Customer Mania...The Differentiator!
Updated: Jan 9, 2019
We continue to be a highly competitive global economy. Because of this broad reach, there is always the struggle to find the next big thing or a means to set our businesses apart from our competitors. In order to even play the game, you need to produce a quality product and deliver it timely. Whether it's a product or service, it doesn't matter! Our need for immediate gratification has evolved with the technology age and has resulted in increasing demand for a NOW response. Not only do customers want a quality product, but they want it now and available 24/7.
The question is...Are you delivering The WOW in your customer service? It's never too late to build a customer-focused company.
It sometimes becomes clich�, but taking care of your customers will improve your bottom line. We all know that without customers there is no business. Yet, we seem to focus internally while ignoring what our customers are asking for. When was the last time you asked your customers what they needed and how you were doing in meeting those needs? When was the last time you asked your employees how they feel about your company? Regardless of your business, if you don't have the right people, operating in the right culture, under the right leadership, you won't have customers treated the way they want to be treated, and your bottom line will suffer.
So what should you be doing to cultivate passionate and engaged team members that contribute to the company's overall success through ultimate customer service? Ken Blanchard, co-author of Customer Mania, The One Minute Manager, and Whale Done, provides some practical insights to creating Customer Mania in your organization.
Set Your Sights on the Right Target. The bottom line grows from taking care of customers and creating a motivating environment for your people.
Treat Customers the Right Way. Determine the kind of experience you want your customers to have as they interact with every part of the company.
Treat Employees the Right Way. Use strategies ranging from smart hiring to training and development to managing performance and creating a recognition culture.
Build the Right Kind of Leadership. You can't do it all yourself, so let your people put their own brains to work and then support them all the way.
When setting your sights on the right target, you need to make sure that your vision and direction are clear. Your employees need to understand your purpose (what business you're in), what does the business look like into the future, and how do you expect your employees to behave when they are working on the purpose and future of the business. Remember, if you keep your employees well-informed and let them use their brains, you'll be amazed on how they can help the success of your organization.
Similar to setting the vision for your employees, you need to set the vision for what treating your customers the right way looks like. If you want to create raving fans, you don't just announce it. You have to plan for it....visualize it. What kind of experience do you want your customers to have as they interact with every aspect of your organization?
So who delivers the right customer service, but your employees? Great leadership today is about treating people the right way by providing the support and encouragement they need to be their best. When you treat your people like winners, they treat your customers as if they're the most important people in the world. Get your human resource functions aligned around human development when it comes to recruiting and hiring, training and development, performance management, and career development. "People who feel good about themselves produce good results." (Blanchard) and "People who produce good results feel good about themselves." (Blanchard)
Lastly, you can't do it all yourself. You need great leaders to help you implement your vision. Finding true leaders that are both humble and yet have the will and determination to achieve the vision/mission/goals through the people they are responsible for, will assist you in achieving the success you envision. So how do you distinguish the "right" leaders? Part of your recruiting and hiring process requires you to find those people that are "called," not "driven." Called people are looking for feedback to better themselves and those around them. Driven leaders are self-serving. They spend most of their time protecting what they own and they hate feedback. Feedback is a failure. Make sure you're hiring and retaining those that are here to serve for the benefit of the whole, not the individual.
So do you want to develop Customer Mania in your organization? It's all about the vision, the people, and the leadership. Customers feel what you've created. If you've created an engaged and energized team, your customers will want to be a part of it.
Blanchard, Kenneth H., Jim Ballard, and Frederic E. Finch. Customer mania!: it's never too late to build a customer-focused company. New York: Free Press, 2004. Print.
Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, CEPA is a strategic management consultant, and the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC, in Green Bay