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It is always about the customer

May 4, 2017

Last week United Airlines placed a full-page ad in many newspapers with a bullet point: “We will develop new tools and training for employees to solve issues for our customers in the moment.” An admirable statement and while it is late for them, hopefully it will be followed through on.

It is always about the customer. Businesses make their money from customers. Sales revenues provide our salaries and hopefully the long term financial security that needs to kick in after our working days are over. Everything a business does should be focused on providing great customer experiences – great service, great products and services, great delivery, great and clear pricing, a user-friendly company to deal with, and quick apologies when necessary (that are hopefully few and far between). This could be defined as a customer centric culture.

The responsibility for the implementation, dissemination and breeding of this culture rests with those at the very top of the company. It involves leading by example, the right type of and frequency of training, and procedures that make it easy for customers to place orders, make returns and present complaints. It involves conferring employees with empowerment and responsibility to make decisions and offer solutions to customers at their discretion if a problem arises. It involves team members continuously thinking how they can help customers. It involves solving problems while satisfying the customer. It needs team members to really feel they are team members.

A measure of positive customer experiences is evident with the frequency of orders and payment, additional services or products purchased, requests for assistance when expansion is contemplated, or referrals that result in new customers and in today’s world of social media a dearth of negative comments.

I have always been focused on customer service and because of this I look at experiences I have as a customer that are either better than average or simply bad. I notice the exceptions, and think about how they occurred and each time it brings me to the leadership management provides. A simple lesson for us (me and my readers) is to not let our organizations become prone to poor experiences and to be champions of great customer experiences.

This column refers to businesses but can also be applicable for not-for-profits that deal directly with the public.

Whatever business you are in and products or services you provide it is should always be about the customer.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 6hawthorne permalink
    May 4, 2017 10:13 am

    Hi Ed remember the customer is always right Bob

  2. Donna permalink
    May 4, 2017 4:20 pm

    In a non-profit that has “customers,” we have a few different philosophies when we approach customer service. Treat the customer as you would like to be treated. Create positive experiences… the best is when you can turn a negative into a positive and the customer leaves happy. Bad experiences are shared more than good ones. And lastly, when we hire for these ‘front end’ positions — we always look for happy, friendly people because the rest of the skills needed can all be taught!

  3. Ed Mendlowitz permalink
    May 5, 2017 11:54 am

    Good advice Donna. It applies to every organization – NFP and businesses – and also governmental units too. Thanks for your comment.

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