How To Tell If Your Company Is Customer Focused
Earlier today I was talking with two very good friends of mine, one a manager in a manufacturing facility and the other a supervisor for a regional utility company. As is usual each week, our discussion turned to work.
They described the challenges their companies had in properly serving the end user – the customer. Some of the things we discovered about their companies centered on the rationales of their organizations to focus on relatively important items, and not the ultimately important item – the customer.
The dysfunction of many companies – even larger, global, and successful ones – invariably finds it root in the vision of the company being taken off of the customers they serve, and onto the by products to delivering great service.
So from their discussion and other observations, here are some red flags that will inform you if your company is not customer focused as they should:
- Many, if not all, decisions are based on budget
- Many individual leadership decisions are based on their own bonus
- Metrics on productivity take on more meaning than the customer experience
- Larger customers take priority and often trump smaller customers
- Well running systems are the default answer to actual problems (“But our systems check out”)
- Actions are made in light of public perception
- Real customer needs are excused away or pushed aside for more expedient (to the company) matters
- The push for customer acquisition eclipses the need for proper service to existing customers
- Systems and processes don’t mesh together, creating inefficiencies and poor service
- Policies and regulations are thrown out in defense of actions (in order to minimize risk) that don’t meet customer needs
If any of these or other actions result in a failure to truly have customers as the core company focus, it’s time to react. Getting all departments, systems, and efforts tuned-in to the customer experience will correct many of these issues, and their results may even be better than the pursuit of those results on their own merits.
Any company can drift over time and end up in the above situations. It’s not a fatal trap, but can lead to fatality if not corrected before the customers figure it out. By having a laser focus on excellent customer service, you’ll create a cultural vortex that will bend all efforts vision towards the customer and lead to even better success.