A very small business has a very big advantage. Its owners are almost always present in the business. Because of the small size and the limited number of customers, they know all the employees, customers and suppliers.
The single location also can lend a huge communication advantage, because there can be no communication gaps, no delays, no confusions.
Because the owner/CEO is always accessible, the customers get the best service from the company. The feeling that there is someone finally accountable who can be approached, builds credibility among the customers. Because of the big boss’ accessibility, the customer confidence in the business is high.
All the employees are also aware that the big boss is watching them. So, they remain alert. This, too, works in favor of the customer.
When the business size increases, these small size advantages are lost. Multiple locations, many departments, organizational layers, large number of employees, customers and transactions create big complexity. In this complex organization, there are chances of a customer getting lost or feeling clueless.
In all this, if the CEO loses the connect with its customers, that becomes a problem. If the customers don’t know whom to contact when they have a difficulty working with the company, they will lose trust in the company. And, if the customer trust is lost once, it is very difficult to regain it.
Most mid-size or companies set up customer helplines or support departments to take care of the customers. Mostly, this becomes a tool for the CEO or seniors to hide themselves behind mechanized and insensitive call centers. But, if this arrangement fails, if the customers’ problems are not solved where can the customers go? Many big businesses fail to provide a visible window to handle unresolved customer grievances here.
Because the customers can’t access the owners or the CEO, there are chances that the employees, too, may take the customers’ concerns less seriously. This may act as a disease spreading callousness across the company.
The CEOs and owners must ensure that this ailment of carelessness towards customers does not afflict their companies. For that, they must make themselves accessible to the customers through some method. Jeff Bezos has set up a great example. He has made his email firstname.lastname@example.org publicly available. Anybody can write to him. And he makes sure that every mail is answered. I have written to him twice and have got replies from his team. Some big private banks also provide access points to their CEO or MD.
If a CEOs as big as Jeff Bezos or those of some big banks can make themselves accessible to customers, can’t other businesses do the same?
If we care for our customers and their relationship with our company seriously, we must.
If we can do that, then our customers will be assured that in case of some serious issue, they can approach somebody where the buck stops. They will do business with us confidently.
And, our employees will work more responsibly towards fulfilling the customer needs because they know that the big brother may be watching.
For this, the big brother must be accessible…!