One expert might advise that you focus your business on sales in 2014. Another might suggest you focus on productivity. Those may be good suggestions, but your focus should always – repeat, always – be on your customers. You may be able to increase sales or production capabilities, but if you lose your customer base – your market share – what will you have?
Placing a consistent emphasis on your clients can be difficult, especially if you have to deal with an employee issue or inventory problems. It is far too easy to become distracted by the inner workings of your business and lose sight of what’s most important – customers! Good management maintains the company’s priority on the consumer.
What’s best for your customers? Is it keeping the sidewalk clean and safe? Maintaining a pleasant, inviting interior in the store? Making sure your website is current and easy to navigate? Offering rewards to loyal patrons? Ensuring your pricing is reasonable and fair? Providing a step beyond exceptional customer service?
You may disagree, but weigh whether a misplaced order for stock inventory is more important than making sure a customer’s problems are resolved to his/her satisfaction. Solve the problem with inventory when the customers are taken care of, or find an employee with the ability to solve it and give them the authority to resolve it.
Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes for these examples:
The line is backed up in a convenience store. One register is open for several consumers while four employees are behind the counter, joking about who’s going to the bank. How likely would you be to return to that convenience store if you didn’t have to go there?
You’re parked at the drive-through window of a fast food restaurant. Your order has been paid for and is sitting on the service table, ready to be handed to you. Unfortunately for you, the drive-through attendant is talking on their cell phone to their best friend. Feel like pulling over and having a chat with the manager? That’s likely to only add to your frustration because the manager is allowing that behavior to happen in the first place.
What do those examples tell us about the company and how well it markets its brand? It is an all-too-often occurrence in the fast food industry, and irritating to think those employees would do better work if they were paid more. Company managers need to spend more time in the trenches, like Undercover Boss, and learn what’s happening on the front lines. Or you can consider engaging Brand Irons as a secret shopper to do the investigating and report back on the findings … provided you’re ready for the truth.
Brand Irons has some rather simple solutions to remaining focused on your customers, and it starts at the top of any organization:
1) Take the time to think through what your customer service orientation is and should be;
2) Take the time to train your employees on what the expectations are for customer service … all the time, and hold your employees accountable; and,
3) Take the time – whatever it takes – to take care of your customers the way they want to be taken care of … remember and never lose sight of that objective.
Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand!