey and employee performance tracker such as Quality Driven Software.

 

2. Give Your Employees An Opportunity To Grow
Many companies promote people from outside of the organization, and don’t offer ongoing training and education for their workers.  Because there is no way to advance or improve, employees become disillusioned in their roles, and are less likely to stay.  Per Sharon Florentine at CIO, ongoing education makes employees feel valued, and gives them something to look forward to. When there is a clearly laid-out path for advancement, your workforce will feel like they are a critical part of the company’s success.  By promoting from within and implementing a training program, or by leveraging outside resources and tools (such as workshops, books, online courses, etc.), you can create a powerful incentive for your team members to stay over the long haul.  Employees see these initiatives as an investment in their future.
Your action step: find a course or a book for your employees to study this month. Tailor the resource to the individual.
3. Challenge Your Employees In A Balanced Way
Doing the same thing day in and day out can lead to boredom and apathy.  On the other hand, getting your employees to complete difficult projects or jump through too many hoops could make them feel demoralized and ambivalent about their future in the company.  Kristi Hedges, contributor at Forbes notes that finding the balance between challenge and support is rarely easy.  This is because every employee is different, and what one might find rewarding, another might find tedious and too complex. Hedges suggests:
a.  Expressing belief in your employees. Leaders are in a position of authority, and when they express the potential they see in them, their belief in self grows.
b.  Pushing people out of their comfort zone. Give them a chance to take a risk.
c.  Seeing failure as a learning opportunity. Process failure together by learning from it.
d.  Encourage a growth mindset. Reward effort – not just talent and brains.
Your action step: determine which of your employees are looking for more to do, and give them one added responsibility this week. Empower them by providing the tools they need, and give them full responsibility over the project instead of micromanaging them at every stage.
4. Encourage Creativity
Although many companies say they value creativity, they don’t necessarily have any initiatives or policies in place to support it.
Google, for example, has a 20% program in which their employees are given the opportunity to work on side projects that interest them.
Michael Poh, freelance blogger at Hongkiat suggests the following steps for encouraging creativity in the workplace:
a.  Offer rewards. If you’re going to encourage suggestions, take them seriously. Recognize and incentivize employees that contribute in a tangible way.
b.  Provide an outlet. Not all employees are going to want to be named or recognized for their ideas. Create opportunities for both public and private contributions or feedback.
c.  Set up innovation teams. These are individual teams that are tasked with coming up with ideas on a specific topic.
d.  Demonstrate the value you place on creativity. Encourage risk-taking.
e.  Hire a variety of different people. Creativity will not come from a group of people that all think alike.
f.  Have fun. Create a positive working environment where creativity and spontaneity can occur.
Your action step: this week, give your employees 30 minutes of creative time to brainstorm ideas or work on side projects that interest them.
5. Foster Respect In The Workplace
More than ever, people are looking for respect at their jobs. They don’t want to feel devalued or unimportant within an organization, which can result from a lack of respect.
CEB’s Quarterly Global Labor Market research showed that the top five things people look for in a new job are:
  1. Stability
  2. Compensation
  3. Respect
  4. Health benefits
  5. Work-life balance
Respect is one of the top three things jobseekers are looking for.
Does your workplace value respect as highly as workers do?  A culture of respect can be fostered by implementing many of the strategies suggested on this list, including: feedback, recognition, encouraging creativity, collaboration, and so on.  It is also essential to empower your team members with the tools and resources they need, and demonstrating kindness and thoughtfulness can also go a long way.
Your action step: this week, say “thank you” to employees that hand in their assignments, greet them with a smile and a cheery “good morning” as they arrive, and instead of interrogating them about work they need to complete, simply ask if they require your help in any way (and provide them with the help they need if they ask).
6. Earn The Trust Of Your Employees
Employees perform better when they trust management and the people assigning them tasks. They are more likely to achieve the goals that are set for them when they believe in the person that’s getting them to do the work.  46% of employees stated that a lack of transparent leadership communication is driving them to seek new employment. Meanwhile, 79% of highly engaged employees have trust and confidence in their leaders (Novarete).  If you haven’t implemented an employee engagement program, there’s a good chance they don’t trust you as much as you think they do.
