Teesside-based workwear supplier MI Supplies is dedicated to providing a high standard of customer service. However, profitability has occasionally been compromised to maintain the standard and the company has made a loss.
MI Supplies recognised it needed staff commitment to the customer service vision to keep employees motivated through periods where the business wasn’t profitable.
The first step for MI Supplies was to check that staff felt as involved in the business as possible. It was important that the company’s goals felt like theirs too, so CEO Alex Ingham encouraged them to contribute opinions and take ownership of decisions without being afraid of making mistakes.
Ingham authorised everyone to make decisions quickly, regardless of cost, to make sure staff were fully committed to their customer service value. It stopped staff from worrying about making a mistake where monthly profit was concerned. Instead, they could put more faith in the long-term goals of the company – going out of their way to meet a customer’s needs this month would likely pay off the next time they ordered.
Ingham acknowledged that motivation would drop if staff weren’t rewarded for their commitment to the company’s vision and decided to introduce a profit share scheme. The company found high customer satisfaction was inextricably linked to profit and sales growth for the year. With the profit share scheme, the more staff invested in customer service, the more MI Supplies could give their team at the end of the year.
Ingham believes the decision to look after and reward staff members has paid off. MI Supplies have established a strong staff retention rate in its team of 12 and has increased sales by 28 per cent from 2017 to 2018, boosting the company’s revenue to £3m.
“Stay absolutely true to what you believe in,” Ingham said. “There’s no point in being something you’re not. And share your thoughts and vision with everyone in the team, because you can use their brains and experience to make it even better.”