18Practice 7: Deliver Excellence and Satisfy Customers

Customers are vital to your success. As a leader, you must continually enhance and reinforce the ideals of customer satisfaction. Anyone, or any organization, can serve a customer, but meeting their needs so they become loyal customers falls into the leader's jurisdiction. You must also inspire your people to provide outstanding service. The happier your customers, the more they return.

Competition is tough today. Why should I buy from your company when I can get something similar from your competition? An effective leader drives customer satisfaction through the entire organization, from top to bottom. Whether we're talking about the maintenance crew or the CEO, it's everyone's job to understand that customers/clients come first.

The Car of My Dreams

I had worked very hard and had reached a point early in my career where I could afford a certain luxury automobile. I was excited about beginning the hunt for the one that was right for my family and me. I had read and talked to current owners about what great cars the automaker I selected produced and how shopping for one was a very pleasant experience.

My wife and I, along with our four-year-old daughter, visited only three dealerships, having decided on the model and color of our choice. At the first dealership, the salesperson we encountered was extremely nice and offered first-class service. Unfortunately, she didn't have the color or model we wanted, and we proceeded ...

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