Years ago, my parents took me, my brother and my sister along when they went to visit friends. During our visit, a plate of goodies was passed around. On that plate were some pieces of very yummy looking white fudge. How could I resist?
As the plate passed by, I helped myself to a piece of that white fudge, took a big bite and promptly tried to find a way to spit that fudge out as fast as possible. The white fudge wasn’t white fudge. I don’t recall what I actually bit into that day, but I will never forget the nasty taste and disappointment.
Our hostess that day was not trying to trick me but the same can’t be said for some companies. Some companies try to fool their customers, their employees and the general public into believing they are something they’re not by:
- Using marketing slogans like “Our customer is number one” when it’s not really the customer that’s number one; it’s the customer’s wallet that is number one. Yes, we need our customers to pull out their wallets in order for us to stay in business, but when customer values, opinions and mindset are not taken into consideration until it’s time to pull the marketing piece together, the customer is NOT number one and it won’t take long for them to figure it out.
- Professing to support community and the environment but not getting past the lip service part. Many people today make purchasing decision based on a company’s local, regional or global social or environmental practices. Many companies are committed to doing their part to make the world around them a better place and proactively look for ways to be greener and active in the community. Then there are the companies who do the bare minimum or who aren’t willing to put their money behind anything except the PR company hired to make them look like they support community and the environment.
- Promising the “best of the best” but refusing to pay for the best of the best. These companies beat suppliers up on price or look for ways to save money at the expense of their customers, both internal and external. Finding ways to save and be efficient is a good thing, but sometimes saving money is more expensive than paying fair value if suppliers, customers and employees leave because they are tired of being treated like an expense line.
When we try to trick our customers, our suppliers and our community into believing we are something we’re not, it’s bad for business. Eventually the truth will come out. As the Customer Service Lady, I believe that service excellence is tied directly to integrity, to believing that we are here to serve, and to respecting those we serve and those who help us serve.