Tunnel Vision

It doesn’t matter what your job title is; if you want to continue to get paid, it helps to remember that your real job is to take care of your customer. This should be true in companies  large and small, public and private, non profit, government agencies and medical facilities. At the root of every business is a transaction. Employees have a responsibility to insure the customer is satisfied with the results of the transaction.

Sounds simple and logical, right? I am amazed how often I run into situations where this just doesn’t seem to be true. Somewhere along the line, they forgot what they were in business to do. Suddenly their job becomes more important than the customer.

This is less of a problem in small companies. In those environments, you rarely hear someone say, “that’s not my job.” When the phone rings, whoever’s closest answers it.  When a customer has a question or a request, all the energy of the firm turns toward their needs.

But something happens to companies as they grow. Silos begin to form. You hire someone who’s an expert at sales and someone else takes over the role of customer service. In healthy organizations, these individuals and their departments continue to talk to each other exchanging ideas and information. But in more cases than you would imagine, silos begin to form. Managers become protective of their territory. “Our job is to keep your nose out of our business” becomes the new mantra

In a recent blog post, Jay Baer explained that your customers don’t care about your silos. They just want to be taken care of. They expect that a message sent through social media will reach a customer service professional. They expect a CSR will furnish sales information in response to an inquiry about other products your company offers. They don’t expect to be handed off three times and wait for 15 minutes to reach someone who can activate their credit card. (Hello BMO Harris, I am talking about you.)

This tunnel vision exists inside of departments as well. I was absolutely appalled recently in a conversation with someone who worked for a large company (2,200 employees).  We were talking about developing a social media plan that would integrate with the rest of their marketing. We talked about landing pages and email marketing to complement the web development. Unfortunately, there are three separate groups responsible for these programs, and they don’t work together. Obviously, their program won’t work.

Sure, these are extreme examples, but take a look at your own business. Are you separating functions in a way that is logical to you or your customer? Are you building a business where everyone and every project is focused on taking care of the customer?

photo credit: Nick.Fisher via photopin cc