Business and organizations are like nations: dictatorship can’t last forever. Now more than ever, customers have the final word about your success or failure.

The worst thing a customer can do to you is simply ignore you. Stop buying your products, stop eating at your restaurant, stop calling you for service…

And yes, organizations have customers, too…they’re called members. They vote (or not), participate in committees (or not), come to events (or not) and pay dues (or not).

Be honest with yourself. Did you go into business (or become an organization leader)… a) because you enjoyed being in charge, or b) to serve others?

If you answered a), you’re not alone. Most of us enjoy the self-determination that entrepreneurship affords us. But if you’re going to be successful, you’re going to have to switch your priority to b). And don’t worry…a) will take care of itself!

Someone put it this way….The Consumer has a BIG, LOUD VOICE!

Whether it’s Google, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, or simple Word of Mouth, the customer is empowered to endorse you or berate you in front of millions of people with the touch of button.

Here are some things you can do to create a Client-Centric Culture and use that consumer voice to your advantage:

  1. Make sure EVERYONE in your organization is focused on doing what’s best for The Customer. If that means giving a freebee once in awhile…DO IT! If it means staying late to fix a problem…DO IT! If that means firing somebody who can’t get with the program…DO IT! Leadership means making sure that everyone has the same focus.
  2. Use all media to create conversations with The Customer. This includes the web, social media, and print.
  3. Be responsive. Answer phone calls and emails immediately, even if that means using autoresponders. Then act on the information and follow-up with the Customer to let them know what you did. This may mean placing somebody whose only job is to do that.
  4. Empower your staff to advocate for The Customer. The more everyone is listening, the more you’ll know about the Customer’s needs and buying patterns. This will keep you ahead of the curve on important market trends.