In one of my peer groups, we recently had a discussion about Seth Godin’s Eight Marketing Maxims. Two of the eight stood out to the group- we felt that one was right on and the other we vehemently disagreed with.
Helping people get to where they seek to go is more effective than hustling people to persuade them to go where you’re going. This is not just a great marketing approach, it’s an effective management philosophy as well. The savvy marketer realizes that their true role is to help people achieve their dreams. That can be as simple as reminding them of simpler times through a classic song or even their favorite candy or cookie; making memories through travel; or realizing dreams with their first new car or piece of jewelry. Fulfilling the wants and needs of consumers is the fundamental purpose of marketing.
Applying this maxim to management is a different story. All employees have some sort of career goal- regardless of how ambitious. As leaders, our role is to help them realize these goals. Ideally, we will find a place where those goals and company goals intersect- making the relationship symbiotic. When an employee feels like they are making progress toward their dreams with the assistance of their employer, they are likely to stay with that organization. They’re more satisfied and become a greater asset because of that career development. If they do leave, they could very well become a client or good referral source. We have many former associates who have become Marketing Directors and the like, and have hired us to assist with their marketing campaigns. We also have several boomerang employees who gained valuable experience elsewhere and came back to work with us again.
Customer service is free. We disagree. Attitude and disposition are free, but customer service is not. In fact, customer service is an expensive proposition. Imagine the price of training, technology, and even additional staff that we invest in order to provide the best customer service. We consider this to be a crucial investment to acquire and retain customers, and willingly make the investment. With all due to Mr. Godin, customer service is crucial (unless you’re a dollar store, apparently), but it ain’t free.