Putting customers first

Whatever your opinions may be regarding the recent NY Times Op-Ed piece by Greg Smith, one aspect of his criticism of his former employer is chilling: His view that they put their own interests first, above those of their clients. Amongst his many examples, he cites that they often held “sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients.” Huh? What other kind of sales meeting is there, if not to discuss how to achieve success by helping customers?

Everything a company does must be contextualized in the perspective of the customer’s best interests. No organization can sustain itself without putting the needs of its customers before the needs of all other constituents. Of course, a company must be able to deliver value to its customers profitably, but the profit will only come if the value is there. If all employees ask themselves (and their colleagues) how their actions/choices will benefit customers before they resolve to embark upon a course of action, the entire team will align itself in the same direction.

I’m sure that none of us asks (and answers) that question frequently enough. I intend to make myself and my company better by asking that question as often as I can whenever I make decisions.

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