Scoreboard: Company Interests 1 – Customer Needs 0

What a week!  Amid a travel filled 5 days of consulting and speeches, I had the good fortune to speak at a conference for a large American Banking Association conference.  The timing of my presentation could not have been better (or worse depending upon your perspective) as it followed a scathing op/ed article that was published in the New York Times.  That opinion piece was written by a leader of one of the world’s largest investment banks who decided to leave the bank because, as he put it”…the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money… It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of …success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients… It wasn’t just about making money… I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years.”

I’m not here to address the veracity of the disgruntled employee’s claim; however, I think the comment frames the trust issue each of us face with our customers everyday. How does a customer know if you are sidelining their interests in pursuit of your own financial gain?

Trust is a delicate and precarious human emotion built on a foundation of congruent words and action, a willingness to seek mutual gain, competencies to deliver against your promises, and a track record of delivering results.  So…

What specifically are you doing to authentically demonstrate that you are living your corporate values?  How would your customers know that your intent is to serve mutual benefit?  Do you have the skills, talents, and personality to deliver against your brand promise?  Does your experience garner the trust from past performance and a reasonable promise for the future?

If we aren’t able to answer these questions we may be facing a similar op/ed article someday!

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

1 Comment

  1. JP Nicols on March 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    It was great to hear you at the ABA conference, and I know I’m not alone when I tell you that you hit it out of the park, so I would say the timing was perfect indeed.

    I have long subscribed to the formula for Trust as given in the book The Trusted Advisor, but David H. Maister, et al: Credibility (knowing what you’re talking about) + Reliability (doing what you say you will) + Intimacy (know me well) all DIVIDED BY Self Interest.

    Firms (or individuals) can score 10 out of 10 in the first three, but it matters little if they score high in Self Interest (real or perceived).

    I once heard a consultant tell me they can help us reduce A1 risk– the risk that my firm would appear on Section A, Page 1 of the Wall Street Journal.

    In this interconnected world, it doesn’t take long to get there any more.

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