By Tom Feltenstein
Your marketing messages are conveyed one-to-one, first to your employees, then from your employees to your customers, and finally from your customers to their families, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Face-time marketing is intimate and personal, the opposite of slick mass media advertising.
You start face-time marketing by hiring, training, motivating, and then leading your employees to go beyond the idea of service and embrace your own belief in hospitality. Service can be mechanical. Its putting the right size tire on your car, installing carpet right-side up, or writing your airline ticket to the correct destination. Its essential, but its not the same as hospitality.
Service is something you can teach and train. Hospitality, however, comes from the heart. Its the personal gift of caring. Its me taking care of you because youre you, not because youre one of 75 people coming through my door this afternoon. You dont serve 75 people. You serve one person at a time, 75 times.
Whatever your business, you are in the business of creating customers. You do that by making them feel important, by showing them you care.
But before a single person crosses your threshold or phones or emails you to make a purchase, you first customers are your employees. Too many businesses ignore this essential element of success, even the big ones that should know better.
How do you hire, train, motivate, and retain people who care about other people? Its a way of life, like the rest of marketing. If a smile is the way you greet your customers, its the way you should greet your employees. If excitement is the goal of promotion aimed at generating new customers, excitement is what you should offer your employees. Everything you do for your customers to gain their loyalty, you should do for your staff.
Businesses complain that when it comes to exceptional employees, we have a recruiting problem in America, but theyre dead wrong about that. What we have is a retention problem because our hiring processes and decisions are ineffective, and then we dont take care of the people we employ.
Red Auerbach, the legendary coach of the Boston Celtics basketball team, once said, If you hire the wrong people all the fancy management tactics in the world wont help you out. You should develop a profile of the person you want to be a member of your staff. If you do that, the rest is relatively easy. Low-cost employees are not cheap if the quit in three months. And the person you have to fire is the most expensive of all.
Hire people who are sunshine, and keep them as long as possible. Some people radiate warmth. You see it in their smile, hear it in their voice, and sense it in the way they move. Theyre gifted in the art of relating.
You cant train people to be sunshine. You may find someone who seems awesome in every other respect, but doesnt smile. You may think to yourself, I can teach her to smile. Youre wrong. You must determine up front exactly what the qualities of the people you want are. You want people who are experienced, people who already have a job and are good at it. This is a marketing at its most basic. AND… you want people who truly like people… who are naturally hospitable and who make you and your customers glad that they are there to serve you.
a href=http://www.tomfeltenstein.comTom Feltenstein/a is a popular keynote speaker and is CEO and founder of a href=http://www.tomfeltenstein.comPower Marketing Academy/a (PMA). PMA is a leading consulting firm that educates businesses in the retail, hospitality and service industries. PMA conducts clinics, seminars, strategy sessions, and trainings. PMA also offers additional resources including books, CDs, DVDs.