People are everything.
Good people make good companies. One of our best is Elena.
She is a team-leader on a two person crew. Her quality is outstanding, and she is well-liked by her fellow employees. She comes to work every day and works hard.
She is dependable, and will do whatever is needed. I wish we could clone her. Our other employees are good, and some are outstanding like Elena, but she does little extra things that shows she will go to any lengths to achieve greatness (greatness is not reserved only for astronauts and professional athletes).
For example, we reviewed a complaint from a one-time clean customer about a few small things we missed. Elena had cleaned the house. She had received 2 complaints in the last 12 months (out of over 800 homes cleaned). She listened carefully, then asked to have a copy of our notes from the customer. She wanted to keep it as a reminder to give a great clean to customers, whether it is a one-time clean or a regular customer. I must say, this was a first for us. Who keeps a reminder of a mistake they have made in their pocketbook? I’d say uber-conscientious people, and Elena is one of those.
Another example, in February we had 3 ½ snow days, which is rare for a whole winter much less a month. This is a headache because it causes a lot of reschedules. But, we can’t have teams out on the road driving all around Wake County if road conditions are dangerous. It’s not only our moral goodness, but the fear of an injured employee, lost time, and yes, a workers comp claim. So, we’re concerned about rescheduling all these customers to the next week, which is already full. We were planning Saturday work (which is uncommon for us), and Elena came in to volunteer to work on the weekend without being prompted. Other staff members look up to her, so upon hearing about this, they started volunteering to work as well (with pay, of course). Instead of requiring people to work, we had teams staffed to clean missed snow day cleans on the weekend. This helped us and our customers out. And, after several snow days and the kids running around the house (and in and out to play), houses were messy and they didn’t feel like waiting another week or two for a clean. While as a company, this wouldn’t qualify as heroically going above and beyond, it was in many cases an unexpected surprise for our customers, and helped strengthen the bond between us.
Elena is a hero to us, and we let her know this, with compliments and a nice pay raise for her last annual review. She is also something of a hero to her regular customers. Regarding “regular customers,” we like to send the same teams/people to the same customers at least 80% of the time. This leads to a better quality and continuity of clean. Plus, customers like depending on the same people each time. While we aim for 80% of the time (same team cleaning a particular customer), we can’t quite commit to 100% due to scheduling and the occasional sick day. But, at 80% of the time, people know the crew is used to their house, and any special requirements they have. And, they know that people like Elena will take care of them and their needs.
Good companies are built one employee at a time, and a focus on capably serving customer needs.