As you’re looking to create more trust with your employees, it will be necessary to: build personal connections, emphasize honesty and transparency, motivate your team members, give credit and shoulder blame, avoid favoritism, and demonstrate competence in your work.
Your action step: this week, make it your goal to get to know each of your employees a little better. Have open-ended conversations with them, and make them feel welcome and free to discuss what’s on their mind.
7. Encourage Your Employees To Give You Feedback
It’s one thing to give feedback to your employees, but you must also accept feedback from them. When workers don’t feel like their thoughts are being heard, they assume the company has no interest in improving or pursuing worthy ideas.  Many employees have a tendency of thinking that nothing will change, even if they do propose something new.
Hay Group found that high levels of employee engagement can boost revenue by 2.5x (KaiNexus). This extends into providing them with the right tools and resources, offering feedback, and so on, in addition to encouraging them to give you feedback.  Remember – there needs to be opportunities for both public and private feedback, and it never hurts to thank those who offer their suggestions. Create a culture where staff members feel comfortable offering their thoughts.
Your action step: ask your employees to offer their feedback on an important project this week. For example, it could be about company culture, a high-level executive decision, or a new development in the marketplace that may require your company to adapt.
8. Include Your Employees
No one wants to feel excluded in an organization they are a part of. They want to feel like they were hired for a reason, and that they are playing a key role in helping the business achieve its objectives.
Josh Bersin, founder and principle at Bersin by Deloitte, found that companies who deliberately work to encourage inclusion, diversity, development planning, and leadership development in their culture were 3.8 times more likely to be able to coach people for improved performance, 3.6 times more able to deal with personnel performance problems, and 2.9 times more likely to identify and build leaders.
This is just one of the stunning findings on companies that make diversity and inclusion a priority.
From hiring and leadership assessment to development and performance management, you will need to take a top-down approach to a culture of inclusion, and there are no shortcuts to getting there.
Your action step: this week, have a conversation with each of your employees individually. Or, have an open-ended strategic meeting, and ask each of your team members what their thoughts are on their role within the company. Listen, and take note of what they say.
9. Encourage A Healthy Work-Life Balance
Many organizations have high expectations for their employees. But for workers, this can mean less time devoted to personal care, leisure activities, and family.
OECD found that roughly 12% of employees work very long hours in the United States. This is slightly less than the average 13%. But full-time workers in the US only devote 60% or 14.5 hours of their day to personal care and leisure, which is less than the average 15 hours.  When your team members are well-rested and have adequate time to care for themselves and their families, they will also perform better at work.  Establishing regular work hours, policies for working on weekends, or work-from-home programs can offer your team members the flexibility they need to bring their best to work every single day.
Your action step: identify people in your company that are overworked this week. Give them a bit of time off, or get everyone out of the office for a walk.
10. Connect With Your Team
Part of employee engagement and enablement is taking time to connect with your people, and we’ve already seen how employee engagement can have a dramatic impact on the effectiveness of your company.
When your workforce feels connected, it gives them purpose. It helps them carve out a niche within their department or team, and it helps them see how they are contributing to big-picture objectives.
Per Peter Economy, full-time ghostwriter and best-selling author, “The secret to unlocking this unlimited source of energy for your company is to build and strengthen the bonds between you and your employees. When you trust and respect your people – and really connect with them – they will respond with commitment and enthusiasm.”
You can bring out the best in your workforce by allowing them to express their ideas, recognizing their contribution, empowering them with the tools and information they need, giving them opportunities to grow, and so on.
Companies can accomplish this best through corporate philanthropy programs, like employee volunteering and corporate giving. Studies show large companies have reduced turnover by 50% using CSR programs. IBM alone attributes a $600 million return on their $200 million CSR program investment. Fortunately, companies large and small reap the benefits.
Your action step: connect with your team members outside of your place of business this week and consider using that time to bring your team together to give back to the community. Get more out of your time away from the office with pro bono employee volunteering; a great career development and team building opportunity.
