By Doug Coull, Published on June 18, 2015
As the owner of an HR software innovation company, I have experienced customer interactions of varying qualities over the past few decades. Some good, some less so, some surprising, but all interesting and all a learning experience.
When I consider my customers, current and past, I think about the stakeholders behind their own company brand and how unique and special they all are. I also think about the value they bring to my organization by being an ambassador for my company’s brand and for their feedback and inspiration over these many years. Without a doubt, my customers along with my employees impact the success of my organization.
The value derived from these stakeholders is immeasurable. It goes beyond the money and profits, it goes to the heart strings of an organization and I recognize this with every business decision I make. My organization is structured to develop software. My business was built around the human equation… a factor ever-present in my company’s culture.
I’m proud to say that we have phenomenal clients. We recognize that listening to them is the best gift we can give to ourselves. We also know that putting them first and doing what is in their best interest is always the first and best decision we make.
Value is as value does
Success is a two-way street: The relationship I want to have with my customers is symbiotic, and with this, we all have a responsibility to support each other. Organizations walk a fine line every day when balancing the wants and needs of their stakeholders. So when considering the return on value, what is fair for organizations to expect in return? In short, the expectations should equate to the value given. This is true respect and recognition which comes in various shapes and forms.
One important question every person in a leadership role should ask him/herself every day is: “Who are we serving?” If the answer does not have consumers at the top of the list, an evaluation of the company mission may need to be revisited. Consumers who trust and believe in the validity of how a company conducts business and interacts with its clients is going to receive repeat dividends in the form of recurring business, client longevity, essential feedback for both product development and service delivery and brand ambassadorship.
We receive many new business referrals each year from our clients, and all are appreciated. We don’t offer clients remuneration for their referrals, because we want real and legitimate new business leads that come to us from clients who believe we have a software product they are proud to discuss.
Likewise, when our clients contact us to ask about a product or service, they know they will get the “real deal” from us. We recommend only products and services we believe to be great. Being vendor-agnostic means we do not partner with brands that pay us to promote their products and services. From the perspective of my organization’s practices, we vet all potential integration partners, and in doing so bring our clients only the best solutions. To do anything less is tantamount to making a profit without a sincere interest for another party — a prime example of poor service delivery.
Finding the sweet spot
At the end of the business day, it comes down to this: When a service provider and client have a healthy, mutually respectful working relationship, benefits for both parties will abound with positive outcomes. Customer service, when provided in the best interest of the customer, will inevitably boomerang back around and satisfy the needs of the organization as well. Unfortunately, many companies try to live for today without regard for the future. The business you conduct today is building the foundation of trust needed to successfully thrive down the road — a point that needs to be top of mind with every transaction.