I am not my customer

12. June 2018 15:35

During the CMA’s 20th Anniversary Conference this past March, the opening keynote speaker, Paul Downs, made an interesting point about website content. He said, your website should be about what you sell—your product(s)—not you. Do you currently boast about the longevity of your business on the home page of your website? Or perhaps about how you are a family-owned business? Often when making marketing and business decisions we gravitate towards what we personally like. The harsh reality is, Paul said, was that nobody really cares about those things.  What they care about is what you are selling and how they can get it. It’s truly that simple.

Often we say that we put the customer first, but often that phrase is simply a façade until it is an issue (i.e., has a financial impact). Adopting a true customer-first attitude should ultimately be no matter what the cost. After all, customer service is, at its core, about serving the customer. The customer, not yourself. The statement “I am not my customer” needs to be your new mantra.

To do this, you need to venture outside your comfort zone and make the entire process of working with you convenient for the customer. Admittedly, this is not easy task.  You need to evaluate your inefficiencies and make them efficient for the customer.  In the end, all customers want to get through the process as easily as possible.

Keeping tight partnerships with your key customers is crucial to do this. Before you reach this level though, you should know your customers and understand their needs. This is the measure of how relevant your business is to your client. Investing time in building relationships not only brings you closer to your clients and enables you to better understand their needs, but it also may pay off in additional growth. The best outcome is to have your client partners recommend you to other clients.

On a related note, a very important customer we often overlook is internal customers: your employees. In the Marines, they teach “servant leadership”, which essentially means that as a leader your job is ensure that your subordinates have what they need—the necessary tools—to be the best at their job. In your shop, these “tools” are not necessarily machines or even hand tools. It may be training or flex time… it’s whatever they need to be the best to perform their job.

To learn more about this topic, register to attend “The Power of Leadership” presented by Guy Bucey during IWF 2018.



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