11. Offer A Competitve Base Salary or Hourly Wage
Your employees want to feel like the effort they put into work is worth their time. When it comes to employee retention, money isn’t everything, but offering a competitive wage can help your people feel like their work and time is valued.  According to Chron.com, “Regardless of a person’s field, she wants to know her compensation is competitive with what others who perform similar work are earning. Salaries need not be the highest in your area but should be among the top. Paying low salaries means top people will leave and low performer will take their jobs.”
Your team members need to be able to cover their cost of living, and to feel like they are doing good, rewarding work. If you aren’t sure, research what a competitive salary would be for your employees and start paying them what they’re worth.
Your action step: review current wages, and determine if you need to make any adjustments to be competitive.
12.Avoid Sudden Changes In The Workplace
Change may be inevitable, but it can also be very stressful. You may need to introduce new initiatives and systems in your company to keep up with growth or to strengthen quality assurance. But forcing too much change too soon can affect employee retention.  Towers Watson found that employee attitude can be affected negatively by organizations going through significant change.
We all like to think of our employees as strong people, capable of adapting as necessary. But without ongoing communication – especially with regards to the status of their job – your workers can begin to feel fearful for their future in the company.  Many entrepreneurs have found that introducing one change at a time is more manageable for workers than many changes at once. Instead of trying to implement broad, sweeping changes, it would be wise to go about it gradually.
Your action step: determine whether your employees are under any undue stress this week. If you have a plan in place to bring about changes within the company – assignments, job descriptions, polices, systems, and so on – consider slowing the projected timeline for completion.
13. Create A Clean & Safe Environment For Your Employees
Dirtiness and clutter is distracting. And if people sense that danger is near, they’re going to have a hard time focusing on the work they need to do.
Since your employees will be spending at least one-third of any given day in the workplace, if not longer, it’s important to create and maintain a comfortable working environment.
To achieve this end, you may need to carry out risk assessment to identify potential hazards and dangers in the workplace. You may also want to update your health and safety policies and put additional processes and procedures in place to ensure a safe working environment.  And although we are talking about employee retention here, it may also be necessary to let go of employees that are harassing, causing distractions, or not cooperating. This will be for the better of all involved – ensure the comfort of the many over the few.
Your action step: put a plan in place to keep the workplace organized, and do a risk assessment this week.
14. Give Your Employees The Tools They Need To Succeed
If you’re going to set goals for your workers, you need to give them the tools, resources, and information they need to succeed. All too often, employees are left to their own devices without any direction or guidance. Is it any wonder they fail to hit a target they cannot even see?
Abigail Phillips, editorial director at WDM Group notes, “We’ve all heard that ‘a team is only as strong as its weakest link,’ but the number of business leaders choosing to ignore this sentiment is staggering, as they are more concerned with their own development and less so with their employees. Not a smart move.”
If you want to help your employees succeed, you need to be in regular communication with them, asking them specifically about the project they’re working on, and if there’s anything you can help them with to bring it to completion. You need to be willing to share your knowledge, and to mentor and guide them.
Your action step: this week, assess whether any of your team members are uncertain how to proceed with a project. Ask what they would need to move forward with their assignment, and provide it for them.
15. Provide Adequate Rest Periods For Your Employees
In the US, long hours in the office is often worn like a badge of honor, and hardworking entrepreneurs are glorified and celebrated. But people are not machines, and when pushed too hard for too long, they will succumb to illness, fatigue, and unnecessary (but sometimes costly) mistakes.
According to Chron.com, one-third of workers eat lunch at their desk, and 16% hardly, if ever, take a lunch at all.
It’s one thing to support an employee that’s driven and wants to make a significant contribution to the company. But for every determined and ambitious employee, there are many others that would collapse under the pressure of stress and overwork.
If employee retention is your goal, then it’s important to provide adequate rest periods for them. This will help reduce stress and sick days. Depending on the state, this is also a matter of regulatory compliance.
Your action step: this week, try adding an additional 10 minutes to everyone’s rest period. Observe whether this makes any difference to overall performance and morale.

