For the last few weeks, we’ve been writing posts inspired by John Jantsch’s latest book, The Commitment Engine. Today’s post is the final post in that series, so we thought we would wrap up everything we have talked about in this series into a single bite-sized lesson. That lesson sounds deceptively simple – all that matters in the end is your customer. If you’re in business, you know this even if you have not verbalized it. Your customer pays your bills. Your customer is the reason you go to work each day. Your customer keeps you in business.
Despite this apparently obvious truth, how many of us actually know what our customers think about us? As Jantsch writes, it can be a scary or even uncomfortable conversation if you decide to ask your customers what they think about you, but this conversation is key to everything else we have talked about in this series. For example, while having a big idea or a big purpose is great, if your customers are unaware of what motivates you, they will not be able to appreciate it or join you in your passion. If you want to build a corporate culture that your customers can feel comfortable in, it is essential to know first whether they are even aware you have a corporate culture. Do your customers know your mission statement? Do they know your story, or your “why?” Do your customers see the value you present them or are they with you because you offer the lowest prices?
Listening to what your customers have to say about you requires the perceptive listening we discussed earlier in this series. You cannot simply ask your customers what they think and then prepare with a defensive response. You really need to listen, and after listening, you really need to absorb what it is they said. Does their perception of your purpose stray far away from what you want your purpose to be? Does their perception of your company stand in stark contrast to everything you want your company to be? These are things that are unpleasant to hear, but knowing that your customer has these perceptions is the first step in improving your customer service and your customer relationships.
When we talk about customers, it is essential that we also talk about employees. We discussed how your employees now can interface with existing and potential customers more often and with greater ease than ever before thanks to social media. How you treat your employees will be reflected in how your employees treat your customers. Understanding how your customers feel about your employees is another acutely important step in improving your customer relationships.
This is not to say that you are unimportant in the equation, of course. Commitment to your customers must also mean a commitment to yourself. If you let yourself become too harried, too anxious, or so dedicated to your work that you are not able to tear yourself away, this can negatively impact your own life in addition to how you relate to your community at work. We hope this series has offered you some ideas on how to preserve your own sanity while letting your entire company’s community see and understand your commitment.
We highly recommend you purchase and read The Commitment Engine for yourself. It is a thought provoking book, and we’d love to hear your take on it. If you missed the previous posts in this series, just click here. We hope you enjoyed these posts!
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