Do Your Coworkers Need To Like One Another?

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How important is it that your staff get along?

Admit it or not, everyone wants to work with people they like. But how important is it to the company [and the brand at large] if the employees get along with one another?

To us, socializing with your coworkers at work and outside of work is crucial to good internal collaboration. Why? Because you’re relating to them as human beings, which makes it easier for you to trust each other, rely on each other, and produce great work together. We would also venture to say that good workplace relationships make a happier, more productive office.

As humans, we’re made to seek out connections with one another. That’s why a lot of modern brands will bill themselves to the public as a “team” or a “family.” That’s because work is where we spend the most hours of our day, our week, and our lifetime. It’s completely natural that we would try to forge relationships here. And in a sense, our workplace can truly be a home away from home.

Chances are, you’ve got a pretty decent range of Millennials on your staff, and that is important because it will drive your modern corporate culture. Millennials put so much emphasis on enjoying their work environment, that having a social or at least friendly relationship with their coworkers is more important than most other aspects of their job. In fact, enjoying the company of their coworkers might even be the most important thing to Millennials, besides doing fulfilling work. They’d rather work with friends than be isolated in an 8-to-5 environment.

Having a staff that enjoys spending time with one another can help foster internal trust and radiate happiness from within. Your customers, clients, and vendors can recognize when they’re doing business with a happy workplace. Also, if members of your staff have social relationships outside of work, members of the public could take notice and form opinions about the type of work environment that you are cultivating.

We recognize the challenges, though. The size of a company will 100% influence the way the staff interact. Small businesses often cultivate an informal, team environment. Bigger, corporate businesses are usually the ones where socialization is broken up into smaller groups or among departments. Here, there’s also the likely possibility that socialization is awkward, or even discouraged. It’s not easy to get everyone around the table or organize an office-wide “fun day” if you’ve got 60 people or more to wrangle. The size of the company isn’t the only obstacle for office camaraderie. Having a major age gap among your staff can also hinder everyone’s ability to get along and relate to one another. You can’t really fix the age gap issue, but you can institute a corporate culture initiative that bridges the gap. It’s all about having regular activities, a next-generation committee, and a mentoring program that brings younger generations and older generations together in a productive way that benefits the company.

An office where everyone gets along every day all day seems like an alien, unrealistic concept. But an office where people generally like their coworkers is, without a doubt, good for the brand. You want your people to feel invested, connected, and proud to be a part of the team. And in the end, we all want invested employees who have ownership of what they do and the company they work for. Good bonds can help strengthen that sensibility.

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Handling Customer Service On Social Media

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Whether they pick up the phone and call, find you on the web, or walk right back into your business, unsatisfied customers will find you.

For centuries, customer service was always an issue of personally addressing the matter face-to-face or voice-to-voice. But now, social media creates the opportunity for dialogue over the web. And it couldn’t be easier for your customers to start that dialogue.

Believe it or not, customers are more likely to reach out and lodge a complaint through one of your social media pages than to actually pick up the phone and call to complain. It’s the same as firing off an angry email. It’s easy, you don’t have to be quick on your feet to write it, and you get to vent without dealing directly with an actual person. But this approach is problematic for both parties for several reasons.

We all already know the immediate drawbacks digital dialogue. Sincere statements can sound impersonal, and there’s no way to interpret someone’s actual tone. The main problem with a two-way conversation on social media is that it’s being executed from behind two screens.

As a business, social media is a wonderful resource for responding to feedback, publicly and privately. But the extent of that feedback should only be to let your people know you’re there and you’ve heard them. Feedback-loop-closure it’s an essential part of managing a Facebook or Twitter business page, but frankly, it shouldn’t be used for handling real issues of customer service. It’s a great place to start, though.

You can be a savvy business-owner with the most sincere intentions for cleaning up a mess. But if you’re not willing to offer some personal, honest, reparations to an unsatisfied customer, then you’re doing them a disservice. The point is to take the conversation off social media as quickly as possible. Give them your number and invite them to have a chat. Then, give them a free appetizer, offer them a store credit, or at least offer to make good with the things that went wrong (eat the cost). And regardless of how you right the wrong, make sure to invite them back. The only way to correct the damage that’s been done to your brand on a personal level is to give your customer another experience with the brand at the source. A bad customer service experience is a great opportunity to reconnect with someone and show them why they did business with you in the first place.

What about positive feedback?

Crisis management is one dimension of customer service, but what about all the satisfied customers who just want to let you know how great you are? 100% of the time, you absolutely must respond to positive feedback on your social media pages. Much like negative feedback, you have to let your people know that you’re there and you’ve heard them. Even if it’s just a one- or two-word comment on your page about how wonderful you are or how satisfied the customer is, you have to respond with something sincere and positive. If you don’t, it’s the same thing as telling someone they look nice and them turning around and walking away. It builds brand equity to engage with your audience on social media, especially if they start the conversation.

Hopefully the positive feedback on your social media pages greatly outweighs the negative. But when the negative comments pop up, it’s important to address them head-on and make direct contact with the unsatisfied user. Don’t delete the comment and sweep it under the rug, and don’t ignore it. As the steward of your own brand, you want a reputation for being transparent, proactive, and genuine. Interacting with your customers on social media is one way to foster that reputation.

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