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Tough times are just what customer advocates are here for

A week or so ago, I included an inspirational quote from the Simple Truths website in my entry.  It generated some interest and people appreciated the motivational message.  I also noticed that we have a link in the library to the “Johnny the Bagger” video, also from Simple Truths. I suppose it makes sense that the uncertain economic times (maybe “tough” is a better word), cause us to seek inspiration, because it seems like everywhere you turn, you keep running into more bad news.

I have seen this "Johnny the Bagger" video several times, and I enjoyed watching it again. If you haven’t already viewed it, do yourself a favor and watch it…now. It is guaranteed to inspire. One of the messages I get out of the video is to work on what you can control and let go of what you cannot. This is a time tested method for coping with stress, dealing with uncertainty and demonstrating leadership. This is a message that is definitely a great one for customer advocates to keep in their minds.

I have often described the concept of being customer-focused as being more about the journey than the destination. It is very similar to other worthwhile “life journeys” like being a good parent or spouse, or being spiritual, or appreciating art or wine, or playing the game of golf. You can never really complete the task. That’s because the more you learn about it, the more you realize how much there is to learn and how you will never ever master all there is to know. Still, if you persevere and keep adding knowledge, meet other like-minded people and share your experiences, you do achieve a level of mastery that others will recognize you for.

This is exactly the mindset that the successful customer advocate will maintain during tough times—that helping your company keep its customer focus is a journey—not a destination. Sometimes the journey seems enjoyable and sometimes it is a real grind. All things go in cycles—especially business—but a company’s customer focus not only needs to endure, it is essential to the recovery process.

Nowadays, there is no shortage of distractions for senior management. It may seem that all of the turmoil is devaluing the customer. If you are feeling this way, do what Johnny the Bagger did—focus on what you can control and be secure in the fact that for our businesses to succeed—a customer focus must endure. Not only will you feel more productive, but like Johnny, you might find that your focus and sense of purpose will draw others to you. This is exactly the kind of process it takes to turn things around from turmoil to progress. As customer advocates, we can and should be an essential part of the economic recovery.

This post was originally published December 3, 2008 in Customer Connection.

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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