I’ll bet if I asked you if your organization has some level of being customer focused as a part of your business plan, you’d say “Of course”.
And you wouldn’t be alone.
Most, if not every company espouses the importance of providing their customers with awe-inspiring service; it’s generally a fundamental element of their overall strategy.
The issue for me is that even though ‘being customer focused’ is proclaimed as a leadership priority, when you look closely at the actions taken by employees to serve customers, there’s a big gap between the aspiration and reality.
The claim is simply that, an empty aspiration with no substance to support it.
So, let’s have some fun with this.
Here are 10 questions which, based on my 4+ decades of leadership experience involving customer service, point to the ones who are actually serious about delighting customers as opposed to those who like to talk about it but not do the hard work to deliver it.
If you answer ‘YES’ to 6 or more of the questions then you are serious about creating memories for the people you serve; if you answer ‘YES’ to less than half of the questions your words are outpacing your actions and you’re fooling yourself that you care about your customers.
Ok, so let’s begin. And be honest because you’re only hurting yourself if you falsify your responses.
- Do you have a formal customer service strategy in your organization?
- Does the compensation plan for executive leaders include a customer service component that accounts for at least 25% of their annual bonus?
- Do you formally measure how customers feel about the service experience they’ve had with you?
- Do you have a recognition and reward system that regularly honours ‘service heros’, employees who have gone above and beyond to serve a customer in an exemplary way?
- Do you measure how well internal customers are served by their internal suppliers recognizing that if internal customers are not served well, it is unlikely that real customers won’t be served well either?
- Do you have a specific program to eliminate the dumb rules in your organization that are constantly annoying your customers?
- Are your salespeople measured on how effective they are at discovering the secrets of their customers?
- Does marketing have a ’ME’ philosophy (429) to create personalized value packages for your customers as opposed to a product flogging mentality?
- Is your customer service call center managed to enhance the customer experience as its primary responsibility with cost management taking a lesser role?
- Does your organization have a specific recovery strategy when a service mistake has been made and a customer is screwed over?
There you have it. Being customer focussed is more than a helium-filled slogan. It requires synchronization of every last of the organization to work in harmony to achieve that goal.
How well did you do? Good or bad, I hope you stay on the path of doing a better job of taking care of the people who give you their hard earned money every day.