If you’re not into customers, why are you even working here?

I just wrapped up a meeting with a brilliant CEO. I’m on retainer to manage the client experience at his company and today we were reviewing gaps in service. My client is big on “feeling.” He explained to me that he never loses a customer because of price. “When we lose a customer, it’s because they didn’t feel taken care of. If we were taking care of them, they wouldn’t even entertain a quote from a competitor. It’s all about how we make them feel.” And he’s absolutely right.

For most organizations, service is really all they have. Most companies are in business to serve customers. Employees are paid to serve customers. The CEO and I spoke at length about this today. My charge for this client is to ensure that the employees get it. They must get the fact that they have to serve customers with enthusiasm. They must work to ensure customers hang up happy. It is their job to give customers an experience that leaves them saying, “Wow…that was really refreshing.”

At one point in the conversation, the CEO said to me, If you’re not into customers, why are you even working here? You know, I have asked that question many times…of fast food employees, when I hang up the phone after speaking with a customer service rep and after countless experiences in retail. If you don’t feel up to taking care of customers, why are you working at a company that has customers as its lifeblood?

I don’t believe in having anyone work for me that doesn’t “feel” customer service. My philosophy is very much like the Netflix organization:

Keep the star employees and give everyone else a generous severance package. 

 {A few months ago I wrote a blog post on Netflix’s practice of keeping their stars and offering the others generous severance packages so roles can be opened up for other stars. Read my Netflix blog post here.}

The bottom line: It’s time to take the customer experience seriously. Get rid of people who aren’t “into” serving customers. Ask yourself, “Why are they working here if they aren’t taking care of our customers?” Give them a generous severance package and find a customer service rock star to replace them.

Work with me on your customer experience.