September 21; How Can a Business Care About People More Than Money?
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

twitterlinkedin

Chapter Nine: Finance; September 21

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites

in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you,

do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.

Deuteronomy 15:7

How Can a Business Care About People More Than Money?

Budget

The new truck battery was heavy. The customer carried it out to his pick-up in the parking lot. He refused to have mechanics install it and was a jerk about it. (Men can sometimes get irrational about their rides and their women.)

The battery slipped out of his hands and cracked open in the parking lot. He stormed back into the garage and demanded his money back.

“Why?” the Service Advisor asked.

“Because I’m not happy.”

We stared at him.

His face was getting red. “I want my money back,” as he pointed to the motto painted above the door.

“Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back,” was stenciled over the Sears, Roebuck & Company entrance.

He got his money.

Your Business Professor once had Sears as a National Account. This means that I was a sales guy whose only customer was Sears.

Every business consultant and academic will preach that we should love our customers and treat them like family and friends. Business as a force for good communicates that, “I Care.”

Julius Rosenwald was Chairman of Sears until his death in 1932. He earned his company widespread trust selling through a mail order catalog to remote, rural customers. He said to, “Treat people fairly and honestly and generously and their response will be fair and honest and generous.”

Rosenwald insisted that the company’s primary goal must be responsibility to the customer. He established the “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back” pledge and conducted his business dealings by the creed “Sell honest merchandise for less money and more people will buy.”

Under Rosenwald’s direction, the business positioned itself as a direct extension of the farmer’s eyes, ears and wallet, making purchasing decisions in the best interests of the farmer. (Sears 2014)

Sears had changed the way commerce was conducted and it had a surprising result. Management Guru Peter Drucker writes,

[T]he age-old concept of caveat emptor had to be changed to caveat vendor—…the Sears policy of “your money back and no questions asked.”

Customers, I am given to understand, actually return less merchandise to Sears than to most of the large American department stores—it’s the basic policy and what it expresses that makes the difference. (Drucker 1973)

 

Jack Welch would promote a similar concept in his book Gut, “I always tried to leave some goodwill on the table when the seller’s ongoing involvement was important to the company’s success.”

Goodwill is hard to measure on financial statements; it is even harder to measure in a budget.

Drucker reminds us of the challenge,

The late Nicholas Dreystadt, head of Cadillac and one of the wisest managers I have ever met, said to me once: “Any fool can learn to stay within his budget. But I have seen only a handful of managers in my life who can draw up a budget that is worth staying within.” (Drucker 1954)

A worthwhile budget has to have a heart. Business writer Joan Magretta, records that Robert McNamara was the consummate facts and figures man. He was Secretary of Defense during the Viet Nam War. Before that disaster he,

…led a team of Whiz Kids who “brought a management-by-the-numbers approach to the Ford Motor Company.” This form of finance was conducted by bean counters; a derisive term that “has become a permanent part of our language, referring to those who use numbers without understanding their significance.” What Management Is: How it Works and Why It’s Everyone’s Business, (Magretta 2002)

A budget must include care. The poor customer is like family who is enriched by our company.

The customer may not always be “right” but the customer must always be happy.

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Deuteronomy 15:7

###

 

twitterlinkedinyoutube

You may also like...

25 Responses

  1. Omar Almutlaq says:

    From my point of view, I believe that employees must care about customers and ensure their satisfaction. If a customer is not satisfied with a product, the employee has to do anything possible to regain the customer’s trust. I agree with the statement that urges employees to treat customers as family because eventually those customers would provide reviews about the quality of customer service and how satisfied they are. Those reviews impact the growth of small businesses drastically and if they are not positive, the employer would have to examine the environment of his employees and advises them to steer clear of making the same mistakes again. If someone wants to be a great employee, he or she has to work hard and always guarantee that the customer is happy.

  2. Robert Strissel says:

    I agree with this article above as it is always important to keep the customer happy, but you also have to keep the boss happy as well in a business-like atmosphere. The importance of maintaining a budget can be very tricky within a business as well because you have to stay in that budget and not let any real numbers get out of hand from what the budget is ranged. I liked the one quote in the article that says it is easy to stay within a budget, but is rare for a good budget to be found that is worth staying within. The importance of this quote to me was that to be a good businessman you must be able to have care for everyone in it which means you need to divide up the money you have at a good healthy rate. You also in a business need to watch for those around you as customers will want to try and take advantage of a policy sometimes that will take you over the budget, but you cannot let the customers fool you and you need to have good operating standards as a business to remain as profitable as the owner wants the company to be.

