At Red-Carpet Learning Systems, we are often asked if our concepts apply to internal customer service. The immediate answer is YES!! You’ve probably heard me say this, and I’ll say it again. The way to get an hourly employee who has never received red carpet customer service to give it is to, well, give it to them!
It starts with a simple thank you – personal, meaningful and coming from you, their direct supervisor. In fact, Gallup has consistently found that the reason most Americans leave jobs is they don’t feel appreciated. Their recent studies show that the most meaningful recognition comes from their immediate manager or supervisor.
Internal Customer Service starts with Thank You!
This is the good news – and for most of us, it’s not news at all. The challenge often comes in finding creative ways to show your appreciation. Below are 7 quick and creative ways you can say THANK YOU to your staff!
Plaster Post-It Notes: If there is anyone who is a master of internal customer service, it’s my former boss and always friend, Dawn Winder. She was my boss when I worked for Parkview Retirement Home as an activities director. She has a gift for leading a team to success and one of her secrets is knowing how to make her staff feel appreciated. For instance, if we came back from vacation or had a workplace success, she would gather all of our peers to say thank you. As a group, they wrote special messages of praise or “welcome back” on Post-It’s, and plaster them all over our desk or work area! Imagine coming back from vacation and finding that visual display of appreciation all for you. Makes you ALMOST glad you left the cruise ship to return to work.
Write Personal Thank You Notes: Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell SoupRegularly. was credited with bringing their sales back and re-energizing the company. He is a legend for writing 25 thank you notes to employees every single day! Over the course of his tenure, he wrote 30,000 thank you notes. The company only employed 20,000 people at the time. Knowing this, are you willing to write one a day? A week? The thing about hand-written thank you notes is that they are keepers! You never know the impact you’re making by taking 5 minutes out of your day to write down your appreciation.
Empower Your Leadership: Give managers and supervisors the tools they need to show appreciation to staff. For instance, you could get together at the end of every week with a bunch of cards and have a “thank you” writing party! The managers at the Durham Performing Arts equipped with “Spotlight Cards.” When they see someone going above and beyond, they hand them a card. Team members can trade them in for prizes, etc.
Give Standing Ovations: When STARS (employees) of the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel are recognized for a job well done by one of their guests, they are praised by their leaders and given a round of applause from their co-workers!
Give a WOW!: People’s Bank of Commerce in Minnesota uses the “Give a WOW” peer-to-peer recognition program offered by TerryBerry Recognition.
The program allows them to connect with their 70 employees through an online, social media style program that celebrates and values their success in modeling the bank’s vision, mission, and core values.
Personalize Your Recognition: If you really want to take your appreciation of staff (or for that matter, customers) to the red carpet level, then personalization is the key. The more you know about your staff members, the more you can tailor your appreciation. At Red-Carpet Learning Systems, we keep a list of FAVORITES of all of our team (colors, food, restaurants, hobbies) so whenever I want to say thank you with a gift, I know what’s going to be meaningful to that person.
The important part is to know them and listen for opportunities. You may want to revisit this post on Surprise and Delight, as it applies to internal customer service too!
Make it Fun: You can put a twist on appreciation by being a little playful. For instance, the sales team at Mather LifeWays has a prize wheel in their office. Whenever a team member or resident assists them with a tour or bringing a new resident into their community, they are invited in the office to spin the wheel and win a prize!
What about you? What are your quick tips for saying thank you to staff? Comment below and let me know. You never know! We may want your idea for my next book.
Donna Cutting, CSP is the author of two books on customer service, including 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers.
She’s the founder and CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Systems, Inc. and leads a team of experts who help leaders in customer-facing fields engage their teams to improve customer interactions and experience. Learn more about our training here.