Excuse Me for Interrupting!  I’m “Just” A Customer

Every day it is about serving the customer.  It is about getting the product or the service –  the reason we have created our organizations –  to connect with our markets and to get those markets to connect with us.  To walk in our doors, to call us, to visit our websites and to “buy” from us in one form or another, whether we are for profit, not-for-profit, or a government entity.  Whatever our organization, we are all about the customer.  (Something Congress and the rest of the government should definitely keep in mind! – Okay back to the main topic…)

All too often organizations of all types and sizes seem to lose track and perspective on THE CUSTOMER.  The customer is not an interruption in the business activity.  The customer is the reason for the business activity.  When the phone rings, the door opens, the lines form, it is the customer who is the priority first and foremost.  Day in, day out.  In the morning and in the evening.  During breaks and during lunch hours.  The customer is the priority.  The customer is revenue walking in the door or out the door.  Getting a potential customer to choose your organization out of the vast array of options is often like standing in the school yard waiting to be picked for teams, jumping up and down saying “pick me, pick me!”  Ignoring the customer who walks in your door is like looking at the person who chooses you and saying, “Oh, I didn’t want to be on your team.”

Welcomed Guest, Returning Friend, or Freeloading Visitor From…

When a potential or existing customer “arrives” at your organization, are they greeted with open arms, glad smiles, warm apple pie and a welcome mat, or are they shown the door and hurried on their way before they’ve even crossed the threshold?  Are they the reason you are in business or do you give them the business?  How do you treat your customers in terms of service from wait time, attitude, responsiveness, courtesy,  to all the tangible and intangibles of interaction?

How do your customers think you treat them?  When you have lots to do and conflicting priorities – customers upfront and things to do behind the scenes – which things get the most emphasis?  If something has to go undone, where do you choose to let it show?  Where the customer can see, or where the customer doesn’t notice?

And Now for Your Viewing and Listening Displeasure…

The image your organization presents may be only skin deep at times, but appearances are important.  Customers don’t want to see, hear, or experience your “challenges” with other customers, your employees, vendors, or other aspects of operations.  They don’t come to experience your stress, they usually have enough of their own.  ,If there are issues, do an Oz – keep them behind the curtain.  If not, your customers will think there is no place like home or someone else’s place of business to do their business.

Would You Like Cheese with Your Whine?

Bad day?  Smile anyway.  Laugh.  Ask about your customer’s day.  Make it a point to be having a good day, no matter how bad the day may really be.  The roof collapsed, the accountant stole your money, your dog died, you ran out of gas, got five flat tires after you walked five miles up hill both ways to get gas in 100 degree weather in raging blizzard!  Smile.  Your customer doesn’t need to know. (Oh, and one more thing – if this is the third time you’ve opened late and had customers waiting outside your door for you to open and you’ve used the out of gas…walked five miles…had five flat tires…excuse…they REALLY don’t want to hear it!)

Customers! Thank God for Customers!

A customer!  A customer!  Oh yes!  We have customers!  Roll out the red carpet! How can we help you today!  We are here to serve.  What can we show you?  Do you have any questions?  How many?  What is your budget?  Would you prefer to look on your own or would you like assistance?  You are the customer and we are SO glad you are here!

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