Creating Total Customer Satisfaction

One of my first books was The Forgotten Customer. I wrote it to address the fact that your customers have expectations for a product or service that will make them say, “I Love It.†I learned long ago that in order to get that result it is necessary to hire the right employees, provide training, rewards and recognition. But that is not sufficient for business success. It is essential that we create a culture where we take care of the internal customer first. I call that a culture of Total Customer Satisfaction. When each employee of the company sets out to satisfy his or her internal customers first, the end result is the external customer will automatically be satisfied. The internal customer, whom I refer to as “The Forgotten Customer,†is everyone who works in the company. They are involved not only in the creation of the product or service but also in every aspect of the business operation. Successful companies such as Federal Express and Southwest Airlines understand this concept and have developed a culture that seeks to satisfy all of the fellow employees and managers first. This culture of success requires each employee to understand his or her obligation to every other employee. I’ve noted an example recently that perhaps sheds some light on this concept. While standing in line at Bruegger’s Bagels I observed the baker bringing out a fresh batch of bagels. As the baker brought them out, he announced the arrival of the particular flavor and then loaded them into the waiting baskets. In response to his announcement, one or more of the salespersons at the counter called out “Thank you, Bakerâ€. The baker was just doing his job, but that “Thank You†acknowledged that the baker was bringing to them something they needed so they could satisfy the people on the other side of the counter. They won’t say “I Love It†about the bagel sandwich if the bagel is bad. What is your culture?