What would you think if you went to a major league baseball game and as the game was getting ready to begin, the mega salary baseball players from the home team ran onto the field and took their position. As you looked, you saw that one was wearing a sweatshirt and cutoffs, another was wearing a t-shirt, and one player was wearing a golf cap and tennis shoes. A few players were wearing NBA basketball shorts.
Imagine a scenario where your UPS person drives up in his nice shiny brown truck with gold lettering and is wearing a bright red t-shirt that has the words “Coke is the Real Thing” on the front? Finally, how about a policeman who pulls you over for speeding and he is dressed in a sweat suit with the words “party on dudes” on the front, wearing an orange and white polka dot bandanna?
In any of the above scenarios how would you react? Clearly these people are not creating the impression you would expect from the organizations they are representing. As outrageous as this sounds, scenarios similar to the ones previously mentioned are happening on a regular basis to many different service and product companies.
Some of these companies have a relaxed or inconsistent dress code, and have lowered the standards for professionalism in their organization. As a result they are paying the price of earning a distorted perception by their present and potential clients.
What do you see and think at the beginning of the work day as you watch your team prepare to head out to service their clients? Does their appearance conger up professional images of a company well prepared to deliver a quality service? Does it make you feel proud that they work for you? If you were a client would you be glad to see them showing up at your front door?
How closely do you, your supervisors and your employees adhere to a professional image through the consistent use of a uniform?
I remember years ago when attending college, for additional income, I attended and graduated from umpire school and became certified as an official men’s softball umpire. The chief facilitator, Dave Artley said something I will never forget. He told us that fifty percent of being a credible umpire in the eyes of the players and the spectators was wearing the umpire cap, medium blue shirt with the American Softball Association patch, dark blue pants or shorts, black shoes, a copy of the rule book in your back pocket, and your little black balls and strikes counter with you.
Mr. Artley was right. When I first started out as a softball official, as inexperienced as I was, wearing that uniform, instantly gave me the credibility I needed to establish myself as an expert.
In his book titled, You Are the Message, Roger Ailes describes that the impression your customers perceive of your company is based on what they see and hear. If you and your team members are dressed sloppily or inconsistently, it leaves a lasting impression on your clients and on the general public who observe your people performing on the job.
This kind of standard reminds me of the saying, “Casual dress leads to casualties.”
A casual dress code can mean running the risk of giving a less than professional image of your company or business.
One uniform company, Cintas, reports that when your people wear a uniform it does two things.
- Wearing a uniform speaks volumes when it comes to the quality of your products, people, service and workmanship.
- Uniforms instantly tell customers they have the right people servicing them and they are speaking to the right people.
Here is my point. Your company can create a distinct competitive advantage by adhering to a dress code that employs the use of an attractive uniform.
There are many types of uniforms. Some can be more relaxed in nature, while others can be more formal. For example, employees at a landscaping company can wear attractive t- shirts with the company logo on the left and the employee’s first name embroidered on the front, company name, logo and your website URL on the back plus black pants and dark colored work shoes. A more formal example could be color coordinated golf shirts and pants. If you wanted to make it more practical you could do so by adding a baseball hat with your matching company logo on the front.
Make sure you choose attractive uniforms that your employees like. One of the challenges of uniforms is making sure your team wears them. As I always tell my clients, one of the best ways to prevent objections is to answer them before they come up. In the case of employees not wanting to wear their uniform, it would be critical that you get their buy in from the very beginning.
It is important that you get input from your employees before you choose the style and color of the uniforms for your company. The main reason for doing this is that they can provide you with valuable input as to whether or not the choice of uniforms is comfortable and practical. If both of those concerns are not met, you will probably get push back from your employees in consistently following your dress code standards. Remember, the key is to find an attractive way to dress your staff in a way that communicates to your customers that you are a team.
Among the benefits for wearing a uniform are:
- Easy identification for customers.
- Creates a professional image of a staff that is accountable and organized.
- Safety-a bright visible uniform makes it easy to see your workers on the job.
- Differentiation from your competitors
- Conveys to your customers that your employees are part of a team.
- Pride and responsibility – Allows your employees to feel part of a team and responsible to perform on the job.
- Additional perceived value – A professional image creates enhanced desirability on behalf of your clients and allows you to charge more for your services or products.
If you want to increase your client attraction and retention rate, do an assessment of the uniforms your employees wear, and if on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest and you’re not around 9-10, take the appropriate action. You will be glad you did and so will your clients and customers.
Tom Borg is a team performance and customer experience expert who works with business owners who want their leadership teams to connect, communicate and work together more effectively without all the drama. Tom does this through his consulting, training, coaching, behavioral and driving forces assessments, job benchmarking tools. To ask him a question please call (734) 404-5909 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at: www.tomborgconsulting.com. All rights reserved – Copyright 2019