Conclusion

You’ve just learned about 15 distinct strategies that can help you retain your best workers.  This is a lot of information to absorb, and might even be overwhelming.
So, instead of trying to affect change at a foundational level, why not begin work on just one strategy this week? Bookmark this page and come back when you are ready to add the next strategy.
Start with something you know needs to be addressed in your company sooner rather than later. Don’t put it off. Take action this week, and put your new knowledge to good use.  
QDS UPDATE:
Audit Trail:  When you open up a survey to edit it, you will now see an audit trail on the right hand side. It will track when a score is changed (even if a client changes the score), a testimonial is pushed to the website, etc., and by whom.  The audit trail is in effect from today, forward.  Changes prior to today’s date will not show.
Latest responses: You will no longer see manually entered survey scores in the latest response tab on the Dashboard. Latest responses will only list actual responses from the client. For any manually entered score, you will see that score in the survey list and in Reports. You will also see an audit trail showing the details of when and who edited the survey by adding a score.

118 (Almost Positive!) Yelp Reviews…And Counting

 

I love the challenge of being a leader in my local area for Yelp reviews. If there’s one thing our company does well, it’s how to get customers to post on review sites, specifically Yelp and Google.  In today’s world, online reviews are just as important as personal recommendations. Most people will use online reviews to establish whether or not a company is viable, and more importantly, whether or not to buy your product or service.

Of course, everyone wants great reviews for their business, and not just on Yelp or Google.  But how to get those reviews can seem like a daunting task, especially when “just asking,” just isn’t working.  There is also the concern of what type of reviews you are getting, once you get a customer to post their experience with your company.  And finally, there is the concern with how much it costs to promote your business on Yelp.

I am in Austin, and I currently have over 106 Yelp reviews, with about a 4.5-star rating.  The following are some tried and tested ways which I have put into practice myself.  These methods will help you get your customers to leave a review, walk you through steps on how to deal with a negative review, and how to build a great Yelp following…for FREE.

Create a Great Profile

First of all, be sure to put some time and effort into your profile page.  Be sure to add great photos, along with clear descriptions, telephone numbers, accurate business opening hours, and a website for people to link to.  Photos should not be stock photography or clip art.  Instead, having pictures of staff and great before and after pictures will allow prospective customers to spend time on your page, increasing the likelihood that they will purchase from you.

Tell Everyone You’re On Yelp, Google, Angie’s List and Others!

Ok, so this may sound obvious, but you cannot underestimate the importance of communication!  Make sure you post a visible Yelp sign on your website and other places wherever customers might look.  If you have customers visiting you in your premises, your vehicles, your email signature, and your website are all tools to be used!  It’s SUPER IMPORTANT that they see a “check us out on Yelp” sign.  If you have any social media accounts, then this is an excellent way to raise awareness and gently let people know that they can find you on Yelp.   

It’s the same with other review sites, make sure you promote the sites where people can leave a review a review for you.  They might not be active on Yelp, but they may be familiar with other review sites which all have their benefits in the online world.

A good review almost always starts with a survey.  In my maid service, we use Quality Driven Software (QualityDrivenSoftware.com) to survey our clients after each cleaning.  Once they score their service a 4 or 5 star (the highest rating), they receive an automatic link asking them to post their honest experience on Yelp or Google.  By surveying first, you know exactly who you want to ask to post a social review on your behalf.

Move Reviews Out of the “Not Recommended”

I’m always surprised when I talk about this point at just how many people don’t know about the filters on Yelp!  If you are on a mission to get the best rating on Yelp you possibly can, a step you need to take regularly is to check the filters and to remove any reviews which may have been caught in there.  These scores do not count towards your overall star rating.  Yelp automatically hides anything that it deems not to be genuine (whether this is the case, or not), it’s done automatically by the system using an algorithm which can sometimes get it wrong! If you head to the very bottom of your company page where it lists the page numbers, just to the left of those figures, there is a “filtered” button, which then gives you access to these reviews.

Be sure to follow any Yelpers that have left you a review, even more so if these appear in the filtered section.  This will help a Yelper appear to be more genuine, and it also helps with the validity of their profile too.  You can also send the person who left you a review a thank you message for their review and mention to them that their reviews are being filtered out. It is possible that they do not know about this!  In order for their review to be unfiltered, it could just be the case that they need to update their profile or be a little more active on the Yelp platform.  We encourage our reviewing clients to:

Find friends (and accept our friend requests that we send from our personal accounts)
Click on “Useful” for other business reviews
Write more reviews
Post a profile picture

While I have never tried this myself, I have seen other business owners offer a “check in” offer, say a free upgrade for “checking in” to the place of business. Checking in is also a great strategy for becoming an active Yelper so that reviews are not stuck in the dreaded filtered, not “Not Recommended” section.

