Written by Jonathan Eisler, Director of Perspectives Organizational Consulting Group
“Why do businesses exist?”
When asked this question, typically the response received is “to make money!” While this is the desired ‘result’ of doing business, ‘making money’ should not be the sole focus that guides business decisions as it overlooks the elements required to bring money in.
Unfortunately, too often organizations and their people make decisions based strictly on the short-term focus of how it will impact their bottom line. When this type of culture is prominent, it can be said that the company has an Operations mentality and it is all too obvious to the employees and customers.
At Perspectives, we believe that the function and drive of every business should be “the acquisition and maintenance of customers.” When this type of culture is adhered to, then the ‘result’ of making money is much more realistic, as now an externally focused Marketing Culture influences the decisions and actions that are made from the top down.
From the customer’s perspective, this is the difference between your organization worrying about your own policies and procedures (operating as an internally focused machine) and focusing on their needs as customers (operating as externally focused humans). Take a look at a couple examples below.
1. Operations Culture: What are your people doing? (internal focus)
a. i.e. “How many customers did you see today?”
2. Marketing Culture: What are the outcomes of your people’s actions? (external focus)
a. i.e. “How were your interactions with customers today?”
1. Operations Mentality: If my goal is strictly to make $, then my job is to minimize loss and increase revenue so all actions/decisions I make will be determined by whether or not I think my decision will make money. Notice that the “how I am going to accomplish this?” is missing in this type of reasoning.
a. i.e. “I am sorry but it is in our company policy (a HUGE warning sign about their focus being internal) that we cannot accept checks!” “Why?” “Because 2-5% of checks we received have been bad.” (Focused on revenue…inherent flaw alert: what about the 95-98% that were good checks and the revenue obtained?) Again, the rep’s focus is internal. If the company wishes to get money from a potential customer, shouldn’t they be focused on the customer’s needs, rather than their own?
2. Marketing Mentality: Since my focus is to acquire and maintain customers, my job is to provide excellent customer service and when done effectively my company’s goal of making money becomes reality!
a. i.e. “Typically we do not accept checks, but if that is more convenient for you, we would be happy to accommodate!”= focused on the customer (note: While we encourage never saying “no” to a customer, it is imperative to ensure transparency regarding any additional costs that may be needed to meet their demand)
3. Let’s put it another way: “I know you said you really wanted a Barbie for your 6th birthday, but I was at Men’s Wearhouse so I got you a tie!” (is service about you or them?)
How an organization treats their employees is how the employees will treat their customers. Therefore, if you want your people to effectively focus on your current and prospective customers, then your people need to feel/see/believe that you are truly focused on them and their success.
In summary, if your people feel that the function of your business and the reasoning behind your decisions is to build and maintain relationships (internally and externally), then your customers will be wowed with the attention your people give them. When this occurs, the ‘service-focused’ reputation of your organization will grow exponentially! The people-focused organization is the one that meets and exceeds their goals because the marketing mentality permeates all interactions…and people WILL notice!