It’s more and more common these days to see businesses claiming that their customers are at the heart of what they do.
In addition, over the last five years, there has been an enormous increase in the number of businesses asking their customers about their customer experience.
Surely, I suspect the companies would claim, this is tangible proof that they really care about their customers and their needs!
Do you agree with their view? Are they really driven by their customers’ needs?
I spent a large part of my career working in the charitable sector, where they really do care about the people, animals and other causes they support. The organisations are driven by the needs of the causes they are trying to support or eradicate.
If you are a charity that strives to support people who are in need, you will know very quickly whether the work you are doing, or the support you are providing, is meeting those peoples’ needs. If it isn’t, it won’t be used or accessed!
A question to ask yourself is whether you and your business are really driven by the needs of your customers. Are you really trying to improve the customer experience?
If you are running a customer feedback scheme, is it genuinely there to improve the customer experience or is it there primarily to improve your business’s performance?
At this point, some of you will be sitting there saying “surely this is the same thing!”. I think the intention is often for there to be an alignment between the customers and the business, but too often, when push comes to shove, the interest is really with the business’s needs.
One of the great joys of running my TAB business is that I get to be inspired by the various companies and organisations who are members of the TAB Boards I facilitate. I’m currently working with one company that provides services for other businesses and they have a truly inspirational approach to how they work with their customers.
For them the customer will genuinely always be right. They always focus on delivering the right product for the customer, even if this occasionally means they make a loss on the project!
Now the owner of the business isn’t financially naïve. He realises that he needs to make a profit to survive and thrive, but he has also proven over the last 15 years that the business thrives when they genuinely put the customer first.
Their belief is that, in the main, their customers are good people and if they are treated in the right way, they will respond in kind. In fact this has consistently been confirmed by the high proportion of their work that is from existing customers who return gain and again.
Would you trust that to happen with your customers and clients? If that wouldn’t be the case for you, is that because of the customers and clients you have, because of the way you treat your customers or clients, or a combination of the two?
So my challenge to you is to examine whether you are really driven by your customers’ needs because if you get this right, it will truly transform your business.
Jonathan O’Shea – TAB Bristol North