Do you love your customers?

Sunday, 10 July 2016  |  Admin

I stood at the reception desk of an Irish hotel vainly trying to check out while two flustered receptionists failed to cope. There was a medical conference on and a participant with “Doctor” emblazoned on his lapel badge asked politely to see the duty manager — his wife had food poisoning following the dinner the night before. A young man in black jacket and striped trousers arrived to tell the doctor that nobody else had complained.

Why is it that some businesses convey accurately the impression that they hate their customers?

On the other hand, some years ago I was driving with a friend through the leafy backroads of New York State to find the house of the futurologist, Herman Kahn. We were almost lost when we saw a policeman on a magnificent white motorbike. He gave us detailed instructions, saluted, and we drove off.

A few minutes later, I saw him in the rear-view mirror. I pulled over and he said, “I’ve decided my directions were too complicated. Follow me”.

Recently, I got a bill from my garage. I had not been charged for a particularly expensive replacement part, even though the car was out of the guarantee period. When I queried the bill, I was told the item was so expensive they had decided not to charge me for it. They made a customer for life.

And, as we know, the purpose of a business is to create a customer.

My point is that it’s difficult to create (or retain) customers if you don’t love them. Do you love your customers? If you don’t, you may be in the wrong job.

If deep down your attitude to your customers is exploitive, no matter what appears on the smooth surface, that attitude will be sensed and, with competition intensifying, your customers can go elsewhere.

While some things — unkept promises — are unforgivable, customers can be forgiving if their experience of your business is one of genuine concern for them.

But, antecedent to that love there is an even more important one, love of the work you do. If you don’t love your job — and your product or service — you can’t love your customers.

Do you go to work whistling or gloomy? Do you come home weary or with a sense of accomplishment?

Extracted from Dr Ivor Kenny's CAN YOU MANAGE? (2e).