The power is shifting from the people who sell to the people who buy. I have been saying that for almost all of my 21 years in business. Little by little I’ve been watching it come true. Technology has given customers the tools they need to tell us how they really feel – and they sure are telling us. It started small with “opinions” websites and rating services. Now the “Occupy” protest (customer dissatisfaction on steroids) is growing around the world as consumers vow to vote with their feet for the companies that they feel have their best interest at heart and somehow take down those who don’t.
While there are larger issues looming at “Occupy” this is the view through the lens of someone who looks for how things impact customers, and I’m seeing customer revolt. The theme from the movie “Network” keeps resonating in my head. “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
I’m watching with interest.
How can it/should it impact those who are growing companies, taking care of customers? While I have not yet constructed an article or manifesto on what it all means, here are some of my thoughts:
VALUES count. Values are “currency” in the workplace. What are values? Codes, Guides, Backbone, Structure, Standards, Passion, Fuel, Energy, Ways of Being, Essence, Foundation. Something you are willing to stand for. It begs the question – What do you stand for? Do you know? Does everyone who works for you know? What do you do daily to reinforce, demonstrate and teach your values?
The work we do in Customer Care is about Transformation. It’s about transforming satisfied customers into loyal advocates, unhappy customers into happy customers, problems into solutions, and “surviving” organizations into “thriving” ones. What’s your role? Where is your magic? What needs to change where you are?
One of the greatest human fears is that of abandonment. Abandonment is the opposite of Loyalty. Is there anyone we are abandoning? Customers? Employees? Suppliers? Community? Environment? Where do our loyalties lie? How can we build more loyalty with our stakeholders? How do we build trust?
Identify positive deviance and amplify it! Somewhere in your organization there is someone, somewhere doing something different and getting positive results. Find out what it is and do more of it!
Not inside your organization? Look outside – go to conferences – search the web – find best practices and see how they might translate at your place. Who’s doing great stuff and how can you “steal” an idea that will work for you? There’s still time to join us next week at the NACCM Conference! I’m speaking on Monday morning.
We must find ways to measure our progress. Without measurement you can’t see improvement and without improvement you are a cost to the organization. Let’s get better at measuring what matters. What do you need to do to transform customer care from a cost center into a profit center?
What you make of your life is up to you. Stop arguing for your limitations (that usually sounds like “Yeah…but..”) In my first book I call them “Yabuts.” Listen for Yabuts in your language and see what you are arguing for. Is it what you want? Get clear on what you are trying to create. Leave the Yabuts behind. What’s holding you back?
Get outside your comfort zone. Very little growth happens in your comfort zone. We have to make ourselves uncomfortable in order to grow. How are you moving outside YOUR comfort zone every week? Are you willing to take a risk? Where can you stretch a little? Do something that scares you.
Your customers are calling out for attention – in one way or another.
Your customers are calling out for appreciation – in one way or another. We all want to know the companies we spend our hard earned money with appreciate the fact we took our business to them.
Business goes where it’s invited but stays where it’s appreciated. How do I love thee, let me count the ways…