Shiny, happy people…
Unless you’ve been living on another planet, there’s every chance you’ve heard of the Mr. Men and Little Miss by Roger Hargreaves. You know the ones; where each book in the original series introduced a different title character and his/her single dominant personality to convey a simple moral lesson.Mr Happy and Little Miss Sunshine are perhaps two of the most well-known characters from the series, from both the books and TV shows: the pair of them are always smiling and trying to cheer up anyone who is feeling down. Their personalities are infectious.
In fact, they actually sound like just the sort of people that would be perfect of the face of an organisation, spreading joy and happiness to customers and, therefore, delivering an enhanced user experience and improving customer loyalty.
Of course, as ideal as this sounds, surely no one would use the Mr Men as a benchmark for staff recruitment, right?
Turns out that the Mr. Men have a highly practical application in the world of business, according to UK shoe repair and key-cutting business, Timpson. The firm, which has been in existence since 1865, “recruits new staff solely according to which Mr. Men characters their personalities resemble.”
Apparently, you can have the best CV, qualifications and experience in the world, but if you are more Mr. Grumpy than Mr. Cheerful, the recruitment process will be the beginning and the end of your Timpson experience.
And interviewing by personality clearly works: “the household name saw sales rise 8% to £130m in the year to September 2015, with pre-tax profits up 65% to £10.3m.”
Mr. Timpson senior, who has been running the firm for the last 42 years, introduced this rather unconventional approach to hiring because, as he says, you can teach service or personality, whereas you can train someone to do a job.
In other successful policies, Timpson’s have an “upside-down management approach”, which gives the branches a vast amount of autonomy, which allows team members the freedom to make their own decisions.
In addition, “Employees can spend up to £500 to settle a customer complaint, without having to check first with head office or a senior manager” and they are given a weekly bonus depending on how their particular shop is performing.
As organisations, we all know that customers are (or at least should be!) the main focus. Without them, we have no reason to be in business.
But how often do we stop and look right under our noses? We actually have ‘customers’ working for us. A happy, engaged and committed employee is your biggest brand advocate.
Their praise for and enthusiasm about your products or services is invaluable. They want the company to succeed and are, therefore, dedicated to engaging with customers and extolling the virtues of your brand. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so it’s important to make the right one. Get it spot on, and it can only be beneficial for your business.
‘Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work, Harvard Business Review, 1994’, puts it perfectly: “Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.”
You want your customers to have a great user experience. And, since there is a direct link between employee productivity, loyalty and satisfaction on the one hand and customer loyalty – and therefore profitability – on the other, it is vitally important to invest in and care about your employees.
Firms such as Timpson’s, who listen to their employees and give them the autonomy to make their own decisions and offer suggestions for improvement, create strong brand advocates amongst their team members which, in turn, reduces employee turnover.
On the flip side, if employees don’t have faith in management and aren’t motivated to give it their all, you are likely to experience high turnover, which is not only costly in terms of financial value but also on quality and service levels.
And you know where that leads: if there is a reduction in quality and levels of services, it is bound to have a direct impact on customer retention and loyalty.
So listen to Mr. Timpson and Mr. Hargreaves.
Don’t hire Mr. Mean just because his CV makes him out to be the perfect person for the job, at least on paper.
You want your customers to have the best user experience possible, so that they become loyal consumers for your brand.
So, start closer to home and invest in your front-line advocates and internal customers: your employees.
For business insights and a detailed perception of your organisation, contact The Monachie Project team today!