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Keep Your Clients Front and Center

Leadership is the key to providing great customer service for your clients.

By Craig Cochran

Today’s customer has infinite choices and is smart, savvy and well-educated. With so many organizations waiting to serve, she could choose any company. You have to give her a good reason to choose yours. The key to keeping your business running in high gear is to focus all of your attention and efforts on—you guessed it—the consumer, the client, the customer.

After all, the customer is the sole reason organizations of any kind exist. The moment your organization stops focusing on the customer, it will start to fall apart. A successful organization always puts the customer’s best interest first. Here are five steps you can take to build (or rebuild, as the case may be) your team into one that meets the needs and demands of the customers who are responsible for the existence of your business.

Play “follow the leader.” Good leadership drives customer focus. An organization’s leaders set the tone for everything, good or bad, that takes place within the company. Leaders have followers, so whatever the leader focuses on is of the utmost importance. It is important that the leader keep his focus always on the customer, rather than internal politics, ego gratification and other typical distractions within an organization.

Remind employees of their mission within the organization. Leadership must sincerely and regularly remind workers of the reason they have jobs. A quick meeting can establish the tone of the workweek—and be a source of inspiration in an organization of any size.

Shine a spotlight on employees. One of the best ways to improve all-around customer service is to give employees the attention they deserve. After all, they are the ones who actually interact with customers. If the workers are consistently well-trained, motivated, mentored and equipped with the proper tools to serve the clientele, they will show outstanding passion for their jobs and thus do them well.

Recognize outstanding service. One of leadership’s most important jobs is to honor individuals who go beyond their job descriptions and truly delight their customers. The best way to empower employees is to identify peers who have excelled in customer service. By identifying exceptional workers in a dignified manner, leadership sets the pace for other peers to follow.

Realize that smart organizations learn from their mistakes. If an organization fails to deliver excellent customer service, leadership must be honest and open with customers and employees about what happened. Mistakes are important because they lead to innovation. Management must outline clear actions that will remove the causes of the organization’s failures and then take steps to alleviate the problem.

Overall, a successful organization is one that offers the best services possible to its targeted customers and does all it can to ensure that their needs are met with promptness, gratitude, and courtesy. Any issues that arise with customers should be documented and addressed immediately. Meanwhile, management should research all possible modes of innovation to continue offering the customer superior quality service.

When your business strives to give clients the very best, they will, time and time again, repay you with years of loyal patronage and thus keep your business alive.

Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Craig Cochran is the North Metro Regional Manager with Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Institute. He writes and speaks extensively on management, improvement, problem solving, customer satisfaction and quality. He’s the author of Becoming a Customer-Focused Organization and Customer Satisfaction: Tools, Techniques, and Formulas for Success. Contact him at

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