  3. Sam saidi says:

    Anyone who has ever worked in the service industry has at some point in their life heard the statement “the customer is always right.” This is a classic business motto in the service industry that has stuck around. I am a strong believer that this motto must be followed in order to make your customers happy. If a customer is happy with your business the more likely they are to be returning customers and that is what you should strive for as someone working in the industry. If a business doesn’t have returning customers then they will not be a business much longer. So I will end this by saying that if you want customers to return then treat them with respect and follow the statement “the customer is always right.”

  4. Jorge Guzman says:

    After reading this article I believe that employees must care about the opinion of customers. With the opinion of customers companies are able to know what their customer’s want and are able too afford in what they need in marketing. When treating customers as family, the seller is able to have the consumer as close as possible and would be able to sell them more products. Also it helps to let the consumer who is closest to the seller know what the newest products are and would buy them at a higher rate than other consumers.Once these consumers feel like like family they would be able to write better reviews for the company, which would then lead to ore business for the company. Even if a consumer does a negative review on the company it would not be the end of the would because it could actually help a company improve on what is needed from them and after receiving that negative review the company would be able to impove upon it and make the company better for consumers.

  5. Matthew Michalski says:

    I enjoyed reading this article because I once had a similar incident working at a hardware store. The customer was happy at the end of the day, but was most definitely wrong. I do think that there are flaws in the “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back” motto. In the situation above, it wasn’t the companies fault because the man dropped his battery, but it was his own fault. Now, I would be on the customers side if he had installed it and there was a problem with the battery. But instead he caused the problem by dropping it and cracking the battery. But if the customer is treated very well and helps handle all their problems, the customer will most likely return. I do agree that customers should always be treated as if they are always correct to maintain a relationship so they continue to come back.

  6. Steve says:

    I do believe that customers should be happy and that businesses should do everything they can to achieve that. In this day in age though we may run into the problem of people trying to take advantage of the “Keep the customer happy” motto. People may buy a product and use it once and try and return it because they claim they are unhappy with it, if this is the case and it becomes a regular issue than when do we stray from the motto of “Keep the customer happy.” If a business is operating normally like sears or most, then I do belive in the “Keep the customer happy” motto.

  7. Steve kornutik says:

    I do believe that customers should be happy and that businesses should do everything they can to achieve that. In this day in age though we may run into the problem of people trying to take advantage of the “Keep the customer happy” motto. People may buy a product and use it once and try and return it because they claim they are unhappy with it, if this is the case and it becomes a regular issue than when do we stray from the motto of “Keep the customer happy.” If a business is operating normally like sears or most, then I do believe in the “Keep the customer happy” motto.

  8. Gabriel Haddad says:

    I agree with this article in that a business’ primary focus is the satisfaction of the customer. It does not matter how rich or poor the customer is, everyone is equally important. The reason behind this is the CST principle the “common good”. In order to run a successful business and be satisfied the owner has to make sure that everybody involved with the company has to be happy (customers, employees, employers..). If somebody involved with the company is not satisfied with their experience, then something is going wrong.

  9. Matthew Pham says:

    Customer satisfaction leads to trust and loyalty and should lead to better revenue and increased sales. The customers should be treated like family even if they may not always be right or difficult to satisfy. Therefore, I also agree that a budget should include care for the customers. Customers are what make a business functioning and able to survive. Without them, a business would cease to exist. Those companies out there that are seen as very successful by many can be seen with good customer service and satisfaction. Apple, Alaska Airlines, and Amazon are all on top of their class and have solid evidence of customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction can be difficult because it is not often something you can learn in school. Business school is meant for how to run a business, know accounting practices, and how to manage employees. Not often is there a chapter about how to succeed in customer satisfaction. It may not be the easy choice to do and may seem like a waste of time and money, but in the end it all pays off. Over time as a company grows bigger and more revenue is coming in, so should the increase in customer satisfaction.

