What do your employees think of your customers ?
- Do they view them as obstacles that are in the way of their real job?
- Do they view them as irritating necessities in getting their jobs done?
- Do they take them for granted and see them as always being there?
- Do they say, only half kidding, “if it weren’t for the customers, this would be a great job?”
If the answer is yes to any of the above, then Houston we have a problem.
First of all, most people, employees and managers, forget what their real job is. Either to support the customer or support the people who are dealing with the customer. We all get wrapped up in either the details of our job or the self-importance of our jobs, rather than see the real purpose of all the details. This all happens too much in call center type jobs where calls come in one after another with no time to breathe.
Once you step back and really look at your job, you should be able to see that your real purpose is to serve the customer. It is increasingly easy to view the job as a multitude of tasks and not the more general goal of the customer.
We are barraged constantly by memos, phone calls, emails, and other problems to fix. It is no wonder that the customer is sometimes forgotten. Most likely you will get lecturedout if some of the tasks aren’t taken care of in a timely and proper manner, so who can blame the person for “taking care of business”?
But, in fairness, with all the activities that face the typical working person, it is very easy to think of customers as an interruption in completing the many tasks of the job. This may happen in retail stores. Do you feel that way in a store like Macys, Target or Apple. Where is someone when you need them.
It is vital for management to make it clear to everyone that the customer is the bottom line and the reason why everyone does what she or he does. Webvan had this done good. Companies like Apple and eBay do the same.
Suggestions for ensuring your company is customer focused:
- Training is important and ongoing. Make sure your staff knows this.
- Promotions and incentives are based on customer service and performance. Forget the buddy system.
- Recognition is given to staff members who display excellent customer service qualities. Something more than a balloon on their desk or a generic commendation paper.
- Management and staff focus their efforts and support on the people who are dealing directly with customers.
In other words teamwork.