Mar 05

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Remember the Importance of a Customer

A poster on the wall at a GM/India Automobile Plant in Halol, India had a lasting impact on me. I want to share with you some insights worth remembering as you build life-long customers.

I have been very lucky to have been able to travel to 20+ countries when I worked with Sterling Commerce. In February 1988 I spent a week at the GM/India automobile plant in Halol, India. One of the posters hanging in the lunchroom caught my eye, and I was glad to have a notebook with me to savor the words and share them with you.

    Because The Customer

    Because the customer has a need, we have a job to do.

    Because the customer has a choice, we must be the better choice.

    Because the customer has sensibilities, we must be considerate.

    Because the customer has urgency, we must be quick.

    Because the customer is unique, we must be flexible

    Because the customer has high expectations, we must excel.

    Because the customer has influence, we have the hope of more customers.

    Because of the customer we exist.

The poster said it all. We exist because of the customer, and as a result, if we follow these guidelines we are creating the foundation for life-long customers and clients.

On a recent trip to pay my water bill at the City of Columbus Division of Water, I noticed very similar words on the wall near the cashier station:

    What is a customer?

    A customer is the most important person ever in this office, in person or by mail.

    A customer is dependent on us, We are not dependent on him.

    A customer is not an interrupton of our work, he is the purpose of it. We are not doing a favor by serving him, he’s doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.

    A customer is not someone to argue or match wits with, nobody ever won an argument with a customer.

    A customer is a person who brings us his wants, is our job to handle them profitably, to him and to ourselves.

Once again the message is very clear, honor and serve your customers. I am sharing both of these lessons just to remind you that your customers are the most important part of your business. Without them there would be no business.

Oh, and there was one other statement hanging on the wall in that Indian cafeteria (remember this was an auto plant), “The only thing expected to come back is the customer.” You can bet the cars that come out of this factory have quality assurance ratings that rank alongside some of the highest in the industry.



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