I was at a service counter, and the clerk was bad-mouthing the customers. “I don’t know what their problem is,” he declared. “Every one of them has a problem today.” He then pointed to others standing in line, not yet having been served. He added that “every one of them has a problem.” No, he has the problem and is projecting it on the paying customers. Each clerk at that company makes their personal behaviors the norms at their desks, and this is one of the largest organizations in America.
As customers, we smile and give positive strokes to those serving us. When you say to a clerk what a beautiful day it is, the lazy ones will reply, “Yes, I can hardly wait to get out of here and enjoy it.” The better response would be: “It is a glorious day because customers like you choose to visit us.”
Customer service must be constantly addressed and improved. Above that, Customer Focused Management needs to be implemented, meaning that all actions and decisions should be tied to customer outcomes. Above that, corporate cultures need to be fine-tuned, in order to avoid situations where customers are put on the defensive or made angry.
Corporate cultures are rarely nurtured. They evolve, meander and veer off course. Biggest cause of the problem is where individuals bring certain demeanors and behaviors to the company, and these traits often erode the positive and pro-active actions.
Warning signs for sluggish corporate cultures:
- Where people take on negative attitudes.
- Where employees spend too much time on what is best for them, instead of the customers.
- Where mid-managers buy the hype of the marketing slogans but stonewall the progress that would enable the company to live up to its claims.
A company’s way is built, nurtured, recognized and implemented. In steering company cultures back on course, I recommend several steps in the process:
- Discourage street talk, slang and trite phrases out of the mouths of your staff when interfacing with customers.
- Write your company’s own service lines. Do not harass customers with tired questions like “are you finding everything.” Instead thank them more often and early in the transactions.
- Declare personal cell phones, on-line shopping and the like to be off-limits in locations where customers are. They cannot see distracted employees, nor should your company tolerate it.
- Hold training about personal demeanor.
- Show individuals how they embody the whole of the organization.
- Cut the weeds who will bring down the standards of the company and cast doubts on your team.
- Celebrate great customer outcomes.
- Honor the employees, who in turn honor the organization.
- Since 92% of all problems in companies stem from poor management decisions, do a better job of training managers to be leaders.
- Always recognize the Big Picture aspect to all business decisions. Each one influences the other and the whole of the enterprise.
- Always remember and trust that the customer is king.
Everything we are in business stems from what we’ve been taught or not taught to date. A career is all about devoting resources to amplifying talents and abilities, with relevancy toward a viable end result.
Business evolution is an amalgamation of thoughts, technologies, approaches and commitment of the people, asking such insightful questions as:
- What would you like for you and your organization to become?
- How important is it to build an organization well, rather than constantly spend time in managing conflict?
- Who are the customers?
- Do successful corporations operate without a strategy-vision?
- Do you and your organization presently have a strategy-vision?
- Are businesses really looking for creative ideas? Why?
- If no change occurs, is the research and self-reflection worth anything?
Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function. The same analogies apply to personal lives, careers and Body of Work. Greater business awareness and heightened self-awareness are compatible and part of a holistic journey of growth.
About the Author
Power Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.
Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.