Where Scalability Doesn’t Work In Business

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If you really want to grow your profits asking how you can scale your idea is key.

With technology today there are several ways to outsource, automate and delegate tasks that are both time consuming and replicable by others.

But what if scaling isn’t the best option, then what?

For most business models to scale their parts its a very objective process. Making money depends on putting systems in place to maximize efficiency.

Yet there is one particular area that is almost impossible to scale: customer service.

Even the best training can only safeguard a business so much. In a data-driven world, how people are treated is subjective.

Take any fast-casual restaurant. Most frontline workers are paid minimum wage salaries, but expected to perform at a high level. Pay tends to attract relative talent so when you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel you can’t expect the best customer-employee transaction for a low value.

I’ve always found it interesting how little priority is paid to hiring people with high EQ or soft skills. As a manager I could care less how much experience or technical skill someone has if they don’t know how to talk to or treat people. Believe me empathy is hard to teach.

I work at an education-based startup that is slowly systemizing their processes. Objective measurements are very important, but in the people business brand experience makes or breaks your company.

Believe it or not, clients pay high prices for deliverables, yet what converts them into return customers is: how you make them feel.

As a relationship-driven person myself I admit if you only focus on making people happy you’re running a hobby, not a business. But discounting each interaction both internally and externally will result in higher turnover and a weaker brand.

Scaling your business should be the goal, but how to achieve that needs to be high-touch. Simon Sinek said it best, “If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.”

The #1 Reason You’ll Leave Your Job

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The #1 reason why you’ll leave your (current) job is: lack of career development a.k.a. growth opportunities.

From first glance there’s an assumption that includes a promotion, but not necessarily. The need for career advice is on the rise because most people don’t know what they want to do and/or they change their mind often. Blame social media or a plethora of options, but regardless its reality. Let’s start from the company’s perspective:

Why should we invest professional growth resources into employees who might end up leaving?

First response: efficiency. Back in 2008-09 when the recession started, the first thing to go was “luxury” items such as training. Jobs were being cut drastically and our economy went in the tank. The only job that was safe was: sales (gotta make money to stay in business). If you want people to perform better, they have to be trained. Some companies take the shortcut by hiring “experienced” workers then throw them in the fire. That’s one approach, but even if they know the skill set to accomplish the work, the culture is still a mystery. The reason most leaders micromanage is because they never train people under them properly. Part of career development is training on the job (feedback included) and figuring out if the role is a good fit. If it’s not, here’s the perfect segue into the next point.

Second response: saves time/money. If you’re concerned about pouring into an employee, then having them leave, don’t. If you had someone working for you and they didn’t want to be there wouldn’t you want to know earlier than later? Hopefully this gets caught during the interview process, but if it doesn’t training only reveals it. If you’re working for a company who invests in your professional growth, wouldn’t you be more motivated to work harder for them? This may sound too altruistic, but most people’s performance starts to decline (outside of personal issues) when they feel undervalued/under-appreciated. Practically speaking, helping people navigate their career path will provide clarity for the individual as well as the company.

In simplistic terms, here’s the equation: if my company takes care of me, I will take care of their customers.

Great customer service = brand loyalty = higher profits.

The most direct way to take care of people is invest in their career growth.

This is not a futuristic concept. This is current.

Retention is tied directly to career development, or lack thereof.