By Jon Forknell (allBusiness)

Customer service. It’s the foundation of most businesses. Without it, customers complain, repeat business dwindles, and your business is left spinning its wheels trying to bring in new buyers.

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Customer service is also the growing block for many successful corporations. For example, Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin empire, refused to put his name on any company he acquired until the customer service levels were up to his standard. Interestingly, he didn’t get higher customer service levels by focusing on the customers. He did so by focusing on his employees.

Why Put Employees First?

Richard Branson isn’t alone in this strategy. Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerMedia says, “Employees are how you win.”

So why put employees before customers?

In a world where the customer is notoriously always right, this strategy can seem counterintuitive. Yet when you look closer, it makes perfect sense.

Happy Employees Stay With You Longer

Finding the perfect employee for your brand and business culture isn’t always easy. You have to vet out those who don’t take your company seriously and weed out people who don’t align with your office environment. What you’re left with after this process is a limited pool of highly qualified candidates.

Hiring is expensive. Ideally, you don’t want to have to consistently replace one employee with another; you only want to hire when you’re growing.

The longer you can retain your top employees, the better off your business will be. Retention efforts don’t have to be extraordinarily difficult. It can be as simple as making their work schedule more flexible so they have better work/life balance, or offering attractive rewards for a job well done.

When do you do this, you’ll have a dedicated team of people who know your goals, your business, and how you operate. It’s easier to maintain a healthy work environment when you have veterans driving your daily goals.

Happy Employees Feel Invested in Your Success

When your team is happy working in your business, they feel invested in your success. If they perform well, the entire company performs well. This means higher pay grades, more job security, and a healthier work environment.

This investment is invaluable. It means your employees will go above and beyond to do whatever it takes to make your company a success–and to do so, they start by providing exceptional customer service.

By putting them first, you ensure they feel invested in your long-term success, which in turn means your customers get a better experience with your brand.

Happy Employees Lead to Happy Customers

Your employees are the first people your customer sees in your business. These are the people who greet your customers as they walk in the door, help them throughout the buying process, and overall ensure a quality experience with your business. If they’re happy, your customers will be happy too.

Happy employees are the key to your business’s success. Through them, you’ll dominate the customer service game and accelerate your growth.

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