Does your company walk the customer service talk?  In a 2007 Satmetrix survey 80% or more of executives surveyed said they sponsored customer loyalty initiatives and think that loyalty is linked to financial success (they’re right).  But only 70% invest in loyalty programs and even fewer do anything with the feedback their customers provide.  Here are some signs that your company may not be as dedicated to customer success as they purport.

  • You Spend more on Coffee than Training – Come on, really?  You invest in your retirement don’t you?  Isn’t the performance of your company directly relevant to whether or not you even get to retire?  Odds are your financial advisor has urged you to diversify.  If your business invests in advertising and marketing, why won’t they spend on serving customers?
  • You Track Metrics important to Your CFO But Not Your Customers – I see a lot of companies still tracking metrics that don’t matter to customers.  For example, call centers often focus on “talk time”, the amount of time they spend on servicing the customer.  The smaller that number, the more productivity from each employee… theoretically at least.  Do your customers really want you to spend less time on their problems/requests?
  • Employee Recognition Programs are Merely Lip Service – Your sales team has a rewards program that puts them up in posh hotels on beaches.  Your customer service team gets a stack of free pizzas (plus the opportunity to work through lunch).  The message here is “it is more important to grow than be healthy” (no hidden commentary on the health merits of pizza).
  • Employees Need a Compass and GPS to find their Cube – Impersonal cubes are so prevalent now we’re past the point where we can obviate them easily. Veal get better treatment than some of our employees whose workspaces would be more aptly called “solitary confinement.”

The pivot point is that companies must (1) focus on what matters to customers and (2) invest in their employees.  The math is simple.  Short-changing the team that takes care of your customers impacts your bottom line.  Short-term results may look good as your company cuts corners.  But over time, customers and shareholders suffer when companies sacrifice their employees.

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