The customer has returned from exile…… (part 1)

During the last ten years a number of organisations have focused their performance strategy on maximising profit, often achieved by reducing cost. As soon as such a strategy is developed the performance measurements become quantitative, where ‘the bean counters are king’. This results in finding, by default, the minimum level that the customer will accept, especially as regards levels of service.

In a time of economic stability this strategy makes sense. However, over a period of time this also creates an organisational culture of ‘what gets measured gets done’ and I have worked with a number of organisations recently where the front line delivery staff feel that management have taken their eye off the customer.

History has shown us that during a time of recession the customer returns from exile and becomes king. Initially this is in terms of buying power and retailers attract their customers through the high street sales we have seen during the last few months. Walk down any high street now and nearly every shop is offering the same discounts, so even after such a short time sales do not determine where the customer goes.

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Brighter organisations have already realised that the ‘differentiation factor’ is the level of customer service that’s provided. Engaging with customers now and getting their loyalty means that organisations are more likely to survive the recession and will continue to reap the benefits post-recession.

Just think about your own purchasing habits. The chances are that whether it’s a car, a television or a holiday most companies can offer you a competitive price. So the choice of who you go with probably depends upon who can offer you the best quality of service, together with the best after-sales service.

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