“I want to feel unwelcome and be treated like you don’t want me here. I also want you to be really rigid and inflexible in handling any special requests or needs I might have, and if you could, please don’t listen to me or take time to let me tell you exactly what I need. Finally, I don’t really need to know what to expect, how to work your product, or any of the options I might have.” Do you want to know who said this? No. Customer. Ever. Yet, so many companies treat customers as if they did. Why? Aren’t customers why companies exist? Isn’t helping customers to be successful what companies do?
I believe so much poor service is due to a critical misunderstanding of why businesses exist. I recently led a workshop where I asked people why their company existed. Several of the attendees said it was to make money. In fact, they went on to say that making money was only reason businesses existed at all. Now, I hate to burst your bubble if you’re one of those folks, but that is NOT why businesses exist. Money is only an outcome of why businesses exist, not the reason.
Businesses exist to – drumroll please – HELP PEOPLE; think hard about this and deeply embed it into your mind. Businesses exist to help people successfully do things, that is what all businesses do, all of them. If you need a screwdriver, you go to the hardware store where they help you get a screwdriver. If you need legal help, you call a lawyer to help you. If you need a widget for your factory, you call a widget company to help you. Every business exists to help, to serve. Every business is a service business, not a money-making business; money is a scorecard for how well you helped, period. Help really well and you make more money, your score is high, do it poorly and you don’t make money, your score is low, that’s it.
So, if you’re still with me and not calling me a heretic, my question is this, why is it that so many companies act as if the quote at the start of this post is their mission statement? Why is it that so many have lost track of the real mission of every business? Take a look around your workplace, does your company serve or does it do something else? Do you serve your customers even if those “customers” are fellow employees? If you want business success, service must permeate every fiber of the business. Think about it, imagine a professional sports team where the front office regularly talked about how bad the team was and rarely talked about winning, would that fly? What would that do to the performance of the actual team? No! Go to the front office of a pro sports team and everything around the office, the signage, the watercooler talk, everything is about winning. Winning is as much a part of the back office as it is the team on the field.
So, if winning is the goal of a sports team, what about the goal of business? If the goal is customer success, as it really should be, then shouldn’t everything be geared towards that? Shouldn’t everything be geared towards serving well just like winning is for a sports team?
Look around your place of business, is it geared to winning (customer success) or is it about something else? If you said something else, start making change. Start serving those who need your service so that they might serve those they serve and so on until your customers see it too. Do this and I guarantee the outcomes you want for your business. Be the opposite of the opening of this post, be welcoming, be accommodating, listen and share information that people need, these are winning behaviors that will infect your business and, ultimately, your customers.