On paper achieving customer satisfaction is easy. Work out what has to be done, optimise it for cost and do it. Day-in-day-out.
That message hasn’t changed, but some people think it doesn’t apply to them. News flash, it applies to everyone. Whether you are working on a project, have a senior role or have been around for years. Seen it, done it, got the tee-shirt? It doesn’t matter, you need to step back from your experience and think about the customer from their perspective.
However, some people seem to feel that their jobs would be a lot better without the customer.
Take three organisations
In organisation one, personal goals are driven by financial objectives. Eyes are always on the nearest milestone or personal performance appraisal. When a customer-facing employee mentions a potential for dissatisfaction, they are shot down. Unless someone can proove, inconclusively, that the bottom line will benefit no-one supports activities that focus solely on the customer. Products and services are exactly as the business wants them. Customers stay away.
Take organisation two, sales are in charge. They don’t understand the rest of the business, indeed they believe there is nothing to understand. They push agendas that will increase sales. But never listen to the internal costs. Customers see what they want at a superficial level, but find poor quality and don’t return.
In organisation three, customer satisfaction has equal pegging with other measures. Indeed it is considered to be one of the best long-term measures. Ideas to improve satisfaction are considered in the round. Sure a business case is good, but with enough evidence and robust logic money can be found. There is a budget for customer retention and that doesn’t mean buying off customers who complain.
The third organisation sounds too good to be true and, honestly, it probably is. However, of the three organisations, it is the one I would prefer to work in. Therefore, it is the one I will continue to pursue.