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It's Not About You, It's About the Customer

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 18, 2009

A few weeks ago I conducted a follow-up sales seminar with a client. I was attempting to reinforce the behaviors I had earlier emphasized that would cause what I call "momentos muy simpaticos" with customers at each point of contact. One of the sales team members was questioning me as to why I was so emphatic about one certain behavior.

In the course of the conversation, the sales team member said, "I don’t expect that kind of behavior from people, so why should our customers expect it from us?" He made a great point and didn’t even realize it.

"It’s not about you, it’s about the customer," I said. Then it hit me! In many organizations there are wonderful mission and vision statements, customer rights plaques, and standards of service documents. We have created ways to measure customer satisfaction and customer enthusiasm. But have we communicated to our team members why we created all that information?

Here are some questions to ponder—and a challenge:

1. If you have a vision statement, have you invested time explaining to your team members how to live the vision and helped them understand how their day-to-day activities always affect the customer experience?

2. Have you explained that the metrics you have developed and use in performance reviews aren’t only about employees, but are also about the impact of their performance on customer satisfaction and retention?

3. Are all of your team members perfectly clear about the results you want to achieve with your customers and how their behaviors affect those results? In other words, have you tied results directly to employee behavior?

Before you say, "Charlie, you’re crazy. Employees ought to know all that," ask them about it. You might be surprised to find that they haven’t fully considered how their day-to-day behaviors affect the customer and your organization’s ability to achieve its most important goals and objectives.

Charlie Fewell
Charlie Fewell & Associates
Memphis, Tenn.

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