I’ve just read a very interesting report by the Institute of Customer Service that claims CEO’s just haven’t the foggiest when it comes to what customers want. Worse still, it also seems that some of them wouldn’t know how to deliver good customer service if you told them how either!
The survey entitled ‘Leading by Example’ did dig up that there were ‘many leaders’ with a customer-centric approach to business, but equally as many who appeared, according to their staff, to have no understanding or interest in their customer needs. Here at FIT that’s certainly been our experience on occasions – frontline teams are passionate about the service they deliver to their customers but it’s seldom acknowledged at board level as a real business driver.
It’s a damning statistic indeed that 51% of those interviewed believed that Boardrooms ‘put profits before the delivery of a great customer experience’, especially when we all know that it is customer experience that can make or break our relationships with customers.
As ever, there are things to be done to remedy the situation and, as FIT will attest, language is one of the first things to be looked at closely:
- Create a Boardroom language around customer service to reflect business performance, risk and reputational issues.
- Develop reporting metrics based on customer service, so the organisation can be forward-looking rather than simply reporting on financial results
- Improve collaborative and listening skills, so CEO’s are better informed about what customer-facing staff learn and deal with on a daily basis
As part of the research 30 business leaders were also interviewed and 43% agreed that more customer service training should be provided for staff whilst 53% stated that their CEO should be better at employing people with the right attitude to their business.
Now, I know this article is inflammatory, purposefully so – it’s intended to get you thinking, especially if you are a CEO, about what you are really placing value on in your business and just how committed you really are to your customers.
FIT Tip: The most important adage and the only adage is, the customer comes first, whatever the business, the customer comes first!