“If it weren’t for customers, I could get something done.” How many times have you heard that or something like it? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but why do so many companies say it. They may not say it in actual words but they do say it in their actions.
I am a customer experience professional (CXP) and belong to a professional organization that has a chat board where other CXPs ask questions and generally share information. On this chat board I see queries regularly where CXPs are asking about ways to get their CEO to buy-in to the importance of customer experience. How is it possible that a CEO doesn’t get the importance of customers? How do these businesses survive?
Think about it. The only reason any business exists is because of customers. Every business exists to help people do something, fix something, learn something, have something, etc. There is no other reason for a business other than to help people accomplish things, yet so many, most in fact, don’t really get it. Even when they sort of get it (“without customers we wouldn’t make money”) they don’t really get it. Let’s make this brutally clear, WITHOUT CUSTOMERS YOU HAVE NO REASON FOR EXISTING, period, not making money or anything else, EXISTING.
To make that live in your organization, you have to get everyone aligned to that reality, not just frontline, customer-facing employees, it means everybody from the C-suite to accounting to marketing to shipping to HR to IT to sales to frontline…everybody. Every employee needs to be aligned to the reality that making customers successful at whatever they come to you for is the only reason your organization exists.
From there, you need to make it clear to everyone that, regardless of role, their job is to help everyone else in the organization help your customers achieve that success in the best way possible. This means everybody helping everybody help customers. This is the absolute foundation of making and keeping your business well in every way from revenue to profitability to employee engagement to customer satisfaction and loyalty. When everyone is on the same page and understands that helping customers is why you exist and that helping each other help customers is the way to make that happen, you have a smooth running machine.
How can you make this happen in your business? Start with yourself by answering these questions: 1) what does your organization help people do, and 2) how do you help those around you to do that? Once you have clarity, go ask your department those questions and make the answers the theme around which your department operates. When things get bogged down in a meeting for example, make sure this theme stays central. Remind people “we are here to help our customers __________, how does this objective we’re discussing help customers do that and /or how does this help us help them?” If you can’t tie things back to the only reason you exist, maybe you need to rethink it. What you should see in this exercise is silos beginning to come down, more teamwork, more focus, a common bond, business wellness in action.