Customer engagement: what kind of CEO are you?
An interesting story surfaced recently regarding AT&T
threatening a customer with legal action after emailing the CEO
twice complaining about the company's pricing structures. In
contrast, it mentions that if you email Apple's Steve Jobs as a
customer you are likely to get a personal reply. Which side do you
fall into when it comes to engaging with customers?
As we have observed with some of our clients' successful customer
feedback management programmes, they all tend to have the full
buy-in from the top. In fact, often the inspiration behind the
initiative has come from the CEO. Customer engagement programmes
that use customer feedback to inform and shape the business plan
can reap huge benefits to the bottom line. But this can only happen
with visible, passionate and relentless commitment to the programme
by the CEO. A business' "culture" is more than just an environment
or a mission statement; it's about the way in which the CEO (and
the directors) go about their jobs each moment of every day. And it
is certainly reflected in every customer interaction, no matter how
When implementing a strategic customer feedback management
programme, organisations must establish clear objectives from the
top down. Effective customer engagement is an ongoing process aimed
at creating a cultural change within an organisation to improve the
experience of its customers. Senior management must be given the
data they require to act upon any issues in order to give frontline
staff the support they need to improve customer experiences.
What role does the customer play in the strategic direction of
your business? Do they have a 'virtual seat' in the boardroom? CEOs
should be taking a leaf out of Steve Jobs' book. Don't offend your
customers when they give constructive criticism. Use the feedback
to identify the key processes that need to be improved in order to
make your customers more satisfied, thereby growing the lifetime
value of your customer base.