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The Importance of a Customer-Focused Vision

Aug 18, 2007
Have you caught the fantasy-baseball bug yet? When asked to join a friend's fantasy league this year, I accepted, not knowing what was required. I knew I was in trouble when my friend told me he had spent over 20 hours dissecting his team, position-by-position, and searching other rosters for possible trading partners. I didn't even know my team's name, let alone how to access the league's Website! Here's the point.

My buddy is obsessed with fantasy baseball, and to do something extraordinarily well, it must be your obsession. Part of "hitting the Grand Slam" and putting the thrill back into customer service is articulating a customer-focused vision. In short, from top to bottom, the entire organization must be obsessed with delivering unparalleled customer service. Over the years, my experiences have taught me that it is simple to create a customer-focused culture, but it certainly isn't easy.

Here are some tips for living and breathing customer service.

*The CEO must be obsessed, whatever the plan. Assuming the top CEO knows what he or she is doing, they must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to their plan. The Atlanta Braves won 14 straight division titles in an unrivaled streak that finally ended just last year. Their General Manager, John Sherholtz, is about winning and only winning. This is how a great leader operates.

*Discuss the vision all the time. Companies spend an inordinately small amount of time talking about the company's reason to be. Within the company associates should always be asking "Where are we going and what's it going to look like when we get there?"

*Motivate your associates by giving them a snapshot of the big picture. Many companies share much more information with their associates, than in the past because associates today want to know how they fit into the big picture.

How are our efforts helping the company goals? For most of my career, I owned and operated wine stores in Chicago. When customers left our stores with their shopping carts I wanted an associate to go and retrieve the cart for no other reason than to say, "Thanks!" or "Have a nice day!" or something similar. When I explained this unusual step was driven by an obsession to service customers properly, and shared my enthusiasm, I received more cooperation from cashiers and stock people. In other words, when they understood how their efforts helped, they were motivated and enthusiastic.

It takes commitment, and an obsession with customers from everyone in the organization to be successful. It seems simple, but it certainly isn't easy to keep attention focused on customers. If a company gets it right, however, the customers and profits will be easy to attract and keep.
About the Author
Mr. Rosen served as President and Owner of Sam's Wines & Spirits, a family-owned business established in 1940. Mr. Rosen has founded Grand Slam Results, LLC, a speaking and training workshop firm. For more information, visit http://www.grslamresults.com
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