The Customer Care Challenge

Every organization I know believes in customer care. At Amazon executive meetings have a vacant chair at the table signifying the customer. Most employees will espouse customer care as the central organizational value and practice.

But is this always true? When is a focus on the customer just a slogan and when is it a vibrant reality?

Contrast two cases.

I knew a banker who cared passionately for his customers. He had an intimate knowledge of their dreams, business goals, and details about their families. When he died his funeral service was standing room only as the whole community came out to pay their respects.

The accolades did not just focus on his business and professional success (and there were tons of them). People talked about his character.

There was his playful sense of humor. He was the organist at his church and at times would inject into a Bach prelude a few notes from songs like “How much is that doggie in the window?”

The physicians at the hospital were impacted by his kindness and humor during his last days.

Then there is customer service from hell.

We have been trying for a month to get a phone/internet service at our property in the country. The provider keeps making promises that they will come and set up the service. Day after day they cancel the appointment and reschedule. Of course we have complained bitterly but no one seems to take responsibility. The final straw was an article I read in an airline magazine about the president of this company. He boasted his organization was distinguished from others by its customer service.


At least I know his name and he is going to receive a blistering letter from us.

Your Opinion

What, in your experience, are the central components of great customer care?



About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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