  10. Greg Mayer says:

    I have always believed firmly that a company should at least put forth a good effort to form a solid relationship with the customers and should care about the opinions of their consumers. Good companies can use the opinions of the customers to not only better their product, but also better their advertising and hopefully increase the sales of the product. Salesmen should attempt to build a good bond with their consumers, as the consumers will be more likely to go back, post a positive review, or tell others about the good service that they received. Any positive review given, whether on a website or through word of mouth, the more likely you will be to bring in new customers and further increase sales.

  11. Brendan Rooney says:

    The phrase “Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back” is a phrase that I have seen my whole life. I have seen in it diners, pizza parlors, hair salons, and body shops. While I have never used this phrase to my advantage I have seen people who have, either because they weren’t satisfied or want to take advantage of the company. While some managers are sympathetic and quick to give the money back, some managers get in arguments with the customers. Sometimes causing a scene on why they don’t deserve their money back. Many businesses use the phrase the customer is always right but not all employees agree with that. So when the manager argues back it isn’t a good look for the business. But when a whole business is on board for putting the customer first it can really flourish. Not just worrying about the income but the well-being of the customer is important in building a positive reputation in the market. Even if the customer is not always “right” it is important that customer is always happy.

  12. Liam Clancy says:

    My family is in the moving business and a lot of what is said above pertains to our business as well. A lot of what I have learned over the years watching my dad run his business is through his relationships with his customers. He has always told me that it is all about relationships. Making the customer feel like their business is valued is key. Through my encounters with business owners and successful businessmen, I have noticed they all have that similar trait. They all realize the importance of their customers and treat them accordingly. This creates a network of customers because that customer will tell other people how great their experience with that company was.

    Whether it is buying a mower or a drying machine or moving your business or house, there are plenty of worries that go into both. These worries include cost, reliability, and trust. If the customer chooses a certain company they must believe that those three things will be fair.

    Good companies such as Sears and the company in the story have assurances that will encourage the customer that they possess the qualities they want. Such as the satisfaction guaranteed or money back assurance. In the moving business we have claims systems and a claims team to work with customers with broken or missing items. Most of the time whether our fault or not, the claim is paid for the assured rate but this leaves the customer with a feeling of fairness and parting on a good note which is what any business owner wants.

  13. Jillian Sudo says:

    “Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back” companies all around the country use that saying. This saying is used so often because customer satisfaction is one of the most important things in a business. A company can have a great business but it isn’t anything without its customers. In order for companies to keep their customers they always make sure they are satisfied. When a customer is satisfied with a company the odds of them coming back are very high and what keeps the company running. Even if the customer isn’t necessarily right, it is important to keep them happy.

  14. Melissa Lacayo says:

    I have always strongly believed that employees must care about customers and ensure that they are satisfied with their product and service. Employees must put good effort in building a good relationship with their customers. If one wants to be a good employee, one must first try their best to build a good relationship with customers in order that they are satisfied.

  15. Andrew Keleher says:

    Without customers, there are no sales, which leads to no profits and leads companies to go out of business. I really liked the quote “ the customer does not have to be right but the customer always has to be happy.” There will always be times when a customer is not happy. Whether they are wrong or right you should admit that you are at fault and see what the customer would like you to do to fix the situation. This will save you an argument right off the bat and defuse the situation almost immediately. Once this has been established It is a good idea to ask the customer what you can do in the future to prevent a situation like this from happening again. This can help establish a sense of care and trust that something like this will never happen again. By doing these things and leaving the customer happy they are likely to make future purchases with your store instead of taking their business elsewhere. In the situation of “Satisfaction Guaranteed or your money back” the monetary value does not compare to the value of a happy customer. You may think you are loosing a great deal of money but in the long run you have to realize that it is not as important as a satisfied customer.

