We all know that customer service is important to any small business. You rely on repeat customers and of course word of mouth, which is directly impacted by the experience your customers have with your business. Yet, as a business grows many business owners struggle to maintain the level of customer service without over-committing their schedule. There comes a tipping point though. That point in time when your customers' needs outnumber the hours in the day you can devote to providing them with the best service possible. It's that point in time when you start to feel as if your customers are in control of what you do and when you do it. Throughout June we'll be looking at how to transition as your business grows so that customer service doesn't falter, but at the same time you don't feel as if your customers are in charge of your business...
You Cannot be the Most Important Person In Your Business
The moment you hire your first employee things should change. This is the moment you are no longer the most important person in your business. Take a moment to think about that. The moment you hired someone is really the moment you started letting go of your business. It's a lot like that moment your child first starts to walk. It's exciting, but at the same time you start to see all the things that could go wrong.
Most business owners manage to hold on to the control by giving employees just enough room to work, but without really allowing them to take ownership of their role. You might notice that there are customers that refuse to get answers from anyone but you, employees interrupt you for simple requests, or worse simply don't take action until you tell them what to do. You probably know details about every single client call or interaction. You're accessible to clients and employees at any time or day. You'll notice that service starts to slip even though you're working harder than ever. It's exhausting being the most important person in your business.
The truth is you just can't be everywhere at once, so how do you stop being the most important person in your business? In one word the answer is training. You train your employees so that you are confident they can handle the day to day of the business. You train your customers to have the same confidence in your staff that you do. You train yourself to let your employees do what they were hired for in the first place.
This week we challenge you to identify the ways that you are the most important person in your business. You cannot start to implement a training solution until you're clear on the way your staff and service are held back by the amount of your involvement. A great way to get started is to request that all employees document for two weeks the questions they have to bring to you. This will give you a list of systems and trainings that you need to implement.