Leader Imperative #2. Customers: The Promise and the Love

Customer small_39572418_OK“Mastering the New Normal” – A Continuing Series

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
– Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart

A key challenge for leaders in mastering the New Normal involves executing brilliantly in a customer-centric world.

“Customers” exist as consumers, clients, sponsors and shareholders. Whether you provide products, services or intellectual property, you have customers whose satisfaction and loyalty are mission critical.

Here’s the New Normal reality: A focus on customer satisfaction is a doomed strategy.

Why? Because mere satisfaction no longer guarantees customer loyalty.

The Promise of an Elevated Experience

For sustainable success today and going forward, leaders need to focus their entire organization on providing a consistent elevated customer experience.

Nowadays customers have to love you or chances are they will leave you.

Elevated customer experiences produce strong positive reactions. In particular they generate delight and a strong desire to repeat the encounter.

Elevated experiences are memorable. They make your customers feel one or more of the following ways:

  • Special
  • Smart
  • Safe
  • Cool
  • Successful
  • Attractive
  • Original

Action Item: It’s mission critical to know exactly what your customers value the most and “deliver to delight” over and over again.

Give to Get

You have to give love to get love.

Apple delights with cool innovative products. Nordstrom’s, FedEx and Amazon.com score with superior customer service. Cirque du Soleil wows audiences with breathtaking entertainment.

As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos puts it, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

It doesn’t matter how good you are at anything else if you’re not executing brilliantly at winning and keeping your customer’s love.

How good is your team, business or organization at giving to get? How good are your competitors?


Related Videos:
“High-Stakes Change: Three Risk Scenarios” video (2:27).
“Mastering the New Normal” video (2:25).

Next Month: What the New Normal means for Talent Management.

About the Author

Susan Battley

An advisor to Fortune 100 executives and world-class institutions for more than twenty years, Dr. Susan Battley is an internationally recognized expert on CEO and leadership effectiveness. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional service firms, and elite research institutions. She has worked with chief executives, university presidents, Nobel laureates, and prominent scientists, diplomats, and educators. A respected media source for analyzing leadership in the context of news-breaking events and key trends, Battley has been featured in outlets worldwide including CNN, CNBC, Fox, Bloomberg, and National Public Radio, and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chief Executive, Business Week, United Press International, Harvard Management Update, Entrepreneur, Science, Leader to Leader, Investments, and Worth. She is the founder and CEO of Battley Performance Consulting, a leadership strategy and organization effectiveness consultancy.