I'm lucky that in my role as a training provider, I've worked with lots of different organisations in lots of different sectors, with different business models and different 'issues'. Some businesses have been doing well; others struggling. I've started to notice what sets aside those businesses who do well from those who don't, and it's three things:
1. Skill. People within the business know what's expected of them and they have the knowledge and skills to do it.
2. Will. People within the business have the right attitude, and do their best at all times...even when the boss is not there. They actually care about their customers, the business and their job.
3. Resources. The organisation has provided the right type and level of resources that the people need to do a good job.
I recently visited my local BMW dealership, and the experience was equisite. No questions left unanswered, every need anticipated and plenty of people around. They clearly had all three factors in abundance.
You can also notice the opposite in businesses that we visit as customers. One large retailer of bikes and car parts is grossly understaffed and the staff only know about 'their section'. Yes they are nice, pleasant and do their best (the 'will' is there), but you end up feeling frustrated.
The fact is that if the staff don't know what they're doing, don't care, have insufficient equipment or if the place is understaffed, this impacts directly on the bottom line.
The trouble is, its hard to break out of this situation. The whole thing is a bit 'chicken and egg'. I've worked with organisations where the skill and the will is there, but they are understaffed. The word from on high is that 'when we are making more money, we can hire more people'...but how can they make more money when they are working on skeleton staff, who already work as hard as they can?
Some organisations have enthusiastic staff and plenty of them, but seem clueless in the basics... First and foremost people want an accurate and efficient service. If this can't be delivered, it doesn't really matter how 'nice' your staff are, and people will take their custom elsewhere.
And of course, we can all think of organisations where people are capable, have the right equipment, but have just lost all enthusiasm for the job. Hardly an appealing business to do business with is it?
How can organisations break out of this vicious cycle? I don't know...but I hope that somebody does!