The Importance of the Frontline

  • Posted by admin
  • 29 August 2013
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A lot of advice is centered around the executive leadership – the grand strategies and plans of the company as a whole. These are definitely vital for a company’s success in the long run. The problem comes, though, when these macro values are not demonstrated by the employees who actually come into contact with the customers themselves. After all, when was the last time you heard of someone encountering an employee who treated him in a manner that went contrary to the company’s values? Probably, far too many times.

To put it simply: Frontline employees essentially possess great control over the customer experience, and hence their opinion of the company as a whole. However, too often receptionists and waiters are treated with less respect or empathy than they actually deserve. As a result, they start to feel that their position is not important, and consequently their performance takes a downturn.

George Anders from Forbes Magazine puts it succintly when he said this:

Actually, it's the people in the front of the restaurant -- and behind the bar -- that should command our attention. The more time we spend in the efficient but somewhat soulless world of digital connectivity, the more we will cherish a little banter with wait-staff and bartenders who know us by name. We will pay extra to mingle with other people who can keep the timeless art of conversation alive.

What can be done to motivate those in the front of the restaurant, then? There are two ways in which this can be done:

1)     Hire the right people

Prevention is always better than cure. From the get-go, spend more time in selecting and interviewing potential employees regardless of the position that they hold. In fact, you might even consider spending more time in choosing the right receptionist, know that he/she will be the face of your company. Don’t just hire anyone – hire the right people.

2)     Incentivize your employees

Good pay doesn’t necessarily translate into good performance. Employees also want to know that their work has an impact on the company’s fortunes, and hence, they want to be treated with respect and be shown appreciation. Make sure that you consistenty treat your employees well, whether it be through random lunch treats or monetary benefits for meeting performance standards.

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