We do so many things on behalf of the customers! Or because the customers. Or for the customers.
We reorganise, downsize, right-size, do, undo, reshuffle, create a new division, kill an old one, change titles of people, get rid of layers of management, close down the factory, downgrade a country, leave a country, change the CEO, set up a call centre in India, create an Account Management System, build two new Business Units, train a Sales force, buy a CRM, buy two CRMs, buy a more expensive and more friendly CRM, reorganise again and train everybody on Customer-Centrism. We do all that ‘to meet customer expectations’.
It sounds wonderfully customer-centric. Slight problem, no customer has ever asked us for any of these.
What we mean is that we must do things differently, perhaps faster, perhaps cheaper, perhaps in survival mode, perhaps strategically. Let’s call a cat a cat. A downsizing, restructuring, getting rid of a layer of management, for example, may be the right thing to do at a particular time. Do it. It does not need the ‘to meet customer expectations’ to be right.
The customer expects service. The customer sees, smells and hears behaviours. The customer has no interest in your new Standard Operating Procedures, your new CRM, or your brand new call centre. The customer does not care much.
Internally, actually, to add the ‘to meet customer expectations’ in your explanations to the troupes about why you do all that, is not credible, possible laughable and likely to be insulting. At least for some an insult to the imagination.
Say for what it is. Do what you need to do. No apologies. You may not need any. But leave the ‘to meet customer expectations’ at the door even if you believe that, as a result of all these, the customer will win. Good for you if this is the case.
But, as for the customer, hear the ‘not in my name’.
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