“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
THE ONE CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE NEEDED TO CREATE RAVING FANS IN THE BUSINESS WORLD
A fellow business acquaintance called me recently to complain about the service he was getting from his vendors. He found that he was doing all the follow up and few deadlines were being met. As a customer he felt that he was doing all the work. This is not an uncommon comment that I hear. Lately, I have been hearing this comment more frequently. Leading me to think, “Wow, how much better would a company’s sales rise if they were great at follow up and follow through.”
Recently I had another business associate call me to ask, “What is the most important thing I can do in running my business?” My answer to her was to create raving fans out of her customers. She wanted to know how and was wondering what steps she needed to take to do this. “It is simple” I told her, “Treat customers the way you want to be treated.” To do this all she had to do was change her perspective from what was good for her business to satisfying the customers needs. This perspective means following up and following through!
How often do we have someone promise something and not deliver? How often do we find we are doing all the follow up? How often do receive commitments that aren’t met? Sometimes it feels like we are always pushing string up a hill.
Many businesses today over stretch their resources to generate more profits, leaving their existing customers frustrated. Some ignore their customers all together. How often are we left on hold?
Try calling your medical insurance company, but be prepared to wait many minutes to get a live person on the phone. Try your local cable company, where it may take hours to resolve an issue. Sure by under supporting the customer service staff, they improve profits in the short run. In the long run a disaster is brewing. Over time customers find a new solution or place to shop. Maybe not tomorrow, but inevitably it will happen.
Customers walk away silently. They usually don’t leave with a loud fanfare. Overtime the morning sales reports become dimmer. Businesses that truly put customer service as the number one business goal usually thrive.
Sure it means that they may have to give up some profits in the short run. Certainly there are people who will take advantage of companies. But this happens far less than we would think. Statistics tell us that 95% of customers don’t mean harm and just want to be served.
The same is true with our careers. We should strive to make raving fans out of our bosses and fellow workers. This is simple, treat all that we work with like customers. Solve their problems or needs with a positive and trustworthy attitude. Sometimes this might mean extra work. Sometimes it might mean we are taken advantage of. But generally it will mean appreciation, which will turn into support for our careers.
There are bosses and fellow employees that will take advantage of this attitude, but they generally fade away over time. Treating our bosses and fellow employees the way we want to be treated will usually pay off. We will feel better about ourselves and less stressed.
Recently, I had a supplier get upset with me because I wasn’t using his services anymore. Even though his product was superior, I opted to use a more reliable supplier, who said things like, “I will get back to you this afternoon.” And he always did! I never push him to get answers, he always pushed me. Our relationship is collaborative and his first concern is satisfying his customer. The supplier with the better product is losing business, because he is too hard to work with.
Jesus gave us two simple commandments; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew [22:37]-39) The second request of “loving your neighbor as yourself” is the part that creates raving fans with our customers, bosses and fellow employees.
There are plenty of great examples of companies who do this, like L.L. Bean. And individually we know the places in our own community who treat the customer first. They are the places we want to shop at or do business with.
For our businesses we service and those we work with, creating Raving Fans should be our goal and focus. Applying the Christian principle of “loving our neighbor as ourselves” is all we need to do to create Raving Fans. We should ignore minor few who seek to take advantage of this attitude and focus on the 95% who will appreciate our efforts.
The one and most important thing we can all do to improve our businesses and work relationships, is treat everyone as we would want to be treated. Sounds simple in theory, but requires a daily commitment to follow this simple rule.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
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