How 'Likeability' Can Affect Your Bottom Line
Whether you are a tennis teaching pro, general manager, owner of a retail store, or an employee who interfaces with customers, being “likeable” is a key factor in the success of your business. In terms of customer satisfaction, employee loyalty, and productivity, as a friend of mine expressed to me, “relationships are the currency of life.”
Likeability, of course, is important when it comes to recruiting and retaining good employees. Consultant Jim McCarty lists these characteristics of a “likeable” person:
- Smiling easily and often.
- Having a good sense of humor.
- Being fun.
- Complimenting others easily and often.
- Exuding self-confidence.
- Laughing at yourself.
- Being a good listener.
While some of these characteristics, like sense of humor and being fun, may be more ingrained into one’s personality, others, like being a good listener, complimenting others, and smiling, are behaviors that can be trained and improved upon.
Owners and managers who demonstrate these characteristics create an atmosphere where employees like to work and customers like to shop. According to Tim Saunders, author of The Likeability Factor: “Today success is as much about quality of life as it is about the quantity of material objects.” Employees are more likely to be happier, more productive, and stay in their jobs longer when they “like” their manager, supervisor, or boss.
Where I live, there are a great many Asian restaurants. The quality of the food, menu choices, and prices are pretty much the same. However, in one restaurant, we are greeted with smiles and “welcomes” not just by the hostess, but also by the sushi chefs and bartenders. When we leave, they smile, ask if everything was all right, and say, “Thank you for coming.” Guess where we go most of the time? Guess what restaurant we recommend to our friends?
Whether you are an employee or a customer, being shown warmth, respect, understanding, and a sense that the other person cares about you is vital to interpersonal effectiveness. When I work with corporate and business clients, I’ve noticed that next to managing their own stress, developing interpersonal effectiveness is the main goal they would like to learn or improve upon.
While every situation and person’s needs are different, here are some general strategies you may find useful in evaluating and improving your own likeability factor:
- Regularly use customer satisfaction surveys that include questions about perceived friendliness, caring, and understanding from the personnel that serviced them.
- Listen to your personal greeting on your answering machine and rate the tone of your voice as well as the words you use.
- With permission, videotape and review an interaction between yourself and an employee and/or customer.
- Keep track of the “genuine” compliments you give to your employees each day.
- Practice “smiling” to each new person you come in contact with each day.
- When someone acts in a way you don’t like, instead of getting angry or unfriendly, take a deep breath and think, “Nobody’s perfect.”
- Use posters and printed sayings to keep positive and friendly. For example, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”
- Pay attention to the people in your life who seem most likeable. Study and adopt some of their behaviors and attitudes.
Remember, likeability is made up of a number of characteristic behaviors, many of which can be learned and improved upon. If you want to be more successful in business and in life, invest in developing your likeability factor. It will pay off in more ways than one.
See all articles by Robert F. Heller
About the Author
Dr. Robert F. Heller is a psychologist and consultant in the areas of performance enhancement and stress management. He is the author of Mental Skills for Match Play and Mental Toughness. For information on telephone consultation, products, and other services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, thewinningedge.usptapro.com, or 561-451-2731. He is based in Boca Raton, Fla.