Beth’s Best Customers

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We’re wrapping up this two-week run on shareworthy customer service with Levi. Well, it’s his shoulder. In front of him is his company’s annual business plan. Levi’s one of about thirty employees at the first of two annual meetings held by Chapman Heating & Air Conditioning every January.

At a lavishly catered breakfast (meeting #1), his bosses share the company goals, the company financials and the department budgets and targets with every employee. They show everyone how they arrived at budget goals, and they answer every question. It’s truly a family business.

They wouldn’t have it any other way. How can the company get where they want to go unless everyone’s pointed in the same direction? Yet, I’m shocked by how few organizations do it.

The last few years, I’ve spoken at this annual meeting. This year I talked about this crazy idea of starting to spend part of our marketing budget on them.

You see, I’ve had a lot of success helping service companies: Roofing, Water Treatment, Glass, Insurance, Heating & Air Conditioning.

No, it’s not terribly exciting, on the surface, at least.

A long time ago, my first HVAC client said in our first meeting: “Air conditioning isn’t sexy.”

Nope, so how did I learn to help these companies grow – some by double-digit percentages, some by multiples?

It was easy, actually, I was dumb, so I listened. A lot.

And that first home services company – Chapman Heating & Air Conditioning – gave me a very important lesson about how to run a business in that same meeting.

Beth Chapman, sweet and brilliant, told me about – as the owner – her most important customers.

“My most important customers are our employees. If they’re not happy, if they’re not given everything they need to succeed, then how can we expect them to treat our paying customers well?

“For our customers to win, our employees have to win first.”

She really saw it that simply, and it was clear it wasn’t just lip service around they shop. The Chapman family made it their numbers one, two and three priorities to make sure their customers – the Chapman employees – were delighted.

Another friend, Matt, who’s CFO at The River – a fiercely independent Contemporary Christian radio station in Columbus, OH, put it another way:

“The leaders’ role is simply to create an environment where her or his employees can do their best work, evaluate that work and reward the results of that work.”

That’s it. Don’t complicate it.

Do you view your company that way?

You can simplify it still if you’re a larger organization: As a C-level executive, can you regard your ONLY customers as your managers and department heads? That’s it. If you focused on no one else for a week, what might happen?

If you built systems, policies, procedures and methods for measuring and rewarding those processes, what might happen to your organization?

Would it give you more time? Would it give you more focus? What’s the worst thing that would happen if you gave all your energy and passion to a small number of your best customers and empowered and rewarded them for doing the same.

Then why won’t you give it a try? I don’t mean form a committee. I mean: Do. It. What’s the first step to trying it?

Okay. There. You’re out of reasons not to do it.

Thanks, Beth.

Oh, I forgot: the second January company meeting? That’s the profit sharing meeting.

How To Implement Legendary Customer Service – eBook Coming Next Week

Your Customer Likes This – How To Deliver Shareworthy Service … I’ve got about 15,000 22,500 words – way more than I have had time to post here – collected in stories, emails, lessons and ways for you to implement a shareworthy service program in your organization. I’m turning it into a nice eBook with some worksheets and step-by-step instructions. I was originally going to give it away for free, but my wife and I talked about it. We’ll make it available next week to download for a donation of any amount (starting at $0.99) to Touchpoint Autism Services – the organization that first taught us to communicate with our son. We can never fully repay them, but this’ll be a little way to try to start. It’ll be available next week. Stay tuned.

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As CEO and Head Custodian of Miles & Company, Tim Miles helps owner-operated companies do more with less. He's the author of Good Company: Making It, Keeping It & Being It.

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