iStock_000018595234XSmallCustomers drive your business. If customers feel trusted, honored, and respected in discussions and transactions with your business, they typically come back a lot and are positive word-of-mouth advertisers for your business.

Employees are the primary face of your business. If you have employees that love their customers, service rankings go up and customers keep coming. Those customers create a positive buzz about your business in your community. That positive buzz typically has a logical consequence on your business revenues – they go up.

If you have employees who do not love their customers, they leave a lasting impression. Customers often choose to go elsewhere – and create a negative buzz about your business in your community. That negative buzz typically has a logical consequence on your business revenues – they go down.

Recent conversations about service experiences prove this point. In one case, a client had been receiving a quarterly report and payment for years. When this quarter’s payment date went past with no communication, she reached out to this provider. The person in charge said that the amount was too low to send a check so they decided to roll over that amount to the next quarter. This client was fine with that – but was frustrated that the decision was made without any attempt to communicate the circumstances to her.

In another case, a client had a charge appear on his bill that he questioned. He reached out to the provider and spoke to a live service agent on the phone. The agent explained the charge which was for a feature the client didn’t need or want. The agent cancelled the feature and refunded the fee – all in less than five minutes. The client could not have been happier with the experience.

How do you know how customers are being treated? How do you know what customers think about your business and about your employees? The best ways to understand customer perceptions is to ASK – regularly. Observe and/or listen in to customer interactions with employees, especially during hectic times. Create a quick survey channel – five questions on a postcard or online survey.

Embrace the information you receive. Review it with employees. Refine policies and procures if they stand in the way of trusting customers. Coach employees on appropriate ways to interact with customers. Then, ask customers again. Observe interactions again. Gather data. Celebrate progress and address gaps. Repeat.

The economy in your community (no matter what country you work in) has growth potential. If you have strong products & services that are priced right, customers will be drawn to your business. If employees treat those customers as valued partners, your business will grow.

That’s something we all need in our communities: strong businesses that provide fine products, good jobs and great service to customers. Every community needs more businesses like this.

Join in the conversation about this post/podcast in the comments section below. How do your customers feel about the way your business and employees treat them? How do you stay “in touch” with customer perceptions?

What is it like to live in your organization’s culture? Share your experiences in my fast & free Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are described on my blog site’s research page.

This research can help you refine your organization’s corporate culture. Contact me to discuss conducting the Performance-Values Assessment in your company.

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S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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