By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor
Who’s the boss? Your true boss is your customer.
A customer-driven organization is constantly improving because the ownership and management is trained to hear the customer’s voice. The two questions consistently asked of customers are; “how are we doing, and how can we do better.”
This spirit of continuous listening to customers occurs with all managers and employees who have customer contact. Each person is trained to listen and hear the voice of the customer.
We may think we hear the customers through their verbalization of complaints. But the fact is most customers just don’t complain when they have an issue. The reasons are simple:
- Customers think complaining won’t do any good.
- Complaining is difficult. It takes time and has to be done with planning and thought.
- Customers feel awkward or pushy. Many customers are introverted and are not comfortable complaining.
- It’s just easier for some customers to switch their purchasing to a different supplier rather than to complain.
Recognizing that customers may not complain and just go away should lead the organization to implement a formal and informal customer communications and listening program.
In an existing company, transition to a customer driven organization is a process by which people unplug from the old ways of doing things and plug into a new world of customer communications and listening skills.
If an entrepreneur is starting a business, it means setting up both formal and informal customer communications and listening programs from the outset of the enterprise.
In either case the organization needs to “walk in the customers’ shoes”.
The many ways to romance the customer include:
- Create customer focus groups who are interviewed about your services and the competitors.
- Physically making periodic visits to new and old customers where possible, or at the very least visit customers through e mail communications.
- Mean what you say to customers. Don’t mislead customers by promising more than you can deliver.
- Teach every employee to visualize the customers’ experiences so that they see your products and services through the eyes of your customers.
Owners and leaders who spend quality time creating this customer environment will lose fewer customers and do more business with existing customers. The result will be greater sales and profit growth.
SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, can help you develop a customer driven organization. SCORE has more than 70 certified mentors skilled in most business applications, who will meet with you, at no cost, as often as you feel it is beneficial. Call 602 745-7250 or click here to make your appointment with a SCORE mentor today.
About the Author:
George Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.