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No excuses Part IV: To reach senior leaders, speak their language!

We have been discussing the ways to make sure that our companies take action and make customer-focused improvements. One of the essential elements is to engage senior leaders. Change will happen much faster when it is supported from the top. How do we make sure that we have commitment and support from the top of the organization?

The answer to this question begins with translating customer feedback into concepts that resonate with senior leaders. As customer advocates, we are too quick to conclude that the senior leaders don’t care about the customer. We buy into the fact that we can’t be customer-focused and drive good financial outcomes. We even say things like “Our senior leaders aren’t customer-focused. They only care about the financial results”. But what if we take the position that these two things are one in the same?

This is exactly why we are adamant about the need to link customer feedback with business results. It becomes compelling to senior leaders. Here are three tips to make your communications with senior leaders more convincing.

1.        Don’t talk about “truly loyal customers.”  Talk about “customers that are growing their share with you and are more profitable.”
2.       Don’t talk about “high risk customers.”  Talk about “customers that will not be retained.”
3.       Don’t talk about changes in customer loyalty in a vacuum.  Convert the customer metrics into projections about operating results and then talk about the potential impact on revenue or earnings.

Changing our mindset about the value we bring to senior management is a first step to making an impact on the business. As always, let me know if I can help.

Originally posted in Customer Connection June 3, 2009.

About the Author

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

As the third generation of Walkers to lead the privately-held research and consulting firm, Steve is focused on creating shareholder value for Walker’s clients through customer intelligence and customer strategies. Steve was named president of Walker in 1994 and added the CEO title in 1996. Then, in 2006, Steve was named chairman of the board.

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