Archive for September, 2014

Big John, the CEO, Owns the Customer Culture in the Organization

I just read yet another story about a CEO who was aghast when he found out that a customer had been treated badly in one of his stores. He simply could not believe this incident actually happened in one of his stores. Everybody knows that ‘customer service’ is the most important thing in their company and their world.

Yawn! Time to get past all of this nonsense.

These stories are old, tired and still plentiful. By now, everyone realizes that these stories are not one of a kinds; we don’t say “Oh my goodness, I bet the CEO was mortified” or “I bet heads are going to roll over this one”.

We all realize that the CEO involved didn’t become so upset that he made some grandiose gesture to the customer involved; everyone realizes that this is the norm now and we’re wondering why these stories even get to print. Sad but true.

OK, so let’s get one thing straight before going any further because this distinction must be made:

Customer Service is a phrase that should be reserved for the sign over the desk or counter, housing the individual that actually does some type of thing that services a customer – like process a refund; correct a mistake; update an email address; listen to a complaint; take an account payment. All of those things, and many more might be considered customer service…I guess.

We used to make a big deal out of teaching everyone that Customer Service is not a department – it was something much, much bigger than that.

But that clearly didn’t work. We’ve been beating a dead horse. So, let’s just admit defeat – Customer Service is, in fact, a department and, often, a poorly functioning one at that.

“Customer Service” just doesn’t describe what we need anymore. Maybe we should try calling it Customer Culture for a few years and see if that gets us anywhere.

Trying to figure out who, or what, Customers are …and what they represent to a company seems to be much tougher than it looks.

Let’s face it, Big John, we have issues that aren’t going away any time soon.

DMSRetail has always maintained that a strong customer culture must exist within the company if customers are going to be treated the way they should be and, indeed, the way Big John thinks they’re being treated; the way he expects they should be treated.

Trying to operate a business where the customer is, in fact, the most important person to the organization, without a strong customer culture, is like trying to playing whack a mole without a whacker. Or, as they say, whistling in the wind.

At it’s very best, it’s hit and miss. There can be no consistency.

When working in an organization with a strong customer culture, your people will almost always do it right. We qualify that statement with ‘almost’ because…as you know, there are Dumbo’s out there and, hard as you may try to eliminate them, you may just have one hiding somewhere in your organization ready to spring into action and create havoc when you least expect it.

But, with a solid customer culture, this should be a very rare occurrence, indeed.

So, here’s the call to action. Fix it Big John, or Mr./Ms. CEO; stop feigning surprise by letting your jaw drop when you see/hear something you just can’t believe happened in your organization.

Believe it. It happened.

And it’s most definitely going to happen again!

Your job is to fix it. And don’t think you can just have a couple of meetings and straighten some people out, or delegate it and wash your hands of it.

You can’t, Big John…it’s way too important. You have to own this. It is a big job to instill a strong, well defined customer culture and keep it alive and running full speed.

The fantastic news is…..once you get it right and, of course, have all of the checks and balances in place to maintain it….you’ll be much more successful than you are now.

There are many ways to approach this. We can help and/or we can do it for you. Call us at +1(312)239-0919 or email rcarter@dmsretail.com and let’s get the conversation started.

At the very least, Big John…buy our Ultimate Retail Success Collection because you have to get started somewhere to have a fighting chance!


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