It Starts With You and Me


All of us want to exceed in our business. We want to produce the best products, watch sales soar and profits multiply. We spend our time searching for the right mix of product, sales, marketing and service people to produce, sell and serve what we need to make the numbers. There’s the rub. We focus too much on what we feel we need and not what the customer needs. We forget the one person who can change the whole dynamic of our business — the shopper, customer or congregant who comes into our "store", uses or product or attends or church.

Changing our culture to one focused on the customer starts with leadership. We can’t blame anybody else in the organization for forgetting the customer if we are not passionate about discovering and serving customer needs. No product, no matter how cool it is, ultimately wins if it doesn’t serve customer needs. And the drive to find those needs and serve them starts with you and me — and it never ends.

My first mentor in business was a savvy retailer. He walked the floor of our store every morning checking out the details. He loved retail, more more importantly he loved customers. He expected, no he DEMANDED, that all the floors be waxed, carpets clean, restrooms spotless, counters empty of merchandise and that we were ready to open the doors. He modeled the behavior of putting customer needs first. He taught us to appreciate the little things that customers want and the little things that bring them back.

We need to do the same thing with our people if we expect them to put customers first. We need to model customer passion and we need to let it drive us and our decisions. We need to let our people know our expectations about how important the customer is and never compromise. Set a gold standard and if an employee shows that she doesn’t care, find her another job, preferable somewhere else because your first priority is the heart of the customer.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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