A few years ago Sam Walton, founder of the biggest retailer in the world, opened a new training programme for Walmart employees. Here is what is reported how he opened his speech:
“I’m the kind of person who goes to a restaurant, sits at the table and patiently waits, whilst the waiter does everything but taking my order.
I’m the kind of person who goes to a shop and waits in silence, whilst the employee behind the counter finishes the private conversation with the colleague, before taking my payment.
I’m the kind of person who goes to a gas station and never buzzes, but waits patiently whilst the employee finishes his newspaper read.
I’m the kind of person who explains to a supplier his urgency on getting a specific product, and does not complain after receiving it 3 weeks later.
I’m really the kind of person who enters any commercial establishment and seems to be begging for attention, for a smile, for the employee to do me a favour.
And now you must be thinking that I’m just a nice, calm, relaxed, quiet, patient kind of person. But you are wrong!
You know who I am? I’m the customer who will never come back.
And then I have fun. Watching these companies spend millions of dollars, in marketing and advertisement, in order to make me come back to them. When actually I was there already, and all they had to do was a simple, cheap and easy thing: treat me with a little courtesy.
There is only on boss: THE CLIENT. And he can fire everyone in the company. From the employee to the Chief Executive, simply by taking his money somewhere else”
Reading this talk from Sam Walton again, I felt remembered that, while we can develop and implement the best strategies ever, this topic of the customer experience can rob your sleep. We need as leaders to relentless bring this top of the agenda and keep on asking: ” is our face to the customers at the excellence level it needs to be ? “ and be uncompromising when it’s not. Leaders, walk your talk.