Don’t you wish that the people who engineer the front end of cars and the people who make parking curbs could get together on what the height should be? It seems like more times than not, I pull into park and a shrieking, guttural sound comes from the front undercarriage of my car as it plays a game of tag with the curb. You only need to hear the sound once, and you are forever scarred. It may happen more than that initial time, but truthfully, you’ll be conscious of attempting not to do it for the rest of your driving days. It’s a horrible sound.
Understanding the consumer perspective is a key component by which businesses work to find success. If car manufacturers would understand this basic adage regarding a customer’s expectations, the world would be spared the painful screeching of a front bumper under attack.
The “bumper/curb” analogy is lesson one in the ever-important trilogy that makes up great service. Business success is easier when we legitimately consider our customer’s perspective — in the case of credit unions, our member’s best interests.
The second key to business success is to align your company’s promise/mission with the expectations previously cited. Does the company mission meet the expectations of the customer? If so, proceed accordingly. If there is a misalignment, success could be an evasive target. As an example, if the customer demands that the company be socially responsible and contribute to the causes that make the community a better place, then social giveback better be in the offing. If the company is interested in only making a buck and lining shareholder pockets, then there may be a disconnect. There is a gap. The company needs to close the gap because the customer is in charge.
Lastly, do the customer’s expectations and the company’s deliverables align? Have you met the customer where they are in their life? No judgment, just help. If the customer needs forgiving pricing, considerate products, and convenient and accessible processes, the company better get on the stick. Without the deliverables being aligned with the customer’s needs, gaining market share might only be a pipe dream, i.e., try selling ice cubes at the North Pole.
Think of a triangle. Point one is labeled “Customer Expectations,” point two is the “Company Promise,” and point three is “Company Deliverables.” Our goal as business leaders is to take any gaps that might exist between these three distinct interests and close them.
What you have when expectations align with a promise that aligns with deliverables is unmitigated success. Think St. Louis Community Credit Union. We’re pretty good at this. Our triangle is really small because the gaps are really small. And the members love us.