Refocusing on the Customer: Building Up the Trust We Lost


As I work with clients in this post-recession world, I am beginning to see a common thread throughout a number of organizations and industries. There is clearly a trend toward rebuilding trust with external customers and internal resources, in an effort to restore what was torn down over the past few years.

Companies are investing time, money, and resources to re-establish relationships with their employees along with current and prospective customers. This is a powerful statement. The fact that these investments are being made is a strong acknowledgement that a breach of trust has occurred. Organizations now realize that their success is ultimately based upon the people who work within their culture and their attitudes toward each other and their customers. If no one trusts each other, this will cascade out into the marketplace and have a direct negative effect on the bottom line.

To combat this trend, organizations are re-focusing on creating a service culture within their own walls. A service culture is an environment that puts the needs of other people first. By targeting employee development and customer requirements first, organizations are taking major steps toward rebuilding the positive workspaces within and lasting relationships with their external clients.

Unlike many initiatives in the past, these service-centric transformations are not just “feel-good” programs to boost morale. No, these programs are meant to change the way people think and act toward their customers, and toward each other.

In a recent CLO article about performance and continuous improvement, the author noted that service is not a soft skill:

“Service is often mislabeled as a soft skill, and culture is inaccurately regarded as something imprecise or fuzzy. Not true. Building and reinforcing a strong service culture requires focused attention, sustained commitment, and systematic action from the entire organization. Organizations can successfully engineer a service culture with an implementation road map that aligns leadership, education, and building blocks to reinforce a shared service vision, mission, and values.

Every company can build a service culture to uplift the spirit and performance of service every day… this is not the result of brilliant strategy or personal charisma — it is the result of an organization-wide commitment, sustained over time, to create more value for other people.”

I guess that is the hook; to build trust we all need to engage in creating value for each other as well as our customers.

Now that’s something I can get behind, and something in which I can trust.