When considering all the things that Western Pest Control is great at, it is sometimes hard to find out what is most important. What one critical thing drives the success of our business or any successful business – long term. Success in this case meaning growth, happy customers, and profit.
A superstar employee can sure raise the success of your business – large or small. Certainly this could be a secret sauce to growth, happy customers, and profit. Neil Ducoff of strategies.com explains that superstar employees can be a blessing or a curse. Frankly, I agree with him. If you have one or two amazing employees without a system to develop and train others to become great, you will soon have a problem. They will demand special treatment, and you will obliged to give it to them, after all they are the lifeblood of your company. From my experience, they are often distracting to the company as a whole. Other employees are jealous of the special treatment. As the boss, you are always worried about them leaving and taking their amazing skill elsewhere. But nothing lasts for ever and if there are no bench players that can step up, bad things happen.
Without a system that takes average employee and helps them become great, one or two amazing employees only will give inconsistent service to your customers. Inconsistency is terrible for your customers long term happiness. Millions of people go to McDonald’s Restaurant. Why? Is it because they have amazing food? Is it because they are the best burgers in your town…in any town? No, people go to McKee Dee’s because they know what they are getting – every-time. The consistent marginal burger is better than the maybe-great, maybe-terrible burger from the unknown restaurant.
At Western we are in the customer training business. We train our customers to know what they should expect from our service. We teach them when we will be there, how long it will take, and what they should see afterward. We teach, and we teach, and we teach. Once the customer understands what to expect and get just that, they are happy. Amazing customers service technicians often will go above and beyond what Western does normally. That is great, if expectations are managed. Otherwise long term, the customer will become dissatisfy. Another technician will come to their house and not do the extra thing that was done before and sadness abounds.
A small contingent of inconstant rock-star employees built up and then brought down many companies.
Consistency in Execution
In the pest control industry and in most industries, Consistency is KING. What do I mean by consistency? Every “touch” with the customer is the same high level each time. Every time they call, the get a warm greeting and a helpful employee. Every time they schedule an appointment, they are serviced on time. Every time they meet a new technician, they are pleasantly greeted. Every time they get a bill it comes in the same type of envelope and looks great.
If a company can deliver that – consistent results – they will be ahead of 75% of the companies in business. I think about my trips to Home Depot. They are a convenient choice for many of my home and yard purchases. But I never know what I am going to get, and as a customer, I am a little nervous about my experience each time I go it. Sometimes I there is a helpful associate that is a relative expert in what I am working on and the has a perfect grasp of the inventory of the store. The lines to check out are short, and everything goes splendidly. Other times… not so much. I look for what seems for ever to find anyone to help me, and then they are not helpful, knowledgeable, or pleasant. After finding what I need, I am shocked to find a line eight deep at the one checkout that is open.
Contrast this to going to say at a hotel in Primm Nevada. My family likes to take cruises out of Southern California and often stop at Primm because its about half way on a the trip down. The hotels at Primm are pretty bad. The beds are hard and the service non-exsistant. It is common to wait for 45 minutes just to see someone to check in to the hotel. Nevertheless, they are cheap and consistent. The bed is always going to be hard. The pool is always going to be under repair, and the check-in is always going to be a bit of a nightmare. But we go, year after year. Primm hotels are the McDonald food in a strange town. Sure their are other places too stay, but customers don’t want other, they want what they know.
I would much rather have ten 80% employees that consistently deliver than two Rockstars that rock the boat for everyone. I think, in the long run, my customers would too.
What to do with an amazing employee that is hard to manage?
So what do you do with amazing employees what are causing inconsistent results in your business. We at Western Pest Control do one or two things. First, we give them opportunists to train and lead within the system to help everyone get superior results. This is a win-win when it works. Everyone gets wonderful training. The special employee gets some special treatment and the whole company improves. If this does not work, then we hold Rockstar to the same standard as everyone else, no matter what. Eventually, they will leave, or will do something that will necessitate them being fired. Sad but true. Consistency is the trump card.