In July, I shared five tips for providing great customer service. I’d like to focus on another important aspect of customer service that may be attributed to common sense but is often overlooked — happy employees offer better customer service than disgruntled ones.

The cost of doing business is on the rise no matter what industry you’re in. Whether you’re in retail, service or production, the everyday cost of gas, insurance for employees, shipping etc., it’s all on the rise. There is, however, one area business owners do not need to spend more money in order to be effective. Employees want to be happy and feel like they’re part of the team.

Business owners and managers have to put a lot of the day-to-day business management tasks on their employees, but it’s important that we remember not to put all of our burdens on their shoulders. Attitude is essential. If we are positive, friendly, uplifting and welcoming, they are much more likely to do their jobs with a smile and support our needs. How we choose to interact with our employees will carry through to our customers and clients.

We’re all busy. No doubt about that. It’s challenging to keep our employees happy at all times.

But there are things we can do each day to help and keep employee morale up:

It’s all about the “little things” — morning hellos, praise of how great their hair or shoes look, remembering their favorite sports team. The acknowledgement will go a long way for boosting office morale. I’ve had several family members and friends tell me of their experience working for a great small business, but their boss had no idea what their name was or anything about them. This became their catalyst for looking for a new job.

Some companies band their employees from making their workspace personal. I’ve found that this can make them feel as though they don’t belong and are unattached to their work. Employees like to make their space feel special and unique to them. Allowing them to bring items such as photos, individualized mouse pad or a plant will make them feel at home, but not interrupt their work.

As I mentioned before, employees like to feel involved, a great way to make them feel involved and boost morale is an office pot luck for birthdays or special occasions. It allows an opportunity for the entire office to spend time together and break down some of the employee/boss barriers. If you’re feeling adventurous, a great way to make employees feel more engaged is to ask for their help planning the pot luck; give them ownership of the activity.

Develop an employee of the month program. This seemingly ordinary employee engagement gives them an extra incentive to put his/her best foot forward.

Additionally, it doesn’t cost a single cent to say “thank you.” When was the last time you said “thank you” to one of your employees for accomplishing a regular task? I make a concentrated effort to say “thank you” to each of my employees every week for something I catch them doing well. I also write “thank you” on each paycheck and include a smiley face. Once I forgot to include a smiley face, and I had an employee upset with me for a few weeks. I didn’t understand why until another employee told me he thought I was unhappy with his performance because I forgot the smiley face on his paycheck. I have never forgotten a smiley face since this experience. Employees notice the little things.

Employees don’t need special, individualized attention every day, but they do need to feel included. Every now and again, make an extra special effort to make sure they feel heard and understood.

No matter your size or industry, I know there is a way you can make your employees happier and feel special. Just remember, happier employees mean happier customers.

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