Marketing guru Tom Smith recently posted an interesting blog containing eight ways CEOs don't "get" customer service—seven, care of Customer Relationship Management magazine contributor Lior Arussy, and one based on Smith's own experiences. It seems odd that the head of a company wouldn't understand how to please his or her customers, but these eight insights really make sense:
- They bury their heads in the sand (AKA the ostrich effect)—CEOs either don't recognize the magnitude of customer service issues, or they don't believe such issues exist at all.
- They don't own the problem—CEOs, by nature, need to be able to delegate. Sometimes, however, the CEO really needs to be the one to make an issue his or her own and see it all the way through.
- They don't know how to address concerns—CEOs are smart people, but often they have a background in a technical field such as finance, and may not have a great deal of experience in managing people.
- They don't want to rock the boat—Having to report out to stakeholders, boardmembers, and the entire firm often means that CEOs are unwilling to make big changes.
- They don't understand the problem—They focus the company's energy on improving a small part of customer relationship strategy, such as employee attitude, rather than seeing possible alternative causes.
- They don't recognize their power—"They fail to understand that saying a change will be made means that it will really happen."
- They know everything already—Of course the CEO knows what the problem is, so they don't feel the need to dig deeper or see things from a different perspective.
In reality, most CEOs are probably guilty of only one or two of these things (we hope!). Arussy hasn't given a lot of credit to the folks who, by and large, have gotten to their current positions through exceptional hard work and know-how. But the eighth point that Smith adds is probably true to a degree with every high-level executive: they're CEOs. They're treated like CEOs. No one is rude to the CEO who calls the help line; heck, they probably aren't even calling the help line because they either a) have an assistant to do that for them or b) have their own private number to call for help. Simply put, CEOs tend to be out of touch with the average customer experience, because they're not average customers.
In order to fight these CEO shortfalls, it's important to get back to basics; remember how far hard work will get you; be active, involved, and committed, and lean on the experts like Cvent to help really learn how to manager your customer service relationships.