Will you face up to your "Customer Cliff" in 2013? Or jump over the edge again?

The “fiscal cliff” drama has been great theater in the U.S. Too bad they couldn’t sell tickets to help pay down our national debt.

It’s easy to be critical of our government officials for not working together for the common good. They should put the country first, and leave partisan bickering behind, right?

If only it was that simple. These same people who are supposed to “do good” for the country, are also trying to keep promises made to their constituents — be it cut spending, save entitlements, or whatever. Oh, and they also want to keep their jobs.

The result: Gridlock.

But most companies suffer from the same problem. Customer-centric slogans don’t mesh with the “marching orders” given to marketing, sales and customer service teams.

For example:

  • “Listen to the customer” the CEO proclaims, yet there is no process to actually act on what customers say.
  • “Become a trusted partner to your customers” the VP of Sales proclaims to the sales force, but reps are rewarded only on new account sales.
  • “Improving our Net Promoter Score” the Contact Center leader says is the top priority, while measuring agents on Average Handle Time.
  • “Drive quality leads for sales” says the CMO, who hasn’t had a personal meeting with the VP of Sales in 6 months, much less agreed on what exactly is a “lead.”

Some say insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

I say it’s asking your organization to be customer-centric, yet measuring and rewarding them to do something else. And then wondering why customer loyalty is in the tank like U.S. Congress approval ratings.

Said another way, it’s walking up to the edge of your own company’s “customer cliff” and jumping off, expecting to grow wings on the way down.

In 2013, resolve to NOT follow the example of U.S. Congress. Face up to your customer problems, don’t kick them down the road to deal with “someday.”

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