What a busboy can teach us about customer focus

Photo by Eric Ullman; licensed under CC BY 4.0

Photo by Eric Ullman; licensed under CC BY 4.0

I was introduced to the concept of customer satisfaction early in life. I landed my first job as a busboy in a family-owned Mexican restaurant shortly after turning 16. My manager was unpleasant and fond of yelling at his minions, but I learned a great deal about customer focus from him. Busboys were the first, last, and most frequent visitors to each of the tables. My manager understood that the busboys had a large impact on customer satisfaction. So we were expected to be quick, conscientious, and above all, aware. Only through awareness could we anticipate needs and deliver superior service. These traits were hammered into my being.

These same traits apply to how businesses should approach their customer relationships, whether B2C or B2B makes no difference. (It’s all human-to-human.) The majority of B2B companies don’t seem to be doing much about improving the customer experience. I think that’s a huge mistake. A reckoning is coming for companies that don’t shift to become customer-first.

Today’s connected consumers at home are also corporate buyers, product users, influencers, and purchase decision makers at work. Those individuals have no reason to expect anything less than the same level of product quality, customer care, and overall experience from business products and services that they get from consumer companies. Take a spin through the Spiceworks IT community discussions, and you’ll frequently encounter such sentiment.

Social media is driving a new era of accountability for businesses. For many companies, this means getting close to their customers for the first time. Consumer companies have been leading the customer experience charge, but companies that sell to businesses are off to a slow start. This is unfortunate, because there are so many benefits to being customer focused! Sales and customer retention rates increase, employee engagement levels improve, and support costs decrease.

Now, more than ever, is the time for businesses to transform into customer-first organizations.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be touching on all areas of customer experience in this blog, and I hope you’ll join the conversation.

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