Reach Out to Loyal Customers

You may have clients who you have worked with for several years or even people who have told you in the past that they are exceptionally pleased with your services.  Ask them to post their comments onto your Yelp, or Google account.  This is just the same as someone telling a friend they were pleased with your work.  It is perfectly acceptable to say to them, “Hey – I’ve just registered on Yelp / Google, as we’ve worked together for some time; would you mind posting a review?”  Since we clean over 500 homes a month, we heavily rely on our software, Quality Driven Software (QDS) and filter out all passing scores so that we know exactly who was genuinely pleased with their service.

Making the most of your online presence, and gaining reviews is a superb way to attract or secure new business.  I can’t tell you the number of times clients call us and say, “I saw your reviews on Yelp and was so impressed. Can we book a cleaning?” At that point, providing a quote is just a necessary routine as they’ve already hired us in their minds, solely based on our reviews.

Make It Easy for your Customers to Leave Reviews

Most people will not go and look for a place to leave you a review, unless they have had a particularly negative experience and are unhappy with how your business has handled them.  This is why I would always advise anyone who is looking to get more reviews to make it really easy for their client to post a review.  Links in any place where you communicate with customers are key.  A really good way to do this is to send your customers an email, or message to thank them for their business once the transaction has taken place.  Not only is this a nice thing to do, it also gives them a quick and easy way to leave a review for you, whilst you are still fresh in their mind!

While Yelp discourages it, it’s not outside of their Terms of Service to ask for honest feedback.  It’s important to mention here that you should not be asking for a good review, merely just an honest assessment of your business or its services.

In our company, we leave a “leave behind” that states which team did the cleaning and tells them to check their email for the one click rating email coming through QDS. We run a contest every month where one of our clients will win a free cleaning, all for answering their survey. This helps to encourage in-house reviews which are just as important as third party review sites.  This survey system allows us to know who to ask for an online review.

Effectively Deal with Negative Reviews

Let’s face it: Every company wants only great online reviews. However, it’s just not possible, especially the more you grow and the more you hire.  But dealing with bad reviews doesn’t have to be stressful. It does, however, take practice, LOTS of patience, and a caring spirit to deal with these reviews.

Now, you can’t filter out bad reviews, and neither Yelp, Google, or anyone else for that matter allows you to pay for a review to be removed.  So when you get one (notice that I didn’t say ‘if’?), you will want to do the following:

*Quickly respond to the review. Do not get defensive and do not respond with your side of the story. Instead, think of yourself as a neutral third party, there to help the client get what they want and need.

* Call the client. When you call the client, put all of your focus on solving their issue, not the negative Yelp review. When you call the customer, provide a list of options to fix their issue. Fixing doesn’t always have to come in the form of money back. In fact, I can only think of one client in the last two years that we did money back, it’s that rare.

*Fix their issue and make them whole again, plus add a little something special such as sending them flowers or a small gift for their children if they have any.

I promise you: If you handle a negative review with kid gloves, there are many times a bad review will be moved or changed by the poster. Or possibly kept but an updated review with a higher score will be posted.

But let’s say that you’ve done all of the above with no positive outcome.  That’s when you hope that they’re review will be filtered by Yelp’s algorithms in a few short weeks due to nonactivity by the poster. (Whew!)  And if you’ve been hit with the worst of the worst review, work even harder to gain some great positive reviews to hide the eye soar.

Paying Yelp

Personally, I don’t pay Yelp for placing my listing.  I tried it once for a very brief period (a few months?) and got mixed results so I stopped.  That’s not to say that Yelp’s advertising programs don’t work, I just haven’t invested the money. For all I know, my competitors are raking it in, the advertising is paying for itself, and I am leaving gobs of money on the table.  But for now, I find that I’m top third listing in my area and I am satisfied with those results.  This means free advertising, another reason to devote time and effort into gaining Yelp reviews.

Be Thankful!

Always write a thank you comment for any reviews, both good and bad.  It only takes a minute to thank a customer for their review. It shows you care, it shows you read the reviews, and, it also increases your level of activity which the review sites measure.

It doesn’t matter if you are a single person business, a start-up, or an enterprise company; having a good online reputation is important, in fact, it’s more than that, it’s essential for the online success of your company and key to winning new contracts, new customers and more importantly, making more money for your business.

Don’t already use software that helps you gain more positive Yelp reviews? Take a tour today!  QualityDrivenSoftware.com

 

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