  16. Andrew Issner says:

    Having satisfied and happy customers is a critical component for a company to build brand loyalty. The article mentions three companies, GE, Sears, and Cadillac who appeal to different target customers, yet all had policies of the customer is first. Although it may cost a company to accept a return or give a customer a new product in exchange for a damaged product – even when not the fault of the company, most customers will be very appreciative of the gesture and be inclined to continue to go back and make future purchases. The same holds true when a customer feels that they were not treated fairly or if a company does not honor its policies – a bad experience will usually not only mean they won’t return, but they will not hesitate to share their negative experience with others. Customers have choices and people will spend their money with companies that they trust and who have treated them fairly

  17. Andrew Issner says:

    Establishing a reputation where the customer is always right, is one of the most effective ways that a company builds brand loyalty. The article mentions three companies, GE, Sears and Cadillac, all who have a very different customer base, yet recognize and are known for leaving the customer satisfied. It can certainly be an expense or lost money for a company to issue a refund or make an exchange for a new product, especially when the company is not at fault. However, the goodwill that is established with such acts is priceless and goes a long way in establishing the reputation of the company. Customers will continue to buy products from a company that they trust and share their impressions with friends and family. The same is true when a customer feels that they were not treated fairly – and not supporting the customer can often cost a company the loss of not just one sale but many.

  18. Khaled Agha says:

    I think the most important things for a company is having happy and satisfied customers. This not only helps build a customer relationship, it also helps build trust between the company and the customer. This article particularly focuses on companies that all have a very wide reputation for leaving customers very satisfied out the door. It is always vital to consider the customers thoughts and feelings throughout the entire process in order to have them come back and purchase from you again.

  19. Ana Brizuela says:

    I believe that the key for a well business is that employee care for the customers. That they wish the customer is happy with the service or product and they want to come back. Is not only the idea that they employees are receiving money but that they have a relationship with the costumers. I remember reading about how business that has better relationship with their costumers have a greater income than those who don’t. People do come back to the places were they felt well with the employees.

  20. Evan Turkovic says:

    The key to a successful business is the customer, with a happy customer means repeated service. If you don’t care for the customer then your business will begin to fail. I worked for a maintenance company over the summer and one client could never be happy with the amount of water that I was giving their plants. Even if I completely drenched the plants for almost 20 minutes soon after they would be calling to have me back out again. Though I never complained because this was my job and I had to satisfy the customer to keep them from taking their business elsewhere. Every company should brand themselves as being completely customer oriented, because they are the main source of your income and without them your businesses wouldn’t be able to function.

  21. William Lashar says:

    A business should alway care about their customers and put them first in order to be successful. However, there needs to be to be a line drawn to make sure they aren’t being taken advantage of. There are many people out there who try to get a good deal and give companies hard times like the guy in the article above. On top of that, customers can be extremely rude especially in the service industry. When I worked in a restaurant, there were always a couple of bad customers who were rude, a hard time and made things difficult. When this happens in any industry, I feel like it is up to the manager to deal with these sorts of customers because they are the highest authority. What I appreciated most during my tenure at the restaurant was when my managers would stick up for me or employees against unruly customers. Yes, customers are the most important aspect of any company, but companies should not surrender to them they are wrong.

  22. Brian Rogers says:

    The biggest thing a business has is its customers. Without the customers a business cannot sell their product or service therefore they are not a business at all. It is difficult to please every single person that contacts your business in anyway but the closer you can get to 100% satisfaction, the better your business will be. It is important to have this precedent set in the early stages of the businesses development,, and to have it continue throughout the life of the company. The hiring process should have strict guidelines on the type of customer service that is expected of the employees because the employees are the ones that set the example for the customers and they set the tone for how the customer merchant relationship is going to go. An example of how this Is put into effect is at Enterprise. Each branch is given and ESQi score that is a determination of how well the branch performed in customer service, unless the customer gives a 5 out of 5, completely satisfied, the branch failed that customer. Enterprise puts their money where their mouth is as far as making sure they have great customer service.

  23. Michael Narzikul says:

    I believe in the saying the customer is always rite. I believe in this because as long as the customer believes her or she is rite then they will be happy. As long as a customer is happy they will continue to come back and give the company their money. A company must continue to keep there customers happy in order to keep a business afloat. In today’s world more and more company’s are expanding there human resources department in order to meet the customers needs. A human resource department is one of the most if not the most important department within a company. Without someone listening to the complaints of the customers and fixing what needs to be fixed a company could not function.

  24. Katarina Percopo says:

    It is true that the customer is not always right but must always be happy. In business dealing with customers and clients is something done on a daily basis and a lot of the time the customer thinks they are right about a situation in which one knows they are completely wrong. But the customer always comes first and one must always make sure the customer is happy so that they continue to come back,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *