Your customers have many options. Research says that customers remain loyal because:

1. You’re meeting their needs.

2. They like the people they’re working with.

3. The relationship is comfortable/easy.

Reasons two and three are quite dependent on the team you assemble to serve your customers. A disgruntled front-of-the-house employee or a revolving door of changing faces can jeopardize the longevity of your client relationship.

So keeping those employees and keeping them feeling good about their job is actually a pretty significant marketing tactic. Naturally, you need to pay a decent salary, have some benefits and create a safe and secure workplace. But that’s not enough to keep really stellar employees.

Nope – that’s up to you.

Have you ever wondered what your employees want from their boss -- so they not only stay but also stay happy?

I just spent two days with a room full of customer service staff and salespeople, teaching them how to add more value to their companies and their clients. As part of the conversation, we talk about the difference between what they think their bosses want from them and what you, their team leaders and business owners, truly do want from them.

It’s an eye-opening experience for them, to say the least. But then I turn the tables and ask them what they want most from you – their boss. What I always find fascinating is that “more money” is rarely mentioned.

Here’s a partial list of what your best employees want from you:

• They want to learn from you, your past experiences and work.

• They want to keep learning and for you to give them access to workshops, webinars, etc.

• They want to know you’re running the business in a fiscally responsible way.

• They want to work someplace that is vibrant and has a fun/cool factor.

• They want the “this job isn’t M-F, 9-5” to work both ways.

But the No. 1 thing, time and time again, that I hear they want most: They want you to notice their work, their effort and express your appreciation for them going above and beyond. They work hard, and part of the reason they do it is because they want your trust and respect.

We all know, as business owners, that we get going so fast that sometimes we forget to say “thank you.” It’s not that we aren’t grateful; we are just running at breakneck speed. Because of that velocity, we also don’t notice as much as we should. I know my employees are doing great work every day, but usually I don’t have any idea of the specifics. I’m either on the road or doing my own work, and because I have a seasoned staff, they don’t need me to hover. But because I’m not hovering, I’m also not observing as much.

Interestingly, this month’s Inc. magazine talked about a report that measured what makes employees happy and unhappy. They focused more on the perks and benefits (free beverages, free massages, etc.), but one critical takeaway from the article is that employees also want to do something meaningful. Helping your clients grow their business, creating new jobs and serving their customers can be very rewarding. But getting a pat on the back from you would also go a long way.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or super-extravagant. It really is the thought that counts when it comes to saying thank you. They won’t scoff at a cash bonus or a night on the town, but what they really want is the thank you that comes with it.

Drew Mclellan is Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group | Blog: | Email: | © 2013 Drew McLellan