Customer-Centered Advocates

By on April 9, 2014

 

Recently, I interviewed a number of adults who had loved ones in senior living facilities. One of the clearest messages they sent was that the residents at these types of facilities “have to have their son or daughter advocating for them” to ensure that the senior receives adequate care. The standard service provided by these homes is generally satisfactory, but there is no guarantee that the staff is going to always react to the voice-of-the-customer needs by individual residents. Therefore, the families of the residents accept the fact that they must speak up in order to have the resident properly cared for.

Customer 3D organizations — in every business and nonprofit sector — don’t need this type of intervention. Because they are purposely customer-centered, they proactively advocate for the customer as part of their expected role.

The problem with the many organizations that do not advocate for customers is a superficial mindset about the clients who buy from them. They are limited because their relationship is so focused on expecting customers to do business with them in the manner their organization has created. It’s controlled and rules-driven. It’s a ‘what’s-the-least-we-can-get-by-with’ approach. It’s a feeling that they only care about people who presently purchase their products, with no concern for the value they provide now and in the future. In contrast, the culture of Customer 3D organizations empowers employees to always think like a customer. They anticipate what will make the customer happy and just take care of it.

Organizational advocacy for the customer will be the difference-maker in the future. The ability to build this mindset into the culture will separate high-performing organizations from the mediocre middle. The beauty of advocating for the customer, rather than handling problems, as each customer complains about them, is that it works both ways, of course. Because you understand their needs more clearly, they will advocate for you in return. That’s the essence of customer loyalty.

 

 

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