Seth Godin Gets It!
Not that you really needed me to tell you that. But in The $20,000 phone call Seth posted about one of my biggest pet peeves. The front line of a company that greets the public, but is so indifferent to their job, company, leader, etc. This is the person that when you engage them as the first impression of a company, they don’t go out of their way to take care of your needs, they treat you like you’re an inconvenience to them, or they engage you and let you know how bad their day is going.
It frustrates me for two reasons. First, how do you not understand that your job is being the public face of your company. Or maybe you do and you just don’t care. If it’s the latter, what are you DOING there?! Why would you waste another day making yourself miserable? Especially when there are people out there that would kill to have that job.
Move on and find something that makes you happy! Chances are that I’ve already made that person mad and they’re no longer reading this. So if you are still reading, you’re probably the leader…or some crazy stalker chick. Either way I’m flattered.
Second, what leader has that little grip on what’s actually happening with their customers? How is it possible to allow someone to affect your livelihood in such a negative way? Well, it’s called being busy. Unfortunately, too many times in leadership we get so busy with what we need to do that we completely miss out on what’s most important. Happy customer, continued business.
So what do you do if you’re the overworked, tired, stressed out, lazy leader? (Ok, lazy was more to see if you’re still awake.) You fire yourself! Or…try the following:
- Be Your Customer – I can’t ever seem to stress this enough. Many times in EntreLeadership I discuss the importance of actually walking through your company as though you’re the customer. Not just calling a meeting and asking what people experience, get out there and surprise your team and yourself. It’s the only true way for you to get an understanding of what’s going on. Have family members, friends, or business colleagues that you trust, and that have never visited your operation, come and be a customer. As you do this, you’ll find both the issues, as well as the opportunities. Yep, it’s not just for finding problems anymore!
- Train Your Leadership – You have to be working with your leaders on a regular basis to spot check your customer base. Constantly be getting updates as to what they’ve done to insure excellent customer service, as well as how they’re ensuring its success. Being as busy as you are, it’s a good chance that so is your leadership team. Therefore, what makes you think they’re on top of the front line? You have to inspect what you expect. And don’t just take their word for it, get out there with them and witness it. Too many leaders trust solely in their leadership team and forget that they are human.
- Survey Your Customers – If you ask them, they will tell you. (Said in the voice from Field of Dreams.) Split your customer base up into small segments of long time customers, mid range, and brand spankin’, and ask them to tell you how well they are being treated. I know, I know…this seems like a ton of extra work. But let me ask you a question, how much more work is it to replace the customers you keep losing due to your team running them off?
As you do these, you may be really surprised at the results. Worst case, you find that you have a lot of areas that you need to work on. If so, you’ll find you have a lot of customer growth opportunities. And that my friends, is never a bad thing.
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