|Your most important
customer is the one you have in front of you right now.
Lauderbaugh & Associates
"Reap the Harvest through
by JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC
As business people, this time of year causes us to stop and reflect. I'm reflecting on
the companies in which our empowerment training has made a positive difference in customer
satisfaction. This is the true harvest of our labors and we should be reaping it all year
Sometimes our harvest doesn't happen because we're stuck in old ways of managing our
people, products and services. We hear about relationship management and selling; and
empowering our front line people to treat our employees and customers royally, but because
we're fearful of chance and the unknown, we stay the same. We don't reach out planting our
seeds of service until our charts go flat and we notice the competition harvesting their
customer satisfaction and profits that could be ours.
From that stuck position, fear has been called false evidence appearing real. It's also
been called the culprit to our lack of sales and management decisions. With the
elimination of fear, our (brain) endorphins start flowing, making us supremely powerful to
gain confidence and trust for needed changes. This can put us back in the competition,
planting seeds and harvesting extraordinary customer satisfaction. Ask yourself, what's
the worst that could happen if you make changes? What's the likely outcome if you continue
as you have been? Taking a risk means growth and there's no harvest until after the
A year ago, Vasona Stationers in Los Gatos, California took a risk for growth and they've
been harvesting their customer satisfaction for months. Here is part of a letter I
"We want to take this time to thank you for helping us to start an upward trend in
In May, June and July, our sales were flat and after hearing you speak at the National
Office Products Association show in San Francisco, we decided you could help us turn
things around, and you did!
With your enthusiasm and skills at interviewing our employees in the needs assessment,
before doing the training sessions, you helped us see we needed to empower our employees
and be more positive ourselves.
With your help, our sales went up the rest of the year with 5.5% in August, 6.6% in
September, October the earthquake crumbled our growth temporarily, 7% in November and 8%
in December. The monthly growth has continued and last month, May, we were up 15%.
Every day we are reminded of your messages, 'If you have time to lean, you have time to
clean, have fun and greet each customer as a friend, give value added service, something
more than expected, be honest with your thoughts and feelings, be fully present, have
pride and know you're important to the success of the business.'
Success is contagious." JoAnne Hersch, Co-owner, Vasona Stationers.
As successful managers, we need to have a belief and trust in people, to truly empower our
front line for superlative customer care. Tom Peters, author of "Thriving on
Chaos," recently wrote he felt doubtful about those at the top saying they have a
"bone-deep belief in people" when their customers encounter pettiness at the
front line. Employee empowerment includes pride of ownership and self value, also called
self esteem, and it's up to us to build both. Our harvest will come only after we help
our people feel they are a part of something very important, filling our customers'
1997 - 2012
JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC
JJ Lauderbaugh is an international speaker, trainer and
who specializes in customer service management.
JJ may be reached at:
Phone (408) 445-1590