Most of the businesses that look after customers’ best, are the world’s best retailers.
They fight for customers in the biggest and most diverse market sector on the planet and thrive in what must be the most competitive environment. The really successful lead with vision, innovation and flair - moving at pace they succeed because they care passionately about their customers. They enjoy the trust of their committed followers because they earn the right to serve their customers.
The businesses who fail usually don’t care enough, usually only tickling the soft underbelly of issues. Often looking through the wrong end of the telescope and championing their businesses as if their customers depended on it - rather than the other way round. The bottom line is, a business can only be customer centric if the boss loves customers. Believes in customers and realizes all organisations are in the business of ‘being chosen’.
The really great businesses choose to be chosen by emotional edge, articulated through an easily understood Point of View - with the entire business marching in unison to its beat. The truly, truly great businesses seem to also embrace something higher, always understanding profits are an outcome not a purpose. Amazon has a grand ambition to be the most customer centric business on the planet and Apple was driven during its halcyon days by an almost pathological need to be different – profits flow when purpose is passionately executed.
How often do we see businesses ‘kicking kittens’ as a quick non-heartfelt fix – you know, hurriedly replacing junior members of organisations with people who ‘get-it’ only to then have the stuffing squeezed out of them by bosses who clearly don’t.
Imagine if banks brought in senior people - very, very senior people who love customers nearly as much as doing sums. Imagine for one moment, if the world’s banks were populated by leaders who get ‘emotion’ and not just the technical definition of the word – embracing the soul needed to deliver it through their organisations. Imagine what heights banks could soar. All the boring stuff done on-line, leaving the workforce to engage with customers about money as an enabler, rather than a commodity. Money as a dream maker not a mill-stone. Even talking to kids in schools about debt and responsibility or sponsoring small business education programmes rather than golf tournaments. Just imagine how pivotal banks could be to achieving a richer life for all in every sense.
Oh hell, let me finish with one last thought that my buddy, Russell Zimmerman and I discussed the other day when I was in Oz. Rather than the cold, poorly staffed outlets that use the misnomer of ‘retail’ banking, let’s finally imagine shopping centres or fancy malls having banks as anchors, crammed full of really friendly people who really get-it! People empowered to give honest and friendly advice based on experience not exams, advice based on life not commission. Beautiful, user-friendly centres open precisely when people need to talk about their lives. Open and staffed by people who are allowed to care about customers. Open and pumping life back into customers’ dreams, pumping life back into the communities they serve. Because for the people out shopping on any given day the future isn’t about tomorrow, it’s about the decisions they make today.
What a wonderful purpose for these banks to aspire…..
....but there I go again, getting misty eyed emotional.