When your culture attaches too much importance to profit you wind up with team members who attach too little importance to customers.
When leaders talk about their business’s sole purpose being to make a profit, customers tend to be talked about as things or objects to manipulate. They’re no longer human beings, they’re just anonymous pawns there to help the business make money. Referring to customers in any way that dehumanizes them creates a culture that says, “We’re not here for customers; customers are here for us” which results in employees who no longer care about helping customers, they just see them as a way to make money. How would you like to be a customer of an organization like that?
So what’s the solution? First, make customers part of the conversation, every conversation. Don’t bury the voice of the customer down the agenda, make it first on the agenda. Second, talk about profit only as a byproduct of doing right things for customers. Something like this, “Being profitable is only possible if we create products our customers need and we make working with us easy and enjoyable.” Every employee needs to hear that regularly and often.
Customers are the only reason for businesses to exist. Without them, there’s no reason for the work. It doesn’t matter what you do, you’re only doing it for a customer. Isn’t it time they became number one in the agenda?
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