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The Growth Trap: Marginalized Customer Service

Posted 7 years ago

As companies experience growth, it is easy to get caught up in all the details of the business and lose sight of the customer. When watching the bottom line and as overhead grows, it is understandable that priorities get shifted around. However, how do you get back to a customer-centric mindset and make it a priority within your culture? What do you do if this is not a priority for others? This week, Shep Hyken gives us tips on how to balance business growth and customer service so that the customer is at the forefront. 

The Growth Trap: Marginalized Customer Service

by Shep Hyken

As an organization gets larger, there is a tendency to start to focus more on overhead and profit and less on customer acquisition — and even more importantly, retention. My friend and customer service colleague, Steve Digioia brought this up and asked the question, “What are the causes of this change and how do you keep this from happening?”
My first response was that yes, this does happen. There is a realization that the company has to get back to focusing on the customer engagement. However they play catch-up by attempting to replace defecting customers. This is the opposite of what they wanted to achieve.
And, sometimes it’s even purposeful. Leadership may decide to intentionally change their mindset – and even their company culture – from being customer-focused to bottom line focused.
That may look good on paper for a short while, but long term it is a mistake.
So how does a company prevent this from happening? First and foremost, if the company has a culture and vision in place, every move they make should always bring up the question, “Is this in keeping with our vision?” Assuming the answer is yes, then the focus needs to move toward employees.
For those that are interested in staying focused on the customer, it is more important than ever to hire the right people that fit into your customer-focused culture. Training is also essential. And, as the company grows, it is important for leadership to be aware if any part of the company (departments within the company, people within the company, etc.) is going out of cultural alignment.
So, how can this be prevented? Here is a simple answer to a complicated question: Keep focused on the people. Constant reinforcement of the importance of customer service is key to sustaining the culture.
A good example of this is Amazon.com. As they grew and added different areas to their business, they always put the customer first. The first question they always asked when rolling out a new program was whether or not was this was going to be right for the customer. The second question they asked was if it was going to be right for Amazon.
Remember what Dr. Ted Levitt of Harvard business school said: “The FUNCTION of a business is to get and keep customers.” The GOAL is to make money. If you don’t focus on the function, you might not reach your goal.

customer serviceShep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.

Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of Moments of Magic®The Loyal CustomerThe Cult of the CustomerThe Amazement Revolution and Amaze Every Customer Every Time. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus, a customer service training program which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com.

customer service
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken