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Making your team members your ‘first customer’


Originally posted January 23, 2015 by Lori Alford, COO for Avanti Senior Living, on https://hr.blr.com.

People who feel valued and respected show a greater work ethic and initiative. In order for your team members to feel valued, they should be treated as the “first customers,” as they are the ones who have the power to make customers’ experiences extraordinary.

Sometimes when team members are not fully satisfied with their work environment or the company, they are less inclined to go above and beyond to create a positive customer service experience. Avanti Senior Living strives to create a community that is not only a wonderful place to live, but also an engaging, rewarding, and fun place to work.

Many companies have lost sight of this approach or have not considered it at all. With this innovative philosophy in mind, Avanti is fostering a work culture that supports the team, ensuring that they feel inspired, valued, and empowered.

Fulfilling a mission as a team

As any business grows, it will rely on the support of like-minded, positive team members. We depend on them to set the tone and deliver remarkable customer service to our residents. Companies should make it a goal to make their team members feel appreciated and respected, so they are continually motivated to provide the highest level of customer (or resident, in our case) satisfaction.

To help motivate your team to deliver this level of care, you should create an environment in which team members feel empowered to make decisions and trust their instincts. Establish a culture where team members feel at home, enjoy their work, and build strong relationships with customers. An employee who feels valued is less likely to leave.

Showcasing value for your team members

To showcase value for your team, it is imperative to develop a team-centered atmosphere. If a company is in the development phase, then the design should incorporate details that cater to team members. For example, Avanti plans to develop a team lounge with up-to-date luxuries to show our team members they are valued and appreciated.

This space needs to be a place where individuals can have relaxing breaks in the lounge’s bean bags, at tables, or in comfortable chairs; socialize with each other; and interact with internal social media boards. In addition, it’s critical to develop a system where team members can leave suggestions and comments which will help you create a better work environment overall.

A new trend of “Googlizing” the team lounge design is slowly catching on with companies that truly want to provide exciting amenities and create a fun space. When developing your plan for the lounge, take into consideration factors such as where the lounge is positioned in regards to management or leadership spaces, include charging stations for mobile devices, and product or service amenities that will be available to employees.

Another way to demonstrate your concern for the employees’ well-being is to provide a discount program or ongoing educational seminars that are available for professional development and self-improvement.

Extended family concept

Our passion is people, and when we think of our team members, we think of them as family. Our concept is simple. When we take care of our team, they love coming to work and in turn, will take great care of our residents. When you create a circle of trust and safety for your team, they are empowered to do the best job they can. To cultivate camaraderie, we suggest hosting entertaining team activities that will be engaging. In addition, you can spontaneously acknowledge team members with appreciation awards for exemplary work, actions that go above and beyond, successful problem-solving, and more.

Anything you can do to encourage the delivery of exceptional customer service and outstanding care will ultimately benefit the people whom you are